The Myths Surrounding Social Security and Disability

The confusion and lack of information regarding application for successful approval for disability benefits has spawned lots of misconceptions about the whole disability benefits process. That is why most of the people hesitate to even file a claim even if they are qualified. For those claimants who have diminished trust with the system, this article may be worth reading. Many are led to believe that the SSA automatically denies all applications the first time. To answer that myth, there is no regulation or policy that controls the SSA disability system in such a way that all initial applications get automatically denied. It is a fact that 60 to 70 percent of these applications get denied, but only because claimants never realize what they should do to improve their chances of winning the benefits. More so, claimants do the mistake of filing new applications in response to claim denials instead of appealing.

Another myth surrounding social security is that the SSA denies disability claims often in order to save government money. Definitely this is not true. Disability examiners use specific policies in relation to quality control for approving and disapproving claims so as to make sure that the decisions do not get corrected once the finished cases get screened for final approval. More often than not, disability examiners tend to be quite unyielding whenever they wish to approve a claim, for worries that returned cases for corrections may affect their job performance. The effect therefore is that quality control has an impact on the number of disapproved cases. It is simply unintelligent then to think that the government attempts to save money by denying rightful claims.

There is another misconception though regarding the age at which you applied for your disability claim. There is no general ruling for any age limit at which a claimant may get approved for disability. It is just more favorable for older people to win SSI benefits, but generally, a claimant’s case is decided on the substantiality of the medical evidence presented, and the capacity of the person to return to his past work, or to be engaged in some other types of work.

People may only understand so much about the intricacies of the whole system. But if you really are pursing a claim and wants to be sure of all the right information about its procedures, it is a sound advice then to seek assistance from a legal representative or attorney.

Our Los Angeles law firm have expert attorneys that handle cases for personal injury, employment and social security disability. Please visit our website at expertlosangelesattorney.com

Obtaining Disability Benefits: An Epic Battle Unfolding

“Remember the landmark battle between David and Goliath. Statistically, David clearly had no chance of winning. It is indeed fortunate that his heart and soul did not know that and with determination, persistence and divine intervention he prevailed. Do you ever wonder what might have happened if he was aware of what he was up to? Would he have fought with the same determination or would he have run the other way? Every day at the Social Security Administration (SSA), seemingly epic battles between disability claimants and SSA are fought. And what is the reward? Disability benefits.

The battle develops in the following fashion: you become unable to work due to a physical and/or mental illness and then apply for disability benefits. After all, you’ve contributed part of your earnings to the system all those years to prepare for this exact situation. Even your doctor says you cannot work. You figure that it is simply just a matter of filling out forms and completing paper works until you begin receiving benefits. However, slowly you realize the delay in the approval process and for the time being you are starting to experience financial problems. As months go by painstakingly waiting for an answer, you reassure yourself this must be a simple case and the delay is “”due to government bureaucracy.”” After several more months, your frustration grows. You then call SSA and get no answer, or worse, the ones you talk to are not responsive or helpful. The bureaucrats you spoke with were rude and put off by your phone call. You remind yourself SSA is on your side. Its job is to help people like your self by paying disability benefits, right? But… Now you begin to feel like David. The Moment of Truth

You finally receive a correspondence from SSA, tear it open to find a Notice of Decision which instead read: “We have denied your claim for disability benefits as our trained staff and medical doctors have determined you are not disabled under our laws.””

You’re enraged, rankled, antagonized, baffled, scared and now intimidated by the thought of fighting Goliath –The Federal Government.

With a glimmer of hope, the decision mentions something about appeal rights, but the verdict seemed so final, moot and academic. You do not know the law, neither are you familiar with the system. You feel alone and defeated. Exactly how Goliath wants you to feel.

What’s next? Hang in there…

Statistics show that 75% of all disability applicants initially will be denied benefits. Half of those denied will give up and not appeal their denial. However, 53% of the applicants who persevere to a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge obtain benefits.

Now you have an eagle’s eye view of how the system works. It is designed to deny benefits to as many claimants as possible. SSA denies initial applications because it knows 50% of the claimants will give up and not appeal. However for those who persevere and appeal their denials, the majority is eventually granted benefits.

