Is There Anything Else I Can Do?

Apr 7 2017 - 6:15am

Hi Larry, My brother became disabled at 40 yrs. old due to a brain tumor. He was immediately declared disabled and began receiving benefits but not the SSDI part because we were told he didn't have enough earnings credits. He had become self employed in last few years, not working much due to the symptoms he was having. We had a hearing with a law judge who told me to check on his tax returns, make sure he had filed every year, make amendments, etc. I did all the above based on the files and information I could find and my brothers memory. I ended up having to amend 2012 return to add a holiday job he had done and was payed cash for (I verified this with the man he did the work for, and also my mom's recollection). This amendment wasn't done until about a month past the 3 yr, 3 month deadline. However, I see several places on the SSA website where there are exceptions to the deadline, one specifically being that earnings could be added after the deadline if the person had already applied for benefits before the deadline. Our local field office is refusing to add these earnings to his record, with the only explanation being that he does not meet the requirements. I believe this is wrong, based in part on the field office rep telling me to amend the return even knowing it could not be done before the deadline. I don't seem to be able to get any help with this so far. I contacted the regional office after the field office supervisor told me he was NOT going to chase a rabbit down a hole for me. I finally called regional back again after several weeks and was told the field office was waiting for me to bring tax return and cancelled check to them, although they never told me that. I took it there and within 3-4 days a letter was sent to my brother stating they would not add the earnings because he did not meet requirements, nothing else, no other instructions or anything. My friend told me to file a request for reconsideration. This will no doubt take a lot longer. I've been dealing with the matter for over 2 years now. Is there anything else I can do?? I've been in touch with the liaison and she says what I provided, which is what the regional person said the field office was waiting for, was not sufficient and they have requested something from IRS. Will these earnings show up on IRS? I verified that the returns were received and he was sent a bill stating the adjustments had been accepted and made but will the earnings have been added with the IRS? I can't get a straight answer from anybody. I truly think the field office made this decision because I went over their heads after they were so rude to me. I only did so after many months of them not taking my calls and not returning my messages. I thought they work for the people??

Hi,

I'm sorry to hear about all of the problems you've been experiencing.

I don't know all of the details of your brother's case, so I really can't give you reliable advice. You will probably want to pursue the appeals process, however, since that may be the only means of obtaining a favorable outcome on his case. For more information on the appeals process, refer to this Social Security publication: https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10041.pdf.

Social Security generally accepts the IRS's decision on whether or not exceptions to the Statute of Limitations are met (https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0302201019). If the IRS accepts the additional self-employment taxes paid on your brother's amended tax return, and if those additional earnings are high enough to make him insured for disability benefits (https://www.ssa.gov/OACT/ProgData/insured.html), then there may be hope for a successful appeal.

Best, Jerry