Social Security Disability benefit overpayments discharged in personal bankruptcy
Many of our clients are currently receiving benefits from the Social Security Administration because they are permanently disabled. So, what if Social Security attorney, John T. Nicholson in Centerville, Ohio, won your Social Security Appeal in downtown Dayton, Ohio, and you got more money than you should have? That is called an overpayment, and the government may attempt to collect it.
Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy will discharge your obligation to repay the government. The overpayment is treated the same as all other general unsecured debts.
There are some exceptions. You cannot discharge an obligation to repay fraudulently obtained benefits.
This is the same rule with most forms of government benefit overpayments, like Workers’ Compensation benefits (a.k.a. Workers Comp). If there was no fraud in obtaining the benefits, then you can file personal bankruptcy to discharge your obligation to repay the overpayment.
Call today for a free consultation (937) 432 – 9775.
There are often basic questions about Social Security Disability benefits, so we have decided to answer just a few of them here.
Q 1. What does it cost to hire an attorney for my SSD / SSI claim?
A 1. Nothing. Our firm does all SSD cases on a contingency basis. We take a percentage or pre-determined amount (determined under Statutes) of the back-pay you are awarded. If you are not granted SSD benefits, then we do not collect anything.
Q 2. Is there a difference between SSD and SSI benefits?
A 2. Yes. SSI is usually reserved for those individuals with very low incomes, and/or those that have not worked long enough in order to earn SSD benefits.
Q 3. How do I prove SSD eligibility if I do not have the money to visit a doctor?
A 3. This is one of the hardest issues for SSD applicants. On the one hand they are not working because they are disabled, and therefore, they do not have health insurance that allows them to visit a doctor. On the other hand, it is harder to prove SSD eligibility without documentation from treating physicians. Those that believe that they are eligible for SSD benefits ought to see a doctor as much as they can in order to build the strongest case. However, if you previously worked and had health insurance which allowed you to visit a doctor, we can use those records to prove your case. Check with our office and we will help determine the best course of action you should take.
Q 4. How long does it take to start receiving my benefits?
A 4. This is the hardest part for many applicants to understand. The SS offices are very overworked and any given case can take 1-2 years. However, if you never start the process, you will never receive benefits. it is better to get benefits in 1-2 years than not at all. You need to come into our office ASAP so that we can begin the process on your behalf.
Q 5. Do I have to be completely disabled in order to receive SSD benefits? NO and YES. No, you do not have to be completely disabled in the ordinary sense of that word. Meaning, you do not have to be bed-ridden or need round-the-clock assistance. However, you need to be completely disabled as that term is used in the federal Statutes. The definition in the federal statutes is much more broad and the vast majority of the people who can do normal daily activities are eligible for SSD benefits.
We hope this answers some basic questions for now. We will post more common questions and answers in the near future. Feel free to contact us through the online contact form or call our office at 937-432-9775 for an appointment to discuss your claim.
Morrison & Nicholson receives several calls each month from folks that had to quit work at some point due to their disability, however, they are now able to work as they did before and they want to know whether they are entitled benefits for the time they were disabled even though they have not yet applied for benefits. The answer we give them is as most answers law related, maybe.
First, you must have been disabled as defined by the Social Security Administration, that is, you must not be able to do any kind of substantial gainful activity for a continuous period of at least one year, or have an impairment that may result in death. If you were disabled for at least 1 year and then returned to work, the period that you were disabled is referred to as the “closed period” of disability. Although, you can file and receive benefits for the closed period of disability the application is only retroactive for a period of 1 year from the application submission date. For example, if you were disabled on March 2, 2007, returned to work in August 2008 and filed for benefits in March 2009, then you would only recieve benefits from the month that you were disabled from March 2008 – March 2009.
What is the Listing of Impairments and is it used to establish disability?
The Listing of Impairments, also known as “The Listings, is set out in Social Security regulations. The listings are in two parts. Part A of the Listing of Impairments contains medical criteria that apply to the evaluation of impairments in adults age 18 and over. Part B of the Listing of Impairments contains additional medical criteria that apply only to the evaluation of impairments of persons under age 18. The listings are examples of common impairments for each of the major body systems that Social Security considers severe enough to keep an average adult from doing any gainful activity. See appendix 1 of subpart P of part 404 of Social Security’s regulations for the Listing of Impairments.
The listed impairments are of such a level of severity that Social Security considers a person whose impairment(s) meets or equals the Listing of Impairments to be unable to do any gainful activity, that is, the impairment(s) is expected to result in death, or to last for a specific duration, or the evidence must show that the listed impairment has lasted or is expected to last for at least 12 months in a row.
Many medical conditions are included in the Social Security Disability List of Impairments (including multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, etc). However, keep in mind that you can still qualify for SSD / SSI benefits even if your illness is not listed on the Listing of Impairments.
To be considered disabled for purposes of receiving Social Security Disability you must not be able to do any kind of substantial gainful activity for a continuous period of at least one year, or have an impairment that may result in death. The disability must be medically determinable. In other words, there must be a medical basis either physically or mentally for the condition.
The Social Security Administration will consider your age, education, and work history along with your medical condition. For example, a 57 year old hard laborer who has degenerative disc disease along with rheumatoid arthritis that prevents him from doing the type work that he has always done in the past, but is still capable of doing light work, will likely be considered disabled because of his age and lack of experience in other fields of work. In contrast, a 35 year old banker with an MBA from The Ohio State University that has a slight onset of fibromyalgia would find it much harder to fall within the SSA’s definition of disabled.
In either case, an attorney should be contacted as soon as a denial letter is received. If you reside anywhere within the state of Ohio, our office would be happy to schedule you in for an appointment regarding your SSD / SSI claim. You can fill out the online contact form or give us a call at 937-432-9775 to schedule an appointment to meet with one of the partners.