Why? Primarily because your claim is entitled to a de novo hearing or new review by a Judge who knows the law and does not work for SSA. Also, you get to testify before the Judge about your inability to work and assess your credibility. Finally, at this stage, hopefully you have obtained sufficient medical reports from your doctors to prove your inability to work.

Now the slingshot is on your side!

Now that you have a vivid picture of how the system works, here are some tips on how you can maximize your chance for success.

1. Appeal every Denial – It bears repeating, DO NOT QUIT after receiving a denial. Now you understand you must get to a hearing. Up to that point SSA and the odds are overwhelmingly against you – receiving a denial may be cause to celebrate because you’re a step closer to a hearing.

2. Retain a Disability Attorney – Retaining an attorney who specializes in disability law should substantially increase your odds of winning. Most claimants have no idea what they need to prove to win their case. Practically all disability attorneys work on a contingency fee meaning you only pay a fee if you win your case.

Also, Federal law sets the maximum amount the fee can be in handling your case. An attorney will develop your case by obtaining the necessary medical, & billing records and opinions from your doctors that are critical in proving disability.

3. Completing Social Security Forms – You will complete a dizzying array of forms requesting all sorts of information. Be honest and very brief when completing forms. You won’t win your case with the information you give on the forms but you could lose it.

4. Involve your Treating Physician – Your treating physician is critical to success. Judges give a treating physician’s opinion regarding a patient’s disability tremendous weight. If your physician is not sympathetic to your claim you may want to make a change to one who is.

And as an inevitable end to this epic drama…Do not worry, history is on your side. If you don’t know how the story of David and Goliath ends… David won eventually. ”

Raven Kae Yonzon is a member of the Los Angeles Social Security Attorney . The firm offers legal representation for social security disability cases.

Women and the Social Security Program

“While distinctions in the treatment of men and women under the Social Security program are now virtually nonexistent, differences in the typical work patterns of men and women have significant effects on the benefits that they receive. Gender Sensitive Program

The Social Security program has not always been gender-neutral. At times, differences in the rules applying to men and women were quite obvious and significant. In nearly every case, women got more favorable treatment. For example, in 1956, women were granted the right to claim early-retirement benefits as early as age 62, while men had to wait until the normal retirement age of 65. Five years after, in 1961, men were finally granted the right to claim early-retirement benefits at age 62. In the same light, women were able to use, in general, three fewer years of earnings in the computation of their benefits compared to men who were born in the same year, which results in somewhat higher benefits for women than for men with identical birth dates and earnings histories. This is so because the average annual earnings always declines as more and more “”high”” years are included and such did not change until the mid-1970s.

A series of Federal court decisions and legislative changes, culminating in a massive clean-up of the Social Security Act in 1983, eliminated virtually all of the gender-based differences in the law.

The only remaining difference now of any significance is that women whose benefits were computed using the favorable shorter computation period that used to apply continue to receive the same benefits even today. These women are at least 86 years old in 1998. The benefits of otherwise identical men were not raised to what the benefits would have been if these beneficiaries had been able to use the more favorable computation procedure. Prospectively, however, identically situated men and women receive identical benefits provided that they have identical birth dates and earnings histories.

Earnings Patterns and Their Effects

Men and women seldom have identical earnings histories. Men have historically spent more time in the paid labor force and while these differences have certainly shrunk in recent decades which have seen huge numbers of married women enter and remain in paid employment, they have not disappeared entirely. Most women still leave paid employment for at least a short time after having children and many even leave paid employment for a substantial period of years. These “”gaps”” in the earnings histories of women usually result in lower Social Security benefits than they would have received if they had worked steadily, as most men do.

Even when women participate in paid employment, they still tend to earn less than men. The reasons for these differences are complicated, of course and cannot be completely explained by scientific study. On the average, however, they result in smaller Social Security benefits for women than for men.

With the tremendous increase over the last three decades in the labor-force participation rates of women, one might wonder whether these problems might not go away on their own someday. While anything is possible, that does not seem likely. Women’s labor-force participation rates have risen dramatically since the 1950s, but they seem to have stabilized at around 70 percent for married women at the typical working ages (higher for single women, of course), still substantially below the rates for men, which are over 90 percent at the typical working ages. The apparent ceiling in married women’s labor-force participation rates is undoubtedly related to child-bearing and child-raising, the first of which is exclusively the domain of women and the second of which is dominated by women. The differences in wage rates between men and women are difficult to explain currently and are even more difficult to predict. However for as long as women are primarily responsible for child-care, some differential is likely to remain.

