THE SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BLOG

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Can my Social Security Disability benefits be garnished or seized to pay my debts?

In most situations involving non-governmental creditors, the answer is NO. Social Security Disability, Supplemental Security Income, Railroad Retirement pensions, Veterans Benefits, and other types of federal benefits are all exempt from the collection efforts of most creditors such as mortgage lenders, auto loans, and credit card companies. Section 207 of the Social Security Act prohibits such creditors from garnishing or seizing your Social Security benefits to satisfy your debts.

The federal government’s ability to protect your benefits ends once the benefits have been paid to you; however, the benefits remain protected as long as they can be identified as federally protected funds. In some situations, problems can arise when a creditor attempts to satisfy a debt by obtaining a court order to seize funds in a bank account that contains both federally protected benefits such as Social Security disability as well as other income and funds. If your bank account contains your Social Security income or other federal benefits, in addition to other income or funds, then you may have difficulty proving the amount of federal funds in the bank account that should be exempt from seizure or garnishment. For this reason, we recommend that clients maintain a separate bank account that is used only for the deposit of your Social Security benefits or other federal benefits in order to ensure that those funds receive maximum protection from creditors. Another way to ensure that your federal benefits are protected from garnishment is to use the Direct Express prepaid debit card on which your Social Security disability and other federal benefits may be deposited.

Although most creditors cannot seize or garnish your Social Security benefits to satisfy your debts, the Federal government can garnish your Social Security benefits under certain circumstances such as to enforce child support or alimony obligations, collect unpaid federal taxes, or to satisfy court-ordered victim restitution.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY QUESTIONS

Q. Can I draw Workers’ Compensation weekly checks and Social Security checks at the same time?

A. Yes, but your Social Security check will be reduced or offset by the amount of your Workers’ Compensation check. Social Security law mandates an offset of disability checks when your combined income totals 80% of more of your pre injury earnings. Federal law requires that you report all income or benefits that you receive while receiving Social Security checks. The offset or reduction in Social Security benefits can be lessened or minimized by careful planning and legal wording in your Workers’ Compensation settlement. You should consult a qualified lawyer to help you maximize your payments from each source.

Q. Why won’t SS pay for my disability without an ALJ Hearing?

A very small number of applicants are awarded benefits in North Carolina before the ALJ hearing. Social Security decisions and opinions prior to the ALJ hearing are generally made by people who have never seen or talked to you. Many SS doctors will give opinions on your physical condition without the benefit of an actual exam. It is extremely important for you to maintain a good relationship with your treating doctor and to fully explain the reasons you are applying for Social Security. If you are persistent and have evidence of your medical disability, you will get the benefits you are entitled to.

Q. Can a child disabled since birth get SS disability benefits even if he has never worked?

A. Yes. If the child is under age eighteen (18) and you are poor enough, he may be able to qualify for SSI child's disability benefits. If the child is over age eighteen (18), he may be able to qualify for SSI disability benefits without regard to your income. If you or your spouse get some kind of Social Security benefit or if your spouse is deceased, your son may be eligible for disabled adult child benefits.

Q. What type of disability is required before I qualify?

You may be eligible for Social Security (SS) if you have mental and/or physical problems severe enough to keep you from working for a period of twelve (12) months or more at a regular paying job you are qualified to do. You must be unable to work at any reasonable job, not just the one you had before your disability. The inability to return to your present job, your age, education and work experience are all factors that SSA will consider.

Q. If I win my SS disability case, how much “back pay” will I get?

A. The exact amount of “back pay” will be determined by which SS program you are eligible for. The two (2) main SS disability programs are SSD and SSI. For SSD (benefits based on the taxes you paid in), benefits can’t be paid for more that one (1) year prior to the month your claim was filed. The first five (5) months of that period are withheld as a waiting period. For SSI benefits based on financial need, the “back pay” will begin on the date you filed for disability. While getting SS approval may actually take a few years, the “back pay” will be retroactive to these dates.

Q. What if my disability is caused by drugs and/or alcohol?

A. Congress has passed legislation that severely limits the receipt of Social Security (SS) benefits if your substance abuse problems contribute to your disability. While the current law is very unfavorable to these types of claims, careful analysis by an experienced lawyer may help you find other grounds that are legitimate reasons to qualify for SS benefits.

SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY VIDEOS

Our Video Library is not closed-captioned.  Instead of embedding our videos, we have created posts for them, where full transcripts of can be found. Click on the links below to view the video and its transcript.

