Harlan Still & Koch

SSD benefits restored after outside income mix-up

It took the intervention of a U.S. senator, but a woman who lost her much-needed Social Security disability benefits last year expects to have those benefits restored. This should allow her to keep her house and help her spend her final months as comfortably as possible.

The woman has several serious medical conditions. Among them is a deadly problem with her large intestine. Following a surgical error, the intestine is shifting to the left side of her body, cutting it off from its blood supply. The condition appears to be terminal, because surgery to repair it has been ruled out.

The woman received SSD benefits for her disabling conditions. She sought to work as a court-appointed mental health advocate, but was worried that doing so would cause her benefits to be cut. She consulted with someone at the Social Security office, who told her that as long as she did not earn too much income, her benefits would not be at risk.

But then the SSA cut her benefits anyway. Without the money, she risked losing her home. She contacted the media, which led to Sen. Chuck Grassley reading about her plight in the newspaper. He sent a letter to the SSA’s regional office, asking it to help the woman get her benefits restored, which got the ball rolling toward her benefits being restored.

The woman is supposed to start receiving her benefits again, but the matter of possible overpayment of past benefits is still unresolved. The SSA says she owes $10,600, but the woman says that is due to a miscalculation of her income.

The SSD rules can be confusing at times. An attorney can help explain the system, and whether you may qualify for benefits.

Source: Des Moines Register, “Dying woman gets Social Security just in time,” Lee Rood, April 14, 2014

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