Social Security Benefits for Spouses and Widows

Millions of women receive Social Security benefits as the spouses and widows of men who worked in Social Security-covered employment.

Men are technically eligible to receive exactly the same benefits as women do, but few men actually receive spouse’s or widower’s benefits because of Social Security’s dual-entitlement rules. These rules prevent duplication of benefits when a person is eligible for more than one type of Social Security benefits. For example, the 65-year-old widow of a deceased insured worker may have worked long enough in Social Security-covered employment to be eligible for a retired-worker benefit based on her own earnings record. In that case, she would receive her retired-worker benefit, and her potential widow’s benefit would be reduced dollar-for-dollar by the amount of her worker benefit. If the benefit based on her own work record exceeds her potential widow’s benefit, then the widow’s benefit would be reduced to zero.

A beneficiary always receives his or her own retired-worker benefit (assuming that he or she applies for it), and any spouse or widow/er benefit is reduced accordingly, as described above. Because men are almost always eligible for substantial benefits based on their own earnings and usually had higher and more consistent earnings than their wives did, men seldom can receive any additional benefits based on their wives’ earnings records. Therefore, the eligibility conditions for receiving spouse’s and widow’s benefits and the levels of those benefits tend to be of greater concern to women than to men. ”

Raven Kae Yonzon is a member of the Los Angeles Social Security Attorney . The firm offers legal representation for social security disability cases.

What Lies Ahead for Social Security?

“Future for Social Security Recent news headlines foretell about the looming predicaments and dilemmas facing Social Security. Although most would agree that current recipients are in no imminent danger of losing their benefits, or having their benefits reduced, what remains in the horizon is the future of this social welfare program, which has financially aided Americans for over 75 years. Pressing questions need to be answered. Is Social Security misunderstood, bordering abused? Will the privatization of accounts save Social Security?

A Historical Backdrop

The Stock Market crash in 1929 and the Great Depression that followed led to a virtual standstill of the US economy. This left an overwhelming number of workers unemployed and unable to find work. The Social Security Act, signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1935, formed a federal program for unemployment insurance, old-age pensions, aid to dependent children as well as offered federal grants to states for workers’ insurance plans and medical care. Disability insurance was added to the Social Security program in 1954, and Medicare was added in 1965.

A Pay-as-you-go System

The present program is a pay-as-you-go system in which the taxes paid by current workers are immediately sent to current retirees as benefit checks. Surplus money is put into a trust fund for use when taxes don’t cover benefits. That means the system can only function when the benefits paid to retirees are equal to or less than the Social Security taxes paid by workers. Social Security’s future financial troubles will arise due to fact that more and more Americans are living longer, and American families are choosing to have fewer children. This suggests the retiree portion of the U.S. population is increasing and the worker portion is decreasing. This is the real quandary facing Social Security at the moment. Social Security is a pay-as-you-go program, and by law, no one has “earned” Social Security benefits or the benefits “owed” to them. In 1960 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal government is not obligated to pay Social Security benefits to anyone and the government is entitled to cut benefits at any time.

Privatization of Accounts

This is what makes the privatization of accounts attention-grabbing. Private accounts would give the workforce and not the federal government, partial control over the money they pay into Social Security. The hard truth is that Social Security benefits will have to be cut, taxes raised and the retirement age increased regardless of whether a private account scheme is put in place or not. However, the accounts do mean workers would know that some of their money will be there for them in the future and workers’ ability to earn investment income on the accounts will make the impending benefit cuts and tax increases a little easier to deal with.

American Retirement System

Finally, the Federal government needs to look at fixing the entire American retirement system. Many pension plans get swallowed up in corporate takeovers, lost in corporate bankruptcies, or fall victim to poor management in union or company accounts. There needs to be better governmental and private regulation of these accounts, so the money is available to the pensioners when they reach retirement age. The problems with Social Security are only part of the problem facing retirees in America’s future. ”

Raven Kae Yonzon is a member of the Los Angeles Social Security Attorney . The firm offers legal representation for social security disability cases.

