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Robert Terence LaPorte
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Robert LaPorte’s Answers

18 total


  • Can Social Security use common law marriage both ways?

    I have been on SSI since I was 17. At a redetermination last year it was decided by SS that my bf and I are married because we have a child and my name is on the mortgage. I filed an appeal at that time, they claim to never have received it though...

    Robert’s Answer

    It sounds as if the SSA claims representative made an initial decision that you and your boyfriend were "holding yourself out" as husband and wife to the community, and therefore could be deemed married for SSI purposes. Below is a link to the SSA POMS rule which allows SSA to consider you as married for SSI purposes even if you have not formally married under state law. Just having your name on the mortgage with your boyfriend would not be enough; SSA is required to look at a number of factors (and documents) to see if you identified yourself as a married couple. You may wish to gather documentation from the following to show you have not held yourselves out as married:
    Mortgages, leases, property deeds, bank accounts, insurance policies, passports, tax returns, credit cards;

    Information (preferably documents) from other government programs, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Food Stamps, public housing, etc.;

    Magazine or newspaper subscription labels, personal mail;

    Statements from relatives, close friends, or neighbors.

    Here's the Link. Good luck.
    https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0500501152

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  • I've received EDD disability benefit for 5 months and applying SSDI. Would the EDD payment be reduced when I got SSDI paycheck?

    My EDD payment is more than $1200. I think my SSDI should not be more than $900. I want to have an idea what would be happened when I got SSDI. Thanks.

    Robert’s Answer

    The short answer: Your EDD payments will not be reduced when you become elgibile for SSDI. However, it is possible you will receive a reduced SSDI benefit until your EDD runs out.

    What happens when you start getting SSDI depends entirely on the level of FICA-taxed work income you earned when you were working prior to your disability.
    The best way to answer your question is to provide two examples, using your figures of $1200 monthly EDD; and $900 monthly SSDI. Be aware that SSA does not start your SSDI until the 6th month after the beginning date of your disability; and that in California, EDD disability can not last more than 12 months.
    In the great majority of cases, SSA uses an "80 percent rule", such that the total of your SSDI and EDD in the same month can not exceed 80 percent of your gross monthly income earned in the highest of the last 5 years before the onset of the disabilty. Therefore, if in your best earning year you earned $24,000 that year; your 80 percent number is $1600 ($2000 per month X 80%); so since your EDD is $1200, you can receive only another $400 SSDI per month; until you have used up your EDD, at which time your SSDI can be increased to its normal rate of $900 monthly.
    If in your best earning year in that five-year period before your disability you earned $36,000 anually; your 80 percent number would be $2400 ($3000 X 80%); so the total of your EDD and SSDI ($2100) would be less than the 80 percent, and you could receive both full EDD and SSDI until the EDD runs out.
    I agree with my colleagues that now is a good time to file your application for SSDI if it seems that your disability from full time work will last at least one year.

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  • I need help with refiling for disability for my daughter who is 29 years old and can't work

    She previously filed for disability and it was denied. She had a tumor in her right ankle and it was removed at the age of 3. Afterwards she was required to have an ankle fusion and some additional surgery on her knees. She currently doesn't ha...

    Robert’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    If your daughter's previous application was denied more than 65 days ago, she will need to file a new application for disability. It would be important for you and your daughter to consult with an experienced Social Security Disability attorney who practices in your area. Because your daughter is a "younger individual" she must establish that she can not perform any full-time jobs, even the most sedentary and least demanding jobs, for a period of at least 12 consecutive months. You may also want to talk to the lawyer about the standards for "ineffective ambuation" under SSA's Listings of Impairments to determine whether your daughter's ankle and knee problems may qualify under those standards.
    You can obtain the names of local, specialist attorneys from the National Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives (NOSSCR); or by checking the Internet or Yellow Pages for SSA attorneys with offices in your area.

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  • How do I get off Social Security Disability?

    I have been getting Social Security Disability since I was a child. In the past few years I turned my hobby of photography and it has turned into a business. I report my income to the IRS yearly when I do my taxes. I'm pretty sure that my income i...

    Robert’s Answer

    The quick response is that you should report your work activity to the Social Security Administration. You can not assume that the filing of tax returns to the IRS meets the SSA work-reporting requirement. At this time, you can report your return to work on the SSA.gov website, or you can make an appointment to discuss your situation at your closest SSA field office.
    However, to better answer your question, it would be important to know your age, and whether you are receiving disability insurance benefits, SSI disability, or perhaps benefits on a parent's SSN as a Disabled Adult Child.
    Assuming you are receiving Disability Insurance Benefits on your own SSN; or Disabled Adult Child Benefits on a parent's SSN; it is possible that you can receive continuing benefits as a self employed individual. You should look at the 3 "tests" for evaluating work by a disabled individual under 20 CFR 404.1575, linked below. Note that the standard for disqualifying substantial gainful activity in 2013 is $1040 monthly. The regulation also discusses your question about how SSA looks at "averaging" your monthly income over the entire year.
    It is also very important that you review the rules for "Impairment Related Work Expenses", or IRWE, reported in 20 CFR 404.1576, also linked below. SSA recognizes that people with disabilities who work may have additional expenses caused by their impairments, which can be deducted, in addition to standard business-related deductions, in determing whether the net income you draw from your work is greater than the disqualifying $1040 monthly income level. Examples of IRWE include disability-required modifications to a residence or automobile, or medical device or medical treatment costs, including prescribed medication, not covered by insurance.
    Take a look at the links below so you can familiarize yourself with the rules for people with disabilities and permissible self employment, then be ready to report your work to SSA.

