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SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

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Title: SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES


1
SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS FOR PERSONS WITH
DISABILITIES
  • Adrienne Arkontaky, Esq.
  • Littman Krooks LLP
  • www.littmankrooks.com

2
Many people with disabilities are eligible for
benefits under one or more of several government
programs. The programs are designed to protect
the person with the disability by making sure
that the persons financial resources are
sufficient to provide the basic necessities of
life including food, shelter and healthcare.
3
Programs are grouped into two categories
  • Needs Based Programs such as Supplemental
    Security Income and Medicaid that are available
    to individuals with disabilities who satisfy
    certain needs based requirements related to
    assets and income.
  • Social Insurance Programs such as Social Security
    and Medicare that are available regardless of how
    much income or assets your child may have. Your
    child becomes eligible for these benefits because
    of the amount you or your child may have paid
    into the Social Security system.

4
Who Operates These Programs?
  • Some are operated by the Federal Government.
  • Some are operated by the states.
  • Others are jointly funded by the Federal
    Government and the states.

5
Some Basic Rules
  • If your child had a disability before reaching
    the age of 22, your child will likely be entitled
    to Social Security benefits when you or your
    spouse die, reach retirement age, or become
    disabled.
  • If your child developed a disability after age
    22, Social Security will be available only if
    your child had a significant employment history
    before becoming disabled.

6
Basic Rules (Continued)
  • If your child has limited income and assets, he
    or she will likely be entitled to Supplemental
    Security Income benefits upon reaching the age of
    18. For some lower income families, children
    under the age of 18 may also be eligible.
  • If your child is eligible for Supplemental
    Security Income benefits, he or she will likely
    be eligible for Medicaid.

7
Social Security and Medicare
  • If your child has been eligible for Social
    Security benefits for at least two years, he or
    she will likely be eligible for Medicare. It does
    not matter if your child actually received the
    benefits just that the eligibility requirements
    were satisfied.

8
Establishing Disability
  • In order to qualify for the aforementioned
    benefits, your child will need to be considered
    to have a disability within the rules of the
    Social Security system.
  • The Social Security regulations define disability
    as the inability to do any substantial gainful
    activity by reason of any medically determinable
    physical or mental impairment which can be
    expected to last for a continuous period of not
    less than 12 months.
  • (20 CFR Section 404.1505)

9
The Evaluation Process
  • SSA must determine whether the person with a
    disability is able to earn more than a threshold
    amount, which increases each year to account for
    inflation.
  • There is a 5 step analysis
  • Is the person working?
  • Does the disability significantly limit the
    persons ability to do basic work activities
    (for example walking, sitting, seeing, and
    remembering)
  • If the persons medical condition is considered
    severe, the SSA will look at its list of
    disabling impairments to consider automatic
    qualifications.
  • If the persons medical condition is severe but
    is not on the list, the SSA will examine further
    when the person can possibly work in the future,
    based on past work history.
  • If none of the above criteria are met, the SSA
    will consider whether the disability will affect
    the persons ability to sustain work at the
    substantial gainful employment level in the
    future.

10
Common Reasons for Failing to Qualify
  • The single most common reason for failing to
    qualify for benefits is a failure to submit
    information to permit SSA to determine that a
    person has a disability within the meaning of the
    SSA rules.
  • If possible, the physician should review the
    definition describing your childs disability as
    set forth in the SSA regulations to make sure the
    report contains the language that Social Security
    requires.

11
Social Security Disability InsuranceSSDI
  • One of two primary cash benefit programs.
  • It is generally available for workers who become
    disabled prior to attaining age 65, if the
    workers work history satisfies SSA requirements.
  • It is also available to children (even adult
    children) of retired, disabled or deceased social
    security participants if the child had a
    disability that developed before the child
    reached the age of 22.

12
SSDI (continued)
  • The benefit is based on the parents work record.
  • If the parent is retired or disabled, the benefit
    is ½ of the parents benefit.
  • If the parent is deceased, the benefit is ¾ of
    the parents benefit.
  • Benefits may be reduced if more than one person
    receives benefits based on the parents work
    history and will cease if the person marries
    someone who is not entitled to SSA benefits.

13
Supplemental Security Income SSI
  • The SSI program is a needs based program designed
    to supplement the income of people who are
    elderly, blind or disabled and lack sufficient
    resources to provide for their own needs.
  • The program provides a monthly cash stipend.
  • Disability is determined in the same manner as
    SSDI.
  • There is no requirement that the disability occur
    before age 22.

14
Additional Information on SSI Benefits
  • There are limits on income and resources.
  • There is a deeming of income and resources.
  • A portion of your income and resources will
    generally be considered available to your child
    if your child lives with you and is under age 18.
  • Once the child reaches age 18, the parents
    assets are no longer considered available to the
    child.
  • There is a reduction in benefits for certain
    situations.

15
MEDICARE
  • A federal health insurance program run by the
    SSA. It is designed to pay the cost of health
    care for people over the age of 65 and for people
    with disabilities who are under the age of 65 and
    have been eligible to receive SS benefits for at
    least two years, or who need kidney dialysis
    treatments or a kidney transplant. The child
    must only be eligible, not receive the benefit.

16
Conclusion
  • It is important to assess a childs need for
    government programs as early as possible.
  • It is imperative to explore all potential
    government benefits according the needs of the
    child.
  • It is imperative that you work with advocacy
    organizations, doctors and other professionals to
    obtain appropriate documentation.
  • It is imperative to have proper estate planning
    and consider the use of a special needs trust to
    protect a childs assets to government benefits.

17
Resources
  • Social Security Administration - www.ssa.gov
  • Special Needs Alliance website - www.
    specialneedsalliance.com
  • State Department of Health website -
    www.health.state.ny.us
  • Littman Krooks www.littmankrooks.com

18
  • Adrienne Arkontaky, Esq.
  • Littman Krooks LLP
  • www.littmankrooks.com
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