The Right Time to Retire

“Living Longer, Healthier Lives At the turn of the 20th century, the average life expectancy was 47 years. Today, the average American can look forward to about 78 years of life. For individuals aged 65, average life expectancy is 81 for men and 84 for women.

What’s behind this trend? Some causes are obvious, such as improved health care, both early on in the form of preventative medicine and during the later years of life. Medical advances allow older Americans to remain active. Healthier lifestyles are also a contributing factor.

A Different Perspective on Age

The result is a new way of thinking about age. The period between ages 45 and 65 is no longer middle and old age. As a consequence, today’s older American doesn’t hesitate to change jobs or careers in the pursuit of keeping life interesting. This trend should accelerate. A nationwide survey of workers revealed that 67% of respondents plan to continue working in some capacity after retirement.

Pension and Social Security

There is widespread concern about at least one traditional source of income for retirees — Social Security Income. Under current conditions, Social Security funds could fall short of needs by year 2040. But the reality is that Social Security was intended only to supplement other sources of retirement income. In fact, Social Security benefits account for only 39% of the average retiree’s income.

Even pension plans, once considered a staple of retirement income, only account for 19% of the retirement-income pie. In recent years, employers have been moving from traditional defined-benefit plans based on salary and years of service to defined-contribution plans, funded primarily by the employees.

This shift makes it even more important for individuals to understand their goals and have a well-thought out financial plan that focuses on the key source of retirement income which is personal savings and investments.

Points to Ponder

* As people live longer and healthier lives, retirement begins to take on a whole new perspective.

* You’ll need to adopt a financial plan suited to your specific vision of the future.

* Under the current trend, Social Security funds could fall short of needs after year 2040.

* There might be a need to rely on your own personal savings and investments for the majority of your income retirement. ”

Raven Kae Yonzon is a member of the Los Angeles Social Security Attorney . The firm offers legal representation for social security disability cases.

Fighting Social Security Fraud

“Practical Things You Can Do to Fight Fraud “Protect your Social Security number, credit card and debit card numbers, PINs (personal identification numbers), passwords and other personal information.”

A thief can use these details to order checks or credit cards, apply for loans or otherwise commit fraud using your name.

Among the preventive measures you can take: Don’t provide financial and other personal information in response to an unsolicited phone call, fax, letter or e-mail. It could be from a fraud artist masquerading as a legitimate business person or government official. Be particularly cautious with your Social Security Number (SSN). While your employer and financial institutions will need your SSN for tax purposes, you have the right to refuse requests for your SSN from merchants and service providers who have other ways to identify you.

Also, if your state puts SSNs on driver’s licenses, find out if you can use another number.

In addition, choose PINs and passwords for your bank and Internet accounts that will be tough for someone else to figure out. Don’t use your birth date or home address, for example. More suggestions for guarding personal information appear elsewhere in this article and throughout our special report.

Deal only with legitimate, reputable businesses Try to do business with companies you already know or that have been recommended. Do your research before giving money or personal information to an unfamiliar merchant, to charity or to any other organization. For example, contact your state’s Attorney General’s office or the Better Business Bureau and ask about complaints, lawsuits or other matters involving a company’s reputation.

Get key details in writing and thoroughly check them out before agreeing to anything Don’t rely on a sales person’s oral representations for a significant purchase or investment. Get as much written information as possible, including a contract, specifying cost information and your consumer rights. If a marketer refuses to supply written information or employs high-pressure sales tactics to get you to act fast, take that as your cue to say “”goodbye.””

Be extra careful when providing personal information over the telephone or the Internet.

Scam artists hide at the other end of the phone line or computer screen. So, don’t give bank account information, Social Security Numbers or personal data in response to an unsolicited phone call or e-mail. Remember that a legitimate company would never ask for passwords or other personal information by e-mail. Before providing credit card or other information to a Web site, confirm that the site is legitimate, not a copycat designed by a crook, by verifying that the Web site’s address is an exact match for what appears in literature from the company or some other reliable source. You’d be wise to avoid an online merchant that doesn’t list a phone number or physical address which are possible signs that the Web site and its owners are fraudulent.

