Guest Post: Applying For Social Security Benefits for Your Loved One and For Yourself

If you provide ongoing care for a disabled individual, then
you may need to be the one who applies for benefits on his or her behalf. There
are additionally some state and local programs that provide additional benefits
directly to full-time caregivers of the disabled, which means that you may also
be able to receive some financial support yourself for filling the role of
caregiver to another individual.

in which Caregivers May Need to Assist
Any condition that compromises the mental capacity of a
disabled individual may require a caregiver to step in to facilitate the
application process for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.
Parents of minor children with special needs or disabilities
must also apply on behalf of their kids.
If you provide care for a developmentally disabled adult or
adults with Alzheimer’s/Dementia, you may need to initiate and provide support
and guidance throughout the disability application process as well.
A caregiver may need to apply for disability on behalf of
his or her charge in many other instances too, including for coma patients and
for individuals that are in and out of consciousness, for example.

Application Process
When applying for benefits online, you have options
available to describe whom it is that the application is for and who is
completing the application. These options include:
·      Filling
out an application for yourself
·      Filling
out an application for someone else who is with you
·      Filling
out an application for someone else who is not with you

You must indicate that you are completing the application on
behalf of someone else, and if that person is unable to comprehend the process
and sign the application, then there will be additional steps required for
applying for benefits on their behalf. Those details will be covered in the
article section, which follows, on the topic of seeking assistance from an
advocate or attorney.
You can also apply in-person, at your local SSA office on
behalf of the disabled person in your care. However, he or she will still need
to sign the application. Review the next section to know how to handle an
application for SSD benefits, if the person in your care is not mentally

Assistance from an Advocate or Attorney
As the SSA requires the signature of the applicant on the
formal application for SSD benefits, you may need to seek additional legal
assistance in order to act on behalf of an applicant with compromised or
otherwise limited mental capacity.
In other words, if the person for whom you are applying for
benefits is unable to understand the SSD application process and is unable to
sign the application, then you will need to either:
·      Have
the legally designated representative of the disabled individual sign on behalf
of the applicant and submit the associated documentation to the SSA to prove he
or she is legally allowed to do so,
·      Seek
legal help to have a designated representative assigned to handle legal and
medical matters for the person that is in your care, including the formal
disability application process.

a Representative Payee
If the individual is approved to receive SSD benefits, you
may also need to apply to be a representative payee with the SSA.
This simply means that benefit checks will be issued to you
to use for providing the care and support your charge needs. This is a legally
binding relationship that requires you to communicate honestly and openly with
the SSA a minimum of four times per year regarding the manner in which benefit
funds are being spent.
The application is Form SSA-11, and can be found here:
It is important to note however, that in most circumstance, the SSA
requires this application form be completed during an in-person interview
appoint with an SSA representative, typically at your local SSA office.

for Caregiver Benefits
As previously mentioned, there are some local and state
benefit programs available that may provide direct financial and other support
services for you as the caregiver of a disabled person.
These programs are typically administered through the
department of family services in your home state, and may include the
·      Referral
services and other information
·      Assistance
in gaining access to other services
·      Support
groups, training, and individual counseling services
·      Caregiver
respite programs, to give you a break from your role as caregiver
·      Supplemental
supportive care services
·      Income,
usually in the form of Medicaid waiver payments issued to you as the caregiver
of a Medicaid recipient
To know for certain what caregiver benefits may be available
in your area, you must reach out to your local department of family services or
another similar social services agency to make inquiries.

Article by Ram Meyyappan
Social Security Disability Help