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August 2015 Archives

Social Security department has made it easier to file appeals

Millions of Americans depend on their Social Security disability money to pay for their everyday living costs, but not everyone deserving of benefits is able to get approved on his or her first try. This is when the appeals process is useful for challenging an inappropriate decision made by Social Security.

Social Security disability benefits for the mentally impaired

Not all disabilities are physically visible. For example, mental impairments are not easy to see, but they are very real and they can affect a person's ability hold down a job and earn a living. The other thing a mental disability can do is prevent someone from being able to fill out the appropriate paperwork to file for government disability benefits.

Social Security Disability Insurance for Minnesota residents

A successful application for Social Security benefits can help disabled Minnesota residents become financially independent. In most cases, if you suffer from a physical impairment that prevents you from generating over $1,000 a month in income for a year or more -- or if your physical condition will eventually result in death -- you might be able to qualify for disability assistance.

Helping our nation's veterans get the benefits they deserve

Many veterans qualify for Social Security disability benefits, but they are so disabled -- either mentally or physically -- that they are not capable of gathering the appropriate documentation and filling out their applications for benefits. This is a very real problem that numerous veterans are struggling with throughout the United States. If you and/or your loved one are dealing with this kind of an issue, you are not the only ones.

Do Foster Care Services Constitute SGA?

To determine whether a claimant is disabled, the first step for the adjudicator is to analyze whether the claimant has engaged in substantial gainful activity (SGA) since his or her onset date. Substantial gainful activity typically involves significant physical or mental activity done for pay or profit (20 CFR §404.1572). In many cases, parenting a child can involve substantial activity, though typically not for pay or profit. However, claimants enrolled as providers in a foster care system will typically receive payments to cover the needs and/or difficulty of care for their foster children. In years past, courts have adopted divided approaches as to whether foster care services constitute SGA. For example, in Damon v. Secretary of Health Education and Welfare, (2d Cir. 1977), the Court of Appeals held that foster care payments are not to be treated as support to the child but as property of the foster parents. In response, Social Security issued an Acquiescence Ruling effective 5/20/86, applying at all adjudicative levels in Connecticut, New York, and Vermont (AR 86-16(2)). However, in Masink v. Astrue (D. Minn. 2012), the District Court distinguished Minnesota Statutes from Vermont law and affirmed the ALJ's finding that the claimant's foster care services constituted SGA under the three part test for self-employment set forth in 20 CFR §404.1575(a)(2). The most recent policy adopted by Social Security, effective 8/19/14, is generally that foster care payments made on behalf of a foster child are not income to the provider, though amounts paid to the provider in excess of the foster care payment are still income (POMS § SI 00830.410C1b) (emphasis added). Careful tracking and documentation of your payments and spending can help distinguish foster care payments from other income.


Midwest Disability, P.A.
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Coon Rapids, MN 55448
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