Tag Archives: prison and social security disability checks
Can I receive Social Security disability benefits for having problems with drugs or alcohol?
Someone can receive Social Security disability benefits despite having a problem with drugs or alcohol, but not solely on the basis of the drug or alcohol problem itself. Since 1996, those with drug or alcohol addictions are not eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits if their drug or alcohol addictions are their only disabilities. On the other hand, if they would have disabilities even without problems with drugs or alcohol, then they could still qualify for benefits.
In general, a “disability” as defined by the Social Security Administration is a serious medical condition that has lasted (or will last) for at least one year, and prevents someone from being gainfully employed. Although a drug or alcohol addiction might seem to satisfy this definition, the Social Security Administration’s rules state that drug or alcohol addiction—by itself—is not a qualifying disability. Specifically, those who have problems with drugs or alcohol that are contributing factors “material” to their disabilities will not be found eligible by the Social Security Administration to receive disability benefits.
A drug or alcohol addiction is “material” to a person’s disability if the person would not be disabled but for the use of drugs or alcohol. In other words, those who would not be disabled if they completely stopped using drugs or alcohol are generally not eligible for Social Security disability benefits because their use of drugs or alcohol is “material.” For example, if a person suffers from chronic liver disease and abuses alcohol, then the person would probably not be found disabled by the Social Security Administration if the cessation of alcohol use would result in the improvement of the person’s condition. If, however, the person’s condition were so advanced that cessation of alcohol use would not result in any significant improvement, then the person could be eligible for disability benefits. In the latter case, the person’s alcohol use would not be “material.” The distinction becomes somewhat more difficult to prove in the case of mental, as opposed to physical, disabilities.
If you have been denied a claim for Social Security disability benefits on the basis of drug or alcohol problems, then you should speak with an attorney who focuses on Social Security law. An attorney can explain what you have to prove to establish your eligibility for benefits, and can help you obtain the benefits you need. Call or click here for a free online consultation with John T. Nicholson.
Can I get Social Security disability benefits if I am disabled but have never worked?
The Social Security Administration runs two programs that provide disability benefits: Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”). SSDI provides benefits to: (1) disabled workers who worked for five out of the last 10 years, called “insured workers” by the Social Security Administration; (2) the disabled children of insured workers, as long as the children became disabled before they reached the age of 22; and (3) the disabled surviving spouses of deceased insured workers. SSI pays benefits to disabled adults and children who have little or no income, or other financial resources; it also provides benefits to adults without disabilities who are over 65 and whose financial means are under certain limits.
Whether someone with a disability who has never worked can receive Social Security disability benefits depends upon the circumstances. For someone who has never worked and became disabled after reaching age 22, SSDI benefits would not be available. SSDI benefits could be available, however, to either a disabled child of an insured worker, as long as the child became disabled before reaching age 22; or, to the disabled surviving spouse of a deceased insured worker. Neither disabled children, nor disabled surviving spouses, have to satisfy the SSDI work requirement on their own.
SSI benefits, on the other hand, could be available to someone who has never worked, regardless of age. The reason that SSI could be available to someone ineligible for SSDI is that eligibility for SSI is based only on disability and financial means. Therefore, someone with a disability who has never worked can qualify for SSI benefits.
In order to qualify for either program, applicants must prove that they have a “disability” under the Social Security Administration’s rules (with the exception of those age 65 or over who apply for SSI benefits). With respect to adults, a “disability” is a serious medical condition that has lasted (or will last) for at least one year, and prevents someone from being gainfully employed. With respect to children, a “disability” is a serious medical condition that causes severe functional limitations and can either be expected to cause death, or be expected to last for at least one year.
Qualifying for either program can be difficult. The Social Security Administration often finds that applicants are not disabled, and proving a disability would be critical for someone who has never worked and would only be eligible for SSI benefits. If you are disabled and have never worked, then you should speak with an attorney who understands the Social Security Administration’s disability rules and can help you understand how to qualify. Complete our free online consultation form today.