Also look for assurances on the Web site about security procedures for safely transmitting and storing your credit card number, password and other personal information you’re asked to provide.

Limit the confidential information in your wallet in case it gets lost or stolen

Don’t carry around more checks, credit cards or other bank items than you need. Consider reducing the number of credit cards you carry by canceling ones you don’t use. Keep passports, Social Security cards and birth certificates in a secure place, not in your wallet. Never keep passwords or PINs on or near your checkbook, credit card, ATM card or debit card.

Review your credit card bills and bank statements as soon as they arrive.

If you notice something suspicious, perhaps a credit card purchase you didn’t make or an unauthorized withdrawal from your checking account, contact your financial institution immediately. While federal and state laws limit your losses if you’re victimized by a financial fraud, sometimes your maximum liability depends on how quickly you report the problem. Also make sure you get your statement every month. If no statement arrives, that could be a sign that an identity thief has changed your mailing address for purposes of committing fraud in your name but from another location. ”

Raven Kae Yonzon is a member of the Los Angeles Social Security Attorney . The firm offers legal representation for social security disability cases.

Appeals Against The Denial Of Disability Benefits

Filing for disability benefits is one thing and getting it is quite another. The government is ordinarily quite willing to let you have the benefit but at times it happens that you think you are entitled to the benefits but the authorities think otherwise. So, where to go? Do you need to file for reconsideration?

If the reconsideration application is rejected, go in for a formal appeal before the Administrative Law Judge. Your case will be given a thorough and independent examination here. And you’ll be given a full hearing with every chance to present your case in detail. An expert may also be called to give his opinion on the status of the claimant’s disability.

If your case is rejected here the next appeal lies before the National Appeals Council, which is headquartered in Washington. This is an independent review of the ALJ’s decision. The appeals council does not conduct a hearing.

If the Council also concur with the decisions of the earlier forum and rejects your appeal, you may institute a lawsuit in the federal court. This is part of a formal civil litigation and by filing a lawsuit you put in motion the judicial machinery of the state. The lawsuit will be contended by the authorities through a lawyer and it is advisable that you too hire one so that you do not suffer due to inadequate representation before the federal court.

In case the federal court decides against you, you may approach the federal appeals court against the decision. If the appeal fails, the only option you are left with is the Supreme Court, which is the apex judicial body.

It is not mandatory for one to hire a lawyer to represent one at any stage. However, if your initial appeals have not found favor with the authorities while you feel that your case has merit, it is better that you let a competent lawyer file a lawsuit for you so as to make sure that no legal point in your favor escapes the notice of the judge.

If you do not hire a lawyer before reaching the stage when you have to approach the Supreme Court, it would make things difficult for you because the apex court is unlikely to allow a fresh legal contention that was not raised before any of the earlier appeals. It is, therefore, advisable that you get yourself a lawyer the moment you decide to set the judicial machinery of the state in motion.

To get more information about disability, social security disability benefits and disability aids visit http://www.about-disability.com/

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How To Appeal Your Denied Social Security Claims?

Social Security is an agency of rules and regulations. These rules and regulations command for strict compliance among its members. During the processing of claims it cannot be helped that some claims are rejected or denied. The rejections of the claims are based on a thorough analysis of all supporting documents and papers submitted to the agency. Nevertheless, it is also natural for members to challenge the decision of the agency. But as I mentioned the agency has rules and guidelines to follow so if ever a member would like to complain he or she should know the proper procedures involved in appealing.

Members are given sixty days or two months to file for an appeal. There are four levels of appeal which members may apply to and these are as follows: reconsideration, hearing by an administrative law judge, review by the appeals council and the federal court review.

Appealing for reconsideration means that you are asking for another complete review of your submitted claim but this time the reviewer would be a different agency personnel. This person will try to review every minuet detail of your claims as well as your submitted documents and will try to look for new evidences that will help you in your appeal for claims.

The hearing by an administrative law judge is usually held within 75 miles away from the member’s home. The administrative judge will simply notify the appealing member of the time and place where the hearing will take place. A member is allowed to employ the service of a Social Security Lawyer to help provide him or her with the necessary legal assistance. The administrative judge may also request for some witnesses so it is important that a member to have their witnesses present especially during hearings.

