Thank you for your question and your concern about your parents'
plight. Since you really seem to be interested in an answer, I have
gone ahead and provided what I can to help you and your parents in
Pinkfreud had an excellent suggestion of Social Security disability
benefits, and when I first saw your question, that is immediately what
I thought of as well. I agree with you that it seems that your
parents are not in very good health and not very well-equipped as far
as working 10 hours a day at their ages, and I believe that they are
more worthy of getting it than some individuals I know who have tried
and succeeded at getting benefits. Therefore, I believe that there is
a good chance you could be successful in this endeavor and you should
at least give it a try. The people I know who have gotten disability
hired attorneys who did not get paid unless the client received
disability benefits in the end. I recommend that you hire an attorney
on this basis for a few reasons:
-You don't have to pay any attorney fees on the off chance that you do
not get benefits.
-This encourages the attorney to work VERY HARD in getting your parents benefits.
-It's good to have an attorney help you with this whole process, which
can be complicated.
-In cases like these, it seems that people with no disabilities can
succeed in getting benefits while others who do have a disability can
get denied. With this in mind, since your parents really DO have a
disability, having a lawyer involved would provide greater chance of
success and security and I believe get you the results you are
SSA Disability Planner
If your parents were to be receiving disability benefits when they
reached full retirement age, the benefits would switch to full
If you get an attorney who specializes in this sort of thing, he or
she will be more likely to be able to tell you what can qualify your
parents and what does not, whether they have any chance of qualifying,
or whether one does and the other does not. Cooperation from your
parents' physicians will also be very useful. Generally, someone with
a disability will not be working. This may mean your parents must quit
their jobs and be without a job during the process. Do consult with
your attorney to get further advice on this matter, however.
SSA-- "Do I qualify?"
"If you are working in 2006 and your earnings average more than $860 a
month, you generally cannot be considered disabled. If you are working
in 2007 and your earnings average more than $900 a month, you
generally cannot be considered disabled."
Here is a listing of impairments that qualify for disability benefits:
To file a claim, you have to be either disabled for at least a year or
expect to be disabled for at least a year. You can file a claim the
very day that your parents become disabled. An attorney could tell
you whether it would be better to do one at a time (one working while
the other is not, etc.)
"Social Security Disability
Frequently Asked Questions"
"Unless your disability is catastrophic (such as terminal cancer, a
heart condition so bad that you are on a heart transplant waiting
list, total paralysis of both legs, etc.), there is no easy way for
you to tell whether you will be found disabled by Social Security. In
the end, the decision of whether or not to apply for Social Security
disability benefits should not be based upon whether or not the person
feels that Social Security will find them disabled. Attorneys familiar
with Social Security disability can make predictions about who will
win and who will lose, but even they can seldom be sure. An individual
should make the decision about whether or not to file for Social
Security disability based upon their own belief about their condition.
If the individual feels that he or she is disabled and is not going to
be able to return to work in the near future, the individual should
file for Social Security disability benefits. If denied, the
individual should consult with an attorney familiar with Social
Security disability to get an opinion as to the chances of success on
The fact that your parents have several combinations of illnesses--
heart problems and nausea, etc.-- could be helpful for the case.
"I have several health problems, but no one of them disables me. It is
the combination that disables me. Can I get Social Security disability
Social Security is supposed to consider the combination of impairments
that an individual suffers in determining disability. Many, perhaps
most claimants for Social Security disability benefits have more than
one health problem and the combined effects of all of the health
problems must be considered."
Your parents' age should help them with the application as well. The
SSA examiners realize that it is difficult for a 60-year-old to find a
new type of job.
"Social Security has to consider age, because that is what the Social
Security Act requires. As people get older, they become less
adaptable, less able to switch to different jobs to cope with health
problems. A severe foot injury which might cause a 30- year- old to
switch to a job in which he or she can sit down most of the time,
might disable a 60- year- old person who could not make the adjustment
to a different type of work."
If denied, you will want to appeal the case.
"In almost all cases, individuals who were slow learners in school
fail to mention this fact to Social Security, even though it can have
a good deal to do with whether or not the Social Security disability
claim is approved. Beyond being honest and complete with Social
Security, the most important thing that you can do is just keep
appealing and hire an experienced person to represent you. It is
important to appeal because most claims are denied at the initial
level, but are approved at higher levels of review. It is important to
hire an experienced person to represent you because you do not
understand the way Social Security works. Statistically, claimants who
employ an attorney to represent them are much more likely to win than
those who go unrepresented."
Only about 40% of eventual successful claims are approved at the
initial level. Some say that up to 90% of claims are initially
To find an attorney to represent you, you can call the National
Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives (NOSSCR) to
find someone who specializes in disability claims. Their number is
When the claim is initially denied, you can choose to take it into
reconsideration. 80% of the time, the claim is denied at
reconsideration. The next step is to have a hearing before a judge,
with the claimant, claimant's attorney and often a medical doctor
present. More than half of those who have hearings are approved by
the judge for benefits. If the judge denies the claim, you can appeal
to the Appeals Council within Social Security. If denied by the
Council, the claimant can appeal to the US District Court. The case
can travel all the way to the US Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court
has heard cases on whether to grant disability or not.
If your parents win their claim and then decide to return to work,
full benefits can continue for a year after a return to work. A person
who has to stop work in the next three years after benefits have
stopped can start receiving benefits again without filing another
When benefits are reviewed, they are usually continued and only
stopped if the person's illness has improved.
After your parents have been on disability for two years, they would
qualify for Medicare rather than having to wait until they are 65,
which would help with health care. Also, if they are approved for
disability, they will automatically qualify for Medicaid. This could
be a factor in your decision, since if they work to age 62 and retire
with Social Security benefits, they still would not qualify for
Medicare until age 65. So, they would have health insurance except
for the months/year that they do not receive disability benefits yet.
Here's a very interesting page on the disability process and what you
can expect in hiring an attorney or an advocate:
"Getting Social Security Disability Benefits on the First Try"
Here is a chart which describes the pros and cons of applying for disability:
"To apply for Disability or just keep working?"
That entire page is filled with useful tips and information on the process.
social security disability
disability benefits hiring attorney
social security disability quitting job
If you need any additional clarification, let me know and I'll be glad
to assist you.