We are in the process of applying for long over due SSDI benefits for my disabled brother in law. We are also now considering becoming his conservators. The SSDI application process has been long, arduous and frustrating, and we want to make sure that applying for conservatorship does not interfere or derail the SSDI application process. Thank you!
At first glance, it would not appear as though conservatorship proceedings would derail the application process. In fact, it may strengthen a Social Security Disability claim if the medical evidence in the conservatorship case supports a finding of disability. I would recommend hiring an attorney to help you navigate the conservatorship action and one for the disability application. Whatever you decide to do, you have my best wishes for a very difficult situation.
Conservatorships should not negatively impact his SSDI claim. In fact, conservatorships are usually granted to those who are so disabled, they cannot care for themselves or make their own decisions. Having a conservatorship does not necessarily mean he is disabled according to SSDI criteria, but it should not interfere with the application process.
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I agree with Mr. Lewis and Mr. Pham. I do want to point out some negative things about conservatorship, however, and why it ought to really be a "last resort." Typically, filing for a conservatorship can create hostility and conflict, require a good deal of money if there is any litigation on the issue, and result in burdensome ongoing administrative reporting and having all of the money being overseen by a court. IF the sole source of income will be SSDI, then you can get control of the funds by becoming appointed as Representative Payee without all of those issues that arise in a conservatorship. There may be other reasons that a conservatorship is necessary - one being that you need to be able to legally compel your brother-in-law to live in a facility, for instance or maybe there are other reasons - but this certainly is a topic that you would want to discuss with an experienced attorney in the local area -one familiar with the court that would have to hear the case - before taking any action. You can find an appropriate attorney by using the "find a lawyer" tab here on Avvo. I wish you the best of luck with this very difficult situation.
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It might have been more helpful if you specified your brother's disability. An SSDI attorney is more likely to do conservatorships, I would think, than a conservatorship attorney is to do SSDI. SSDI benefits are based on his earnings, not his assets, and the Social Security Administration wants the information presented on their forms. Your social security attorney will know this; the conservatorship attorney probably won't. The one should not affect the other if granted, but if the conservatorship is denied it might be used to argue your brother really isn't disabled at all.
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