Mar 26, 2009

Not Soon Enough

From the WSPA "Problem Solver:"
Debbie Satterfield turns the pages of her daughter Jennifer’s life… a 32-year-old who’s life was cut short earlier this month after battling cervical cancer.

We introduced you to Jennifer [Satterfield] last year…her mother by her side as she fought for years to get disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. At the time, SSA said the “condition(s) is not severe enough to be considered disabling.“ ...

With our help that battle ended. ...

Now, more than seven months later SSA has only sent a portion of that money.

“It’s not fair,“ said Debbie. “Why should people die waiting for money that’s due them?“

During a phone interview from Atlanta, SSA’s Patti Patterson told us because Jennifer was receiving two types of benefits…disability (SSDI) and supplemental security income (SSI) law SSA had up to a year and a half to send her back pay for part of her benefits....

Debbie says the wait simply isn’t fair…especially since her daughter waited years to get approved.

“It angers me a lot because now she is dead and she can’t enjoy that money that was due her,“ said Debbie.

Update: It appears that Social Security made a mistake here. The statute says that SSI back benefits are not supposed to be paid in installments if the claimant is expected to die within less than twelve months. (Of course, the Social Security field office may not have realized that she was terminal.) Unfortunately, since the claimant is dead, there is nothing to do about this. However, a very smart reader also pointed out that it looks like something can still be done to get these children more of those back benefits. The windfall offset was computed based upon SSI back benefits being paid. Most of those SSI back benefits were never paid due to this woman's death. The windfall offset should be recomputed and more money paid.


Nancy Ortiz said...

That's a great point. I hope the CR or BA processing the retro T2 gets this information. Sometimes sharing this information with the "T@ side" of the claims operation just doesn't happen. I am sorry about this unfortunate young lady. There was a time when CR's actually read the diagnosis and would act accordingly. But, clearly, we are not what we were when I left SSA.

Anonymous said...

SSI is offset by T2. T2 is not offset by SSI, so the unpaid SSI would not have reduced the deceased's back T2. (By the way SSI paid to the worker never affects the back pay of the children.)