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Posts tagged "SSI benefits"

Paid Parental Leave

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.

Payments

Applicants for disability benefits typically file claims under both Title II (Social Security Disability) and Title XVI (Supplemental Security Income) of the Social Security Act. After a favorable decision has been rendered, the decision is sent to a payment processing center to calculate payment amounts. Processing times vary, and could run anywhere from 30 to 90 days from the date of the decision.

Calculating Disability Back Pay

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.

2017 Changes to SSDI and SSI

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).

Approved Medical Sources

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.

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.

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