The appeals council is called upon if ever after the hearing still the member disagrees with the verdict. However, not all requests for appeals in appeals council are granted especially when after a thorough deliberation of the hearings result shows that the decision was correct. And if after again filing for an appeal on the appeals council a member is still not satisfied of the decision he or she may brought the whole matter to the federal court. The federal court is actually a member’s last resort.

And lastly hire the services of a Social Security Lawyer so that you will be ensured of a much greater chance of getting your claims approved.
Jinky C. Mesias is a graduate of Bachelor Of Science in Business Administration major in Management. She is at present an Associate Manager of a Life Insurance Corporation and a freelance writer.

For comments and suggestions about the article kindly visit http://www.socialsecuritylawattorney.com/security/social-security-disability.html

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Social Security Disability

You’ve become injured, developed a crippling illness, or you’ve finally succumbed to the advanced effects of a number of medical conditions. You follow a friend or relative’s advice and you contact the social security administration for the purpose of filing a disability application. All you have to do now is wait a few weeks and then your benefits should start, right?

Unfortunately, the disability system in the U.S. of A doesn’t quite work that way. Quite the contrary, the system is heavily bureaucratic and correspondingly slow, and is geared for neither fairness nor empathy with regard to either your medical or financial considerations.

To allow yourself the chance to make the best decisions later on, you need to understand from the very beginning that if you are disabled and are applying for either social security disability or ssi disability benefits, the process is very, very long. In fact, if you are not approved for benefits when you first apply for ssd or ssi–this is called the initial phase–then it is likely that you will have to go through the entire social security disability appeals process.

This can literally take years to get through–and, typically in most states, especially those with large hearing office backlogs, can take as much as three years.

How long does each step take? The initial claim phase, or application phase, can take anywhere from a month (not likely) to a year (yes, an application can really take this long in some cases). The middle step, which is called the reconsideration stage and is really just a repeat of the application phase, can take just as long; meaning, in most instances, several months.

Most individuals are denied their disability benefits at the reconsideration level, but, nonetheless, are required to go through this stage if they want the opportunity for a hearing before a judge. After the reconsideration stage comes the disability hearing stage. And this is where the wait really begins.

After you’ve been denied at the reconsideration level, you request a disability hearing before a federal judge. How long is the wait this time? Well, depending on where you live, it might take you a year or longer to get a hearing date.

But the waiting doesn’t end there. After a hearing has been conducted, a claimant will be required to wait for a decision notice. How long does this take? Some judges will inform a claimant that a decision may be rendered in six weeks. But, often, it takes several months. Even after you have the hearing, you may only have about a one out of two chance (according to national statistics–the win rates do vary by state) of being granted your social security disability or ssi benefits.

So…if you are thinking of applying for ssa benefits, think about how long the process might take and get prepared, if you are able. Applying for disability will seldom ever be an easy process, but if you know in advance how long it can really take, you can make better decisions (regarding your finances, housing situation, etc) along the way. And, certainly, if your particular case is one that eventually leads to a hearing before a judge, get an attorney to maximize your chances of winning benefits.
Tim Moore http://www.disabilitysecrets.com/questions.html Social Security Disability Secrets (this is an faq page that is fairly useful).
I am a former Social Security Disability Claims Examiner who, for the last several years, has worked in disability claimant representation.

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Child Support in the Arizona Family Court: How Do Social Security Benefits Affect Calculations?

Social Security benefits can affect child support in two ways. First, if either the parent paying child support (the “obligor”) or the parent receiving child support (the “obligee”) receives Social Security benefits, the Arizona Child Support Guidelines require that the Social Security benefits be included in determining either parents income. Thus, the Social Security benefits help to determine the initial child support obligation.

Second, the Social Security benefits can affect the amount of child support that must be paid out of pocket by the parent paying child support. Section 26 of the Arizona Child Support Guidelines addresses this issue and states verbatim as follows:

A. Income earned or money received by a child from any source other than court-ordered child support shall not be counted toward either parent’s child support obligation except as stated herein. However, income earned or money received by or on behalf of a person for whom child support is ordered to continue past the age of majority pursuant to Arizona Revised Statute Sections 25-320.B and 25-809.F may be credited against any child support obligation.

