A recent article from Huffington Post, looks at how stay-at-home parents often get denied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), even if they paid into the system for many years prior to choosing to stay home to raise a family.
The Social Security Disability Insurance system was created as a means to provide benefits to workers who are no longer able to work due to injury or illness. The injury or illness is not typically work-related, as that would be covered by workers’ compensation benefits in most cases.
In order to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, a person must work enough fiscal quarters to qualify for benefits. Each time a person gets a paycheck, some of that money is taken out and given to the Social Security Administration (SSA) funds. One fund is for the Social Security disability programs, and the other fund is the Old Age and Retirement benefits program. These are two separate funds, and the money must come from the correct fund. If one fund runs out of money, money cannot be paid from the other fund without congressional action, as we have seen from the many news articles about the disability fund running out of money.
After you have earned enough quarterly credits to have “paid into the system” you will become eligible for benefits if you become disabled. However, as our Boston disability attorneys have seen on many occasions, it is often difficult for even the most clearly disabled individual to convince the SSA of this disability without putting up a real fight. For this reason, you should speak with an experienced disability attorney before filing for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits.
In the case of a stay-at-home parent, here is the typical problematic fact pattern that is outlined in the article. A woman works for many years and has paid into the system and would be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. She then decides to start a family and chooses to stay at home. After some time when the kids are older, she decides to go back to work. Soon after returning to work, she becomes sick. When she applies for disability benefits, she is denied for benefits because she does not have enough quarterly credits. The reason she does not have enough quarterly credits is because the quarterly credits she had earned prior to deciding to stay at home were too old to count. In other words, your quarterly credits are time sensitive and will essentially expire.
One of the reasons for this is because when the system was first established, there was no money in the fund other than what Congress had allocated as a loan to the program from the general fund. The program would therefore run at a deficit, and Congress was concerned that if the money in the fund could not be be used on current beneficiaries, it would create more financial trouble.
If you or a loved one is seeking Social Security Disability Insurance in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.
The Social Security Con: How Stay-at-home Moms (or Dads) Lose Their Social Security Disability, March 14, 2016, Huffington Post, By Margaret M. Kruse
More Blog Entries:
Mabry v. Colvin: Social Security Disability for Mental Illness, March 27, 2016, Boston SSDI Lawyer Blog