Social Security Detail

Social Security – Detail

Social Security part 4

Social Security Part 4

Social Security part 3

Social Security Part 3

Social Security part 2

Social Security Part 2

Social Security part 1

Social Security Part 1

Rules Regarding Social Security Disability and Your Employment

Rules Regarding Social Security Disability and Your Employment

Social Security Hearing Timeframe

Resolution of Social Security Disability Cases: A Timeframe Overview

Contemporaneous Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability Claims

Contemporaneous Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability Benefit

Working While on Social Security

Social Security Disability and Your Employment

Appealing Social Security Denials

Appealing the Denial of Your Social Security Disability Claim

Work History Requirements

Work History Requirements for Social Security Disability

Drug and Alcohol Dependency and Social Security Disability

Drug and Alcohol Dependency and Social Security Disability

Child Eligibility for Social Security

Child Eligibility for Social Security Benefits and Social Security Insurance

The Administrative Law Judge’s Role in Social Security Disability

The Administrative Law Judge’s Role in the Social Security Appellate Hearing

Compassionate North Carolina Social Security Disability Lawyer

David Gantt describes his History in Helping People with Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability Cases

~ What Our Clients Say ~

2019 Google Review

August 7, 2019

The entire staff were welcoming, knowledgeable, helpful, and nice people! David was professional. He knew exactly what he was talking about and did what he said he was going to do. I have had a wonderful experience with this firm and will not hesitate to use them in the future.

2019 AVVO Review “Get ‘er done Gantt!”

July 10, 2019

I was very satisfied with David Gantt’s expertise and knowledge in all aspects handling my case. He dealt with all the paperwork and contacted all necessary providers to get my medical history – it was extremely hassle free! He communicated and counseled me on what to expect – being very forthcoming (he’s a straight shooter)!…

2019 Facebook review

June 5, 2019

I highly recommend Mr. Gantt. He is very kind and always professional. He prepared me for my disability hearing and calmed my nerves. Everything happened exactly as he said it would. I honestly do not think that I would have been approved for disability without his help. Also, his office staff were always ready to…

2019 Google Review

May 28, 2019

Mr. Gantt took good care of me. I will be forever grateful for him getting me the social security payments I need for a disability due to military service. He seems like a genuine compassionate good man. I highly recommend! ~C.M.

2019 Google Review

May 10, 2019

David and his entire staff are so nice and show compassion to everybody. He was there when I had any questions. David Gantt is the best attorney in his field, he goes above and beyond. I am extremely grateful to him and his staff. ~M.H.

2019 Google Review

May 9, 2019

Very nice and friendly service. They always answered any of my questions. Had a great experience working with them on my disability case. I highly recommend there services! After trying for 6 years and 2 unfavorable decisions, David and his team did a great job representing my case and won. I appreciate there time and…

2019 Google Review

May 9, 2019

The whole office is very respectful. Answered all my questions. So Glad they were there cause I had no clue after fighting for 2 years. Thank you guys soo much. ~K.H.

2019 Google Review

May 9, 2019

I am very grateful to David Gantt & his staff! They were wonderful and made the confusing process much easier to understand. I wish I had contacted them sooner. They were super to work with and such nice people! Thank you so much! ~K.S.

Avvo Review 2019

May 7, 2019

Mr. Gantt is a highly compassionate and professional lawyer. He worked hard for me to show my disabilities. Always pleasant and supportive, while being very much on top of his cases. I recommend David Gantt to anyone. Great Attorney! 5 Stars. ~ Dakota

Google Review 2019

April 10, 2019

Wonderful client services..very friendly and willing to go the extra mile to help clients. highly recommend him for anyone needing assistance for the Disability SSI. ~T.D.

2019 Google Review

April 9, 2019

I am so grateful to Mr. Gantt & his staff. They have been so professional and knowledgeable. They’ve answered all of my questions and made a very stressful situation, bearable. I would not hesitate to recommend Mr. Gantt. He is knowledgeable, professional & caring. ~J.H.

Avvo Review 2019

April 8, 2019

Linda Calloway Mundy David Gantt is an outstanding Lawyer. I highly recommend him. He was beside me all the way and I would like to thank him. ~Linda 5 Stars

2019 Google Review

March 9, 2019

David Gantt and his staff are very professional, upfront, honest and nice. They made me feel at ease discussing my case. They helped me with every step of the way towards my disability approval. I would recommend them to anyone. They kept me updated on everything. Just wish I had contacted them sooner. ~D.P.S.

2019 Google Review

February 10, 2019

When I applied for Social Security Disability I saw no reason that I would need a lawyer since my case seemed clear. It wasn’t until the second rejection that I realized that I had no idea how the system worked. A couple of local lawyers I had contacted suggested that I talked to David Gantt…

2019 Google Review

February 10, 2019

This office is fantastic. The staff is helpful and friendly. He is honest with you about the pros and cons of your case. He works hard to get a positive result. ~S.G.

Martindale Review 2019

January 21, 2019

5.0/5.0 in Social Security. David was very professional, pleasant and focused on me and my situation while I was in his office. He did not allow interruptions. His office staff was helpful and readily available when I had questions.

Martindale Review 2018

October 8, 2018

Recommended 5.0/5.0 in Social Security. I highly recommended David Gantt. He is a kind and generous person. He puts you at ease from the minute that you meat him. Very efficient and does what he says he’ll do. His staff is awesome too. Trust me… You can’t go wrong with David Gantt.