B. Benefits, such as Social Security Disability or Insurance, received by a custodial parent on behalf of a child, as a result of contributions made by the parent paying child support shall be credited as follows:

1. If the amount of the child’s benefit for a given month is equal to or greater than the paying parent’s child support obligation, then that parent’s obligation is satisfied.

2. Any benefit received by the child for a given month in excess of the child support obligation shall not be treated as an arrearage payment nor as a credit toward future child support payments.

3. If the amount of the child’s benefit for a given month is less than the parent’s child support obligation, the parent shall pay the difference unless the court, in its discretion, modifies the child support order to equal the benefits being received at that time.

C. Except as otherwise provided in section 5.B, any benefits received directly, and not on behalf of a child, by either the custodial parent or the parent paying child support as a result of his or her own contributions, shall be included as part of that parent’s gross income.

The interpretation of Section 26, above, minus some of the legalese, is really pretty simple:

A. If a child receives benefits from a source outside of the parent paying child support, it will not normally diminish the paying parent’s child support obligation unless the Arizona Child Support Guidelines provide a specific exception. However, if a mentally or physically disabled child receives child support past the age of majority, those amounts may be credited toward the paying parent’s child support obligation. Notice this is a “may” and not a “shall,” meaning that the court has discretion in this child support matter.

B. If a child receives benefits, such as social security or insurance, because the paying parent made the child eligible to receive such benefits by paying into the system, those amounts will be credited toward the paying parent’s child support obligation in the manners described. Notice this is a “shall” and not a “may,” meaning that the court has no discretion in this child support matter.

C. As mentioned above, a parent who receives payments directly on his or her behalf must include those amounts in income totals used to calculate child support. However, the exception to this provision is provided by the Child Support Guidelines Section 5(B) which states, “Gross income does not include sums received as child support or benefits received from means-tested public assistance programs including, but not limited to, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Food Stamps and General Assistance.”

In summary, Social Security and other benefits may affect child support calculations in Arizona. Consult an attorney to find out how your case will be affected.

Disclaimer: Providing the above information does not establish an attorney-client relationship. To create such a relationship, both the attorney and potential client must sign a written fee agreement. The information contained herein is meant only as general information and is not meant to be relied upon for the purpose of taking legal action. You should contact an attorney in person for further and specific information. Wilcox & Wilcox, P.C. attorneys are licensed in Arizona only except for personal injury attorney Robert N. Edwards, who is licensed in Arizona and Minnesota. Information in this article may not apply to states other than Arizona.

Attorney Trent R. Wilcox is the managing partner of Wilcox & Wilcox, P.C. Mr. Wilcox practices in the areas of family law, employment disputes and general civil litigation. Mr. Wilcox is admitted to practice in the Arizona state courts and federal district court and is a member of the Maricopa County, Arizona State and American Bar Associations.

Mr. Wilcox has worked closely with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to return abducted children to the custodial parent. He has assisted parents from various countries in cases brought under The Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

Mr. Wilcox plays golf professionally when time remains after family and the demands of the law office have been met and when he gets a chance to practice, carries a +3 to +4 handicap.

Phoenix office:
3030 N. Central Ave., Ste. 705
Phoenix, Arizona 85012
Ph: 602-631-9555 Fx: 602-631-4004

Goodyear office:
1616 N. Litchfield Rd., Ste. 240
Goodyear, Arizona 85338
Ph: 623-344-7880 Fx: 602-631-4004

Visit our website: www.wilcoxlegal.com
Check out our web log: www.arizonafamilylaw.blogspot.com

Disclaimer: Providing the above information does not establish an attorney-client relationship. To create such a relationship, both the attorney and potential client must sign a written fee agreement. The information contained herein is meant only as general information and is not meant to be relied upon for the purpose of taking legal action. You should contact an attorney in person for further and specific information. Wilcox & Wilcox, P.C. attorneys are licensed in Arizona only except for personal injury attorney Robert N. Edwards, who is licensed in Arizona and Minnesota. Information in this article may apply only to Arizona.

Copyright © 2005 Wilcox & Wilcox, P.C.

trent@wilcoxlegal.com

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