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  • My ex wife of 25 years pas sed away . Am I entitled to any survivor social security benefits ? She was 51 and in California

    She never remarried and the length of our marriage was lived entirely in California

    Robert’s Answer

    You may be eligible for surviving divorced spouse benefits. The answer depends in large part on your current age. You seem to meet Social Security’s requirement that the marriage lasted at least 10 years before divorce. Social Security required that your ex-wife have paid sufficent FICA taxes on her work record to have been eligible for benefits. Social Security also requires that if you are not disabled, you be at least 60 years old. If you are between 50 and 60 years old, you can receive benefits if you are disabled according to Social Security’s rules, and that disability began within 7 years of her death. Generally, you must also be currently unmarried to receive surviving divorced spouse’s benefits.
    Here's the link to more information about receiving surviving divorced spouse's benefits: http://ssa-custhelp.ssa.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/1811/~/receive-benefits-from-deceased-ex-spouse's-record

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  • My psychologist said he'd back me with social security disability claim but will Social security accept a psychologists word?

    I have multiple disabilities psychiatric and neurological and have not worked in 14 months But attorney i called said he would not take my case with a psychologists backing but my other doctors , the neurologist and psychiatrist said they don't w...

    Robert’s Answer

    Below is the link to Social Security Ruling 06-03P which says that licensed clinical psychologists are "acceptable medical sources" for purposes of both treatment evidence and opinion evidence.
    I would get a second opinion from another, local attorney who specializes in Social Security disability appeals. Your neurologist and psychiatrist may not be willing or able to provide supporting opinions of disability, but their treatment records and reports, together with the evidence and opinion of the psychologist, must all be evaluated to create the picture showing the basis for your disability claim.
    Good luck with your appeal.

    http://www.socialsecurity.gov/OP_Home/rulings/di/01/SSR2006-03-di-01.html

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  • Advantages to hire a s.s.i disability attorney to help me file for expedited reinstatement (EXR)?

    What is the process, including the fees?

    Robert’s Answer

    It is hard to know whether you really need to hire an attorney to file for EXR. Since you were previously found eligible for benefits, you have dealt with SSA before, and are familiar with their practices. If you were able to qualify for benefits previously without an attorney, you should be able to gain re-eligibliity without one now. The only difficult part may occur after the provisional benefits are resumed, when SSA does its disability evaluation to determine whether your benefits can be restored indefinitely. An experienced attorney may be of help in guiding you in submitting evidence showing your eligibiilty in that evaluation process.
    Generally, EXR applies when:
    •Your previous entitlement to SSDI benefits terminated due to performance of SGA; or your previous SSI disability/blindness eligibility terminated because of excess earned income or a combination of earned and unearned income;
    •You are not be performing SGA in the month (currently $1040 gross income) you apply for EXR;
    •You are unable to work at the SGA level due to your medical condition;
    •You have a current medical impairment(s) that is the same as, or related to, your original disabling impairment(s); and
    •You request EXR within 5 years from the month your benefits stopped.

    Below are links to SSA guidelines on EXR:
    http://www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityresearch/wi/exr.htm
    https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0413050045

    Good luck with your decision.

    You are eligible to request EXR if you meet all the following requirements:
    •Your previous entitlement to SSDI benefits terminated due to performance of SGA; or your previous SSI disability/blindness eligibility terminated because of excess earned income or a combination of earned and unearned income;
    •You are not be performing SGA in the month (currently $1040 gross income) you apply for EXR;
    •You are unable to work at the SGA level due to your medical condition;
    •You have a current medical impairment(s) that is the same as, or related to, your original disabling impairment(s); and
    •You request EXR within 5 years from the month your benefits stopped.

    http://www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityresearch/wi/exr.htm
    https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0413050045

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  • Is it worth it to go to my Social Security hearing? What should I do? Please read details below.

    I had a lawyer but after I took a job, he advised me not work anymore. I was laid off the job. Then, I told him I had to find another job to put food on the table, he wrote me a letter releasing me as a client. Although I worked in excruciating p...

    Robert’s Answer

    I agree with the answer provided by Mr. Farrell. I would add only the fact that your prior attorney would not have a "lien", but would be required to file a petition for attorneys fee for approval of an authorized fee in the event that your case were approved at a hearing. You would have the right to respond to your attorney's petition for attorneys fees. Any new attorney would also have to file a petition for attorney fees if your case were approved, and benefits paid. I would get at least one more opinion from a qualified local Social Security lawyer before making your decision about proceeding to the hearing.

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  • I have been diagnosed with a rare and terminal disease and want to know if Social Security will speed up the process now?

    the average life span of this illness, I am less than four years away from that age. Should i still get an attorney and will getting my doctor to fill out social security paperwork help?

    Robert’s Answer

    Below is a link to the SSA webpage for Compassionate Allowances, which provides the list of 200 conditions SSA presently recognizes as entitled to a fast-track approval process. Even if your condition is not one of those listed, you should consult with an attorney in your area; and ensure with your doctor that your condition is sufficiently documented. Good luck.
    http://www.ssa.gov/compassionateallowances/

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  • I was denied Social Security Disability and appealed that decision but haven't heard anything and don't know what to do...

    I applied for Social Security Disability because I was in an auto accident and have chronic pain, weakness and numbness in my upper back, neck, shoulders, arms and hands. I had medical records that I submitted to them but they wanted further test...

    Robert’s Answer

    If you filed an appeal of your application denial over a year ago, you should have received a response from SSA long ago. You should try to call your local SSA field office, or try the SSA 800 number (800)772-1213. If you can't get through, go to the SSA office where you filed your application to determine the status of your claim/appeal. Also, you should contact an attorney in your area who specializes in Social Security disability matters.

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