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While the SSA will make a special case in which primary caregivers can apply for Social Security Disability Benefits on the behalf of someone who has been medically declared mentally unfit to file himself, the applicant must be the person primarily responsible for the care of the beneficiary. Power of attorney designation holds no weight in this matter, and ultimately, if there’s any chance the person with the disability can sign the necessary documents, that’s what the SSA would prefer.
There are many factors the SSA will examine when determining if someone possesses the mental capabilities to file for disability benefits. Decision makers will look at the person’s ability to reason, if his or her judgment is impaired along with the ability to communicate. And if caregivers state that the mentally impaired individual has given them permission to apply, the SSA will deem that individual capable of applying and signing the documents – at least with the assistance of the caregiver.
To apply on another’s behalf, caregivers must submit a statement to the SSA notifying them of their relationship with the applicant and that they are currently caring for this individual in their home. The SSA will then send the proper paperwork to the applicant’s healthcare provider to verify that he or she is unable to understand the process. If the healthcare provider believes the applicant is mentally capable, then the caregiver will have ten days to appeal this decision.
Once the SSA has received the proper verification, the caregiver will then begin the process of obtaining benefits. The caregiver will need to have been very involved in and knowledgeable about the applicant’s medical care, including diagnoses, prognoses, any medications/treatments that have been prescribed and especially how the day-to-day effects of this condition render the individual unable to work.
If you believe you or a loved one may be eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits, contact the expert staff of Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, for a free, confidential first meeting by calling toll-free 1.877.526.3457 or filling out our online contact form.
Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law