SSR Rulings on Doctor’s Opinions:
If you believe that you are eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits, or if you have been denied and want to appeal, then any evidence you have from sources other than “acceptable medical sources” can be important. Talk to an attorney who focuses on Social Security disability law if you have questions about establishing your entitlement to disability benefits. Call today 1-800-596-1533 for a free consultation.
How to collect Social Security Disability Insurance benefits and Supplemental Security Income benefits at the same time?
Can I collect Social Security Disability Insurance benefits and Supplemental Security Income benefits at the same time?
The Social Security Administration runs two programs that provide disability benefits: Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”). SSDI pays disability benefits to “insured workers.” An “insured worker,” for purposes of SSDI, is someone who pays FICA taxes (“FICA” stands for “Federal Insurance Contributions Act”). SSDI also pays benefits for the disabled children of insured workers, so long as the children became disabled before they reached the age of 22, as well as to the disabled surviving spouses of deceased insured workers.
SSI, on the other hand, pays benefits to disabled adults and children who have little or no income, or other financial resources. The program also provides benefits to adults without disabilities who are age 65 or older and whose financial means fall within the applicable limits.
As an example, suppose that Edith Keeler, who rents an apartment in Springfield, Ohio, is 45 years old, is unmarried and has liver cancer. Her medical condition has forced her to stop working, leaving her with no income.
Edith decides to apply for disability benefits. She visits a Social Security Administration field office and submits an application. An examiner reviews her application and then forwards it to Disability Determination Services (“DDS”). DDS, a network of local Social Security Administration field offices and state agencies, is responsible for determining whether an applicant for disability benefits has a disability that qualifies under the applicable rules. In Edith’s case, DDS determines that she is disabled. Therefore, she is eligible to receive SSDI benefits.
In order to be eligible to receive SSI benefits, Edith’s financial resources and monthly income—including her SSDI benefits—must be less than the corresponding amounts established under the Social Security Administration’s guidelines. All of the property that Edith owns (for example, bank accounts, cars, cash, real estate, and stocks and bonds) constitutes her “resources.” Edith rents her apartment and does not own any real estate, nor does she own any stocks or bonds. She does own one car worth $1,500.00, and she has $250.00 in a checking account. Edith otherwise owns no property. She also has no income because she is unemployed as the result of her medical condition.
Currently, the limit on the value of a single applicant’s resources (property, in plain language) is $2,000.00. Some resources, however, are exempt and do not count towards this limit. Among other things, an applicant can exempt one house and one car. Accordingly, Edith has resources worth only a total of $250.00 (the balance in her checking account) because her car is exempt.
With respect to the monthly income limit, the Social Security Administration uses a formula to determine eligibility. The value of Edith’s resources is under the limit, and because Edith has no income, she would probably be eligible to receive SSI benefits.
Given that Edith is disabled for purposes of SSDI, and given that her financial resources and income are under the limits applicable to SSI, Edith is eligible to receive both SSDI benefits and SSI benefits. The total amount of Edith’s monthly benefit, however, cannot be more than the maximum possible benefit that she would receive from SSI alone. For 2011, the maximum monthly SSI benefit for a single recipient is $674.00.
In other words, were Edith to receive $600.00 per month in SSDI benefits, then her total monthly benefit would still be $674.00, which would consist of $600.00 per month from SSDI and $74.00 per month from SSI. Were Edith eligible to receive $700.00 per month from SSDI, then she would not be eligible to receive any SSI benefits.
ssi payment amount Applying for either of these programs can be complicated, and qualifying is often difficult. The examples above have been simplified and are offered only to give a very basic understanding of SSDI and SSI. In fact, a significant percentage of applications in Ohio are initially denied by the Social Security Administration. When an application is denied, however, the applicant has the right to appeal. If you would like more information or have been wrongfully denied Social Security Benefits then call the Law Offices of John T. Nicholson at 1-800-596-1533 or complete our online free consultation form.
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.
Last updated by John Nicholson on .