Can a Tax Refund Affect SSI Eligibility?

by Clauson on May 9, 2018

If you are receiving supplemental security income from the Social Security Administration, your SSI is evaluated every month to determine if you are still eligible to receive SSI. Although receiving a state or federal tax refund usually doesn’t interfere with your SSI, the rules governing tax refunds and SSI are somewhat complicated.

Tax Refund and SSI

When Does a Tax Refund Affect Supplemental Security Income Payments?

Advanced tax credits and state and federal tax refunds do not need to be included in an SSI recipient’s resource limit. However, if the refund has not been spent within one year of receiving it and the SSI recipient goes over their allowable resources amount, they could lose part or all of their benefits. Additionally, refunds from child tax credits or earned income tax credits are exempt from mandated reporting for nine months after receiving the refunds.

Other types of income that the SSI program does not consider “true” income includes:

  • Assistance for food through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
  • Home energy assistance
  • Small amounts of money that are infrequently or irregularly received
  • Scholarships, grants or gifts meant to pay for educational expenses and tuition
  • Loans that require repayment
  • Earnings up to $7350 a year ($1820 a month) for students under 22 years of age

Tax Refunds and SSI Overpayments

The Social Security Administration considers an overpayment to be a monthly payment a recipient should not have been paid because they earned a certain amount of income for that month. If an SSI recipient does not spend a tax refund for one year and receives a regular SSI payment, the SSA may consider that payment an overpayment and expect it to be repaid. Other causes of overpayments include unreported changes in income due to marital or living status changes that exceed the SSI income limit, neglecting to report changes in a timely manner and mistakes made by the SSA.

To ensure you do not receive overpayments that must be repaid due to a tax refund, consult with a supplemental security income lawyer who is knowledgeable about complicated SSI guidelines.


Child with ADHD

The Social Security Administration modified its listing of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) from a separate disorder to a neurodevelopmental disorder. This change encompasses a wider variety of medical conditions to facilitate receiving SSI disability benefits. In addition, the SSA has rewritten its description of ADHD symptoms that parents must prove through doctor reports and other documentation:

  • Impulsive, hyperactive behavior (inability to remain seated, talking excessively)
  • Difficulty focusing on and organizing tasks, extreme procrastination regarding completion of tasks
  • Recurring vocalizations or motor movements (rocking back and forth, repeating words and phrases, flapping arms)

Parents must also prove that a child’s ADHD/ADD imparts severe limitations in several functional areas. Some of these include interacting with people/peers, controlling behaviors, making reasonable decisions and remembering/learning information.

How Should a Parent Document Their Child’s ADHD?

To expedite SSI disability benefits for a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, parents need to submit results of psychological tests, academic reports detailing an ADHD child’s behavior/learning issues in school and physical exams if they provide supportive information of the diagnosis. Each document must include full names, contact information and addresses if a doctor, therapist or other health professional has supplied the document to the parent. Clinical documents detailing how a child’s ADHD disability has worsened over time are also helpful.

Applying for ADHD Disability Benefits

Making an appointment at your local Social Security Administration Office is recommended if you are not using an SSI attorney to handle your case. Parents applying for a child’s ADHD disability should be aware that SSA considers household resources and income when making a decision about SSI disability benefits for children. In addition, the child’s ADHD must have been ongoing for 12 months or more or is expected to interfere with a child’s ability to function normally for at least one year.

Most disability claims are initially denied, but parents have the right to appeal their application. To reduce the chance of being denied, parents of an ADHD child should consider hiring an experienced SSI lawyer who knows how to satisfy particular SSA requirements. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation with an SSI disability benefits lawyer.


The Social Security Administration adheres to the diagnostic criteria established by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control regarding chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Anyone applying for social security disability benefits for chronic fatigue syndrome must prove they have suffered at least four of these six symptoms:

  • Recurring/persistent sore throat
  • Atypical/chronic headaches
  • Muscle/joint pain
  • Extreme deficits in concentration and memory
  • Tender/inflamed lymph nodes
  • Extreme fatigue/illness following physical activity that lasts at least 24 hours

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

In addition, applicants will need to show they have been thoroughly examined and tested to rule out other causes of their symptoms upon submitting paperwork for their CFS disability case.

