If you have a child who becomes disabled before he turns 22, the child can eventually get benefits off of your Social Security earnings. If a parent dies, becomes disabled, or starts receiving retirement, the disabled child can receive benefits on his parent’s earnings if you prove he is disabled before he turned 22.
When you are applying for disability benefits, Social Security needs a lot of information. It seems an overwhelming task to get the information together. Plus, you're applying for disability, so you're probably not feeling great to begin with. If you were feeling well enough to get together all of this stuff, you could probably work, right? Let's see if I can take some of the mystery out of it.
People tend to generally know about Social Security retirement. They are aware that disability exists and maybe that it can be difficult to get. Beyond that, people don't know a lot about benefits they can get from Social Security that can really help when planning for their future.
Most people who apply for Social Security disability have some sort of chronic pain issue, be it back pain, knee pain, arthritis or neuropathy. These conditions usually require pain medicine. The problem is that some of these medicines are extremely addictive and are often misused. Because Social Security is hyperaware of its reputation of having a lot of drug addicts receiving disability, even though this is untrue, anyone wanting to receive Social Security disability benefits needs to be careful when receiving narcotic pain medications that they are necessary and being used appropriately.
In short, we want anything that limits your ability to work. I see people get hung up on diagnoses all the time. I get calls all the time where someone says, “I got diagnosed with diabetes, am I disabled?” How should I know? What are your symptoms? You could have a small brain tumor and be just fine. You could also have dry skin and be completely disabled because the skin cracks and bleeds constantly causing massive pain and sanitary problems in the workplace. The diagnosis is important, but we really care how it affects you.
We all know Social Security benefits can take years to finally be approved. What if you don't have years? Surely Social Security has some method of dealing with this? Of course there is.
Sometimes Social Security or the judge in your case is worried about your ability to handle the payments on your own. In those cases Social Security asks for a representative payee. This is someone who receives the checks on your behalf and pays your bills with the money. The payee can give you some of the money to spend, but the payee needs to have control of the money.
Here’s how this can come up. You can be in the country legally working on a green card and pay in to the Social Security system. Then your green card can expire or you can have other immigration issues and no longer be in the country legally. You might be entitled to Social Security benefits, but have an illegal status. It’s not quite fair. If that’s the case, I wouldn’t recommend applying for benefits. In general, if you’re hiding from the government, applying for any government benefit isn’t a great idea. Depending on where you are, Social Security may or may not refer you to Immigration, but do you really want to take that chance?
Summer is a particularly hard time in Arizona for people with disabilities. The heat means that electric bills are much higher. Our summer monsoons means that the sharp changes in pressure cause extra pain for those with arthritis, joint pain and back issues. Children are not in school so parents have to pay for day care or take care of the children themselves. If you are a disabled parent, that can mean a lot of extra stress both mentally and physically. The homeless have it worst of all in heat that can reach up to almost 120 degrees. Luckily, there are resources available.
Overpayments happen in SSDI cases when a person goes back to work and SSA keeps paying benefits after they were supposed to stop. They can also happen in all types of cases if SSA did not calculate the benefits correctly.
Overpayments happen more often in SSI cases because there is a limit on how much money you can make. Often this is because you worked and earned more money than SSA allows, but it can just as easily be a gift of money from family or friends, a landlord who doesn’t make you pay rent, or receiving extra money for food. This can all count as income and SSA deducts money from your SSI check accordingly. If SSA decides that you should be getting less money, they will come after you for the overpayment.
There is no time limit on when SSA can come after you for overpayment. SSA tries to take care of them quickly, but there is a backlog and in some cases the overpayment can go on for many years. This means that several years into receiving benefits you can get a letter telling you that you owe SSA tens of thousands of dollars.
First look at the numbers to make sure they make sense. If SSA is in error and you really were owed the money, let them know by filing a Request for Reconsideration (http://www.ssa.gov/online/ssa-561.pdf). This is not for cases where the overpayment is not your fault and you would not have known that you were overpaid. Nor is it for cases where you cannot afford to repay SSA. It is only for cases where you were not overpaid and SSA has incorrect information somewhere.
If the overpayment is valid, but you cannot afford to pay it back, you need to file a Request for Waiver. (http://www.ssa.gov/online/ssa-632.pdf). This is in cases where the overpayment is not your fault and there is no way you would have known that you were being overpaid. SSA will work with you in order to figure out a payment plan you can afford. Filing a waiver and trying to work out a payment plan is your best chance for dealing with the overpayment. Try to figure out if you can afford to pay anything per month and make an offer to SSA. They will work with you to resolve the overpayment without bankrupting you.
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