At minimum, applicants for disability benefits must demonstrate that they are unable to perform the work they performed in the last 15 years that was performed at the "substantial gainful activity" level. But what if someone has not performed any work at the substantial gainful activity level (currently $1180 per month for non-blind individuals) within the last 15 years? Can such an individual still receive disability benefits?
On August 2, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) proposed the "Economic Security for New Parents Act," a bill which would amend Title II of the Social Security Act to provide paid parental leave benefits to parents following the birth or adoption of a child. The attempt to address relief for new parents is long overdue, as the United States is one of the only countries (alongside Swaziland, Australia, and Papua New Guinea) which does not provide paid parental leave. At present, those unable to work due to pregnancy or childbirth may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the Family Medical Leave Act, but many find these safeguards insufficient.
If a disability claimant is under the age of 50, he or she must prove that due to disability, there are no available jobs they could do in the national economy.
A new year means changes to how the Social Security Administration calculates benefits and eligibility for its disability programs.
Obtaining disability benefits is only half the battle for many clients.
Whether you apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), benefits are paid out monthly, and you may be entitled to a substantial amount of back pay based your application date and the date you are found to be disabled.
The new year is right around the corner, and with it comes several changes to the law when it comes to qualifying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
In establishing the existence of a medical impairment, Social Security Administration relies on objective medical evidence from an acceptable medical source (AMS). The current rules recognize licensed physicians, psychologists, optometrists, podiatrists, and speech language pathologists as AMSs. Specifically excluded from the AMS list are nurse practitioners, physician assistants, licensed clinical social workers, naturopaths, chiropractors, audiologists, and therapists, though their opinions may be used to evaluate the severity of an impairment. Such exclusions, however lump these medical sources alongside other non-medical sources such as family, neighbors, and employers.
One common question that people considering applying for disability ask is whether owning a home will prevent them from receiving disability benefits.
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.