Wednesday, March 27, 2013

One Strategy to Increase Monthly Income for Disabled Persons – Corrected!!!!!!. Information Bulletin #376A (3/2013) [Introduction – I apologize. In the above Information Bulletin, I made an error that a few people pointed out to me. The correction below regarding Medicare and Medicaid will significantly benefit people who apply, so I am rewriting this Bulletin with the corrections and thank all of you who pointed out my error. On a personal note, it is really gratifying that people actually read the Information Bulletin to the end. I must admit that I am never confident how many people read these, or do they float away in outer space. Thanks. Steve] There are more than 7 million persons who are disabled and who receive Supplemental Security Income because they have a disability. This Information Bulletin is addressed to a subset those 7 million -- whose disability began before they were 22 years old and whose parents receive or were entitled to receive Social Security retirement benefits. This Information Bulletin is to remind and or inform this subset of 7 million SSI recipients of a potential federal financial benefit that could increase their monthly incomes. This subset of 7 million disabled persons’ living arrangements differ: some live independently on their own; some live in group homes or with roommates; some are married and live with their spouses; and some still reside with their aging nondisabled parents. Some have physical disabilities, some intellectual and some mental disabilities. Some were born with their disability and some acquired their disability before age 22. If you are one of these 7 million or know people who are, you and they might be eligible to receive “Child’s benefits” – under the Social Security retirement system - based on the “earning record of an insured person,” your parent(s) Social Security retirement benefits, whether or not your parents are still alive. What this means in nontechnical terms is: 1.Is either parent receiving Social Security retirement benefits, Social Security Disability benefits, or has either parent died? If one of your parents has died, you may be eligible to receive benefits on his/her account if s/he had a history of working. 2.Don’t be misled by the term “child.” It does not mean your age, but refers to your relationship to your parent. For example, a 45 year old recipient of SSI has a 67 year old parent who collects S.S. retirement benefits. The 45 year old may be entitled to “child’s benefits” based on his parent’s earning record. 3.Did your disability begin before you were 22 years old? Here is concrete example of how this system works. A.You became disabled before you were 22 years old. This could have been at birth or any time before you were 22. B.You receive SSI (although that is not a requirement). It does not matter where you reside or with whom you reside. C.What is important is that one of your parents receives Social Security retirement benefits (a/k/a Social Security “Old-Age” benefits), Social Security Disability Benefits, or if either parent has died and that parent had a work history that would have qualified him/her for Social Security retirement benefits. The dollar difference between your SSI monthly benefits and the “child’s benefits” based on your parents earning record could be significant. You may receive up to one-half of your parent’s full retirement benefit or disability benefit while your parent is still alive, and up to 75 percent of your parent’s Social Security benefit when s/he dies. You must apply to the Social Security Administration, which can be done in person, or by telephone or on-line. It is worth your effort to find out the monthly benefits you may be entitled to, whether or not you decide to actually apply, and compare that sum with your SSI. Two additional points: 1.Normally “child’s benefits” end if the person marries. However, if a person with a disability marries another disabled person who receives disability benefits, then you are still eligible for “child’s benefits.” 2. A big issue is health care coverage and benefits. On SSI, you receive Medicaid. In many States – not all – if your “child’s benefits” are less than 138% of the federal poverty level ($1,285 a month), you will still be Medicaid eligible effective 1/2014. In many States, you can become eligible for Medicaid under “spend down” requirements. If you start to receive your parent’s social security benefits because of your disability began before you were 22, you will also be eligible for Medicare benefits after you have been eligible for your parent’s benefits for 24 months. Check out how this issue will specifically apply to you. Also, in 1987, a federal law was enacted that says that if you are receiving Medicaid (maybe because you receive SSI on your own account), and then you start to receive Social Security benefits from a parent’s account, the amount of your parent’s benefit will not be considered when your State is deciding if you are financially eligible for Medicaid. For example, let’s say you are receiving $715 a month of SSI and also have Medicaid. Then your father dies and you become eligible for $1,000 a month in Social Security on your father’s account. Your State cannot count any of the $1,000 a month from your father’s Social Security when deciding if you are eligible for Medicaid. Here is the citation, 42 U.S.C. § 1383c, or (Determination of Medicaid Eligibility). Is the Social Security Administration motivated to provide the maximum amount of income to which people with disabilities are entitled to receive? The SSA knows each of the 7 million SSI recipients, their age when they became disabled and their parents’ status. It cannot be too difficult to at least notify them of these potential rights. In fact the Social Security Administration requires that you apply for benefits on your parent’s account if there is a chance you might be eligible, in part because SSI is a “payment of last resort.” There are a number of wrinkles which this Information Bulletin does not discuss. Telephone the Social Security 800 number and make an application. Steve Gold, The Disability Odyssey continues Back issues of other Information Bulletins are available online at with a searchable Archive at this site divided into different subjects. Information Bulletins will also be posted on my blog located at To contact Steve Gold directly, write to or call 215-627-7100. Ext 227.

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