Couples Consider Divorce to Obtain Benefits for Disabled Child

Q: Should I divorce to get disability benefits for my child?

Qualifying for disability benefits in Arizona is a very confusing process.

That’s why many people choose to hire a skilled Social Security disability benefits attorney to help them navigate the process.

In order to qualify for disability benefits, and an applicant must satisfy the government’s definition of “disabled”. The Social Security Administration requires the individual to suffer from a physical or mental impairment that prevents engaging in substantial gainful activities and that has lasted or is expected to last, for 12 months or more or result in death.

There are two federal disability benefits programs and people may qualify for one, the other, both, or neither. If an initial application for benefits is not granted, applicants can appeal a denial of benefits, but the process and backlog is complicated and time-consuming. Appeals are taking up to two years for a hearing date.

Social Security disability benefits (“SSDI”) may be awarded to those who, prior to becoming disabled, were employed and paid into the social security system through payroll deductions for the requisite number of work credits and years. SSDI is merit based and awarded based on these work credits regardless of the applicant’s financial situation. But Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) benefits are different– – it is only available to qualified disabled people with extremely limited financial resources.

Sadly, some couples with disabled children who have been denied disability benefits because they earn too much to qualify are considering getting divorce – – not because the legitimate stress of caring for their disabled child may have taken a toll on their marriage, but because they believe it may be the only way to obtain needed benefits for their disabled child.

Some couples divorce, others leave jobs or move to another state, and others divest assets or impoverish themselves to qualify for aid. As state laws differ, divorcing for this purpose may cause a couple legal trouble. Seeking the guidance of a skilled disability benefits attorney prior to taking such drastic action is encouraged.

If you are disabled, or have a disabled child, and need assistance applying for disability benefits or appealing a denial of benefits, the disability attorneys of Arizona at Roeschke Law can help you apply for the appropriate benefits, appeal a denial, and navigate the bureaucracy. Contact us today to request a free consultation.

With offices in Phoenix, Tucson, and Tempe, we represent clients throughout Arizona.