What Is the Application Process for Social Security Disability Benefits for CFS?

In addition to all doctors’ reports, test results and other clinically pertinent information, the SSA needs documentation of descriptions of functional limitations that applicants and their physicians have noted from the time an applicant first began having symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome. Examples of functions the SSA deems as mental or work-related include the ability to walk, stand, lift, remembering and carrying out instructions and using appropriate judgment when making decisions.

Nearly 90 percent of successful CFS disability cases result with applicants being awarded monthly benefits according to SSA’s “medical-vocational allowance” guidelines. This allowance considers an applicant’s age, work history, education level and their residual functional capacity when determining if the applicant can work full time. RFCs are descriptions of an applicant’s maximum mental and physical abilities despite their other impairments.

What Is a Medically Determinable Impairment?

Social Security Ruling 14-1p states that while chronic fatigue syndrome can be disabling, it must be proven to be a medically determinable impairment (MDR) using laboratory findings or other medical tests. The SSA also accepts the following to establish an MDR:

  • Elevated antibodies in the bloodstream indicating Epstein-Barr virus
  • Abnormal brain scans
  • Results of psychological tests
  • Tests showing hypotension (neurally mediated)

Applicants seeking social security disability benefits for chronic fatigue syndrome will also need to provide enough third-party, subjective and clinical reports clearly outlining the extent and prolonged existence of CFS symptoms.

CFS is one of the more difficult disabilities to get approved by the SSA. Legal assistance can significantly improve the chance your CFS disability case is accepted. Contact an SSI lawyer today for help with your case.


Sleep apnea affects more than 200,000 people in the United States per year. It is a serious sleeping disorder than affects your breathing while you are asleep. You can get disability benefits for sleep apnea, but check with your physician to get medically tested before you try applying for the disability assistance.

Disability Benefits for Sleep Apnea

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnea is a sleeping disorder that interrupts a person’s breathing during sleep. Usually, they stop breathing multiple times during sleep, meaning the brain and the rest of the body is not getting enough oxygen. There are two types of sleep apnea:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): This sleep apnea is generated by something blocking the airway, usually the soft tissue in the back of the throat. It is the more common of the two types of sleep apnea.
  • Central Sleep Apnea: This sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to tell the muscles to breathe.

Adults age 40 and over typically have a higher chance of getting sleep apnea. Some symptoms of sleep apnea are disturbed sleep, excessive sleepiness during the day, high blood pressure, heart attacks, congestive heart failure, cardiac arrhythmia, strokes and depression.

A popular treatment for sleep apnea is a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine. Whether you have a mild or severe case of sleep apnea, you should go to your physician to get a medical diagnosis, which often includes a sleep test (where you will stay overnight at a sleep center) and to find out about other treatments.

Does Sleep Apnea Qualify for Disability Benefits?

According to the Social Security’s Office’s Listing of Impairments, sleep apnea is covered in section 3.10 titled “Sleep Related Breathing Disorders.” They are also covered in section 12.02, which deals with mental illnesses. You can quality for ss benefits if your pulmonary artery pressure is greater than 40 mm Hg. Go to your local physician and have your blood pressure checked. Blood pressure is often affected by sleep apnea. You can also qualify if you have chronic pulmonary disease. Again, your physician can test you for that. Section 12.02 also covers the emotional and psychological effects of sleep apnea, including memory loss, disorientation and changes in personality and mood. You can see the full catalog of impairments the Social Security Office covers on the official Social Security Administration website.

How Do I Qualify?

You have three options to see if you qualify for ss benefits:

  • Call the Social Security Office. Their phone number is 1-800-772 1213.
  • Apply online at
  • Visit your local Social Security Office and physically fill out the paperwork. An appointment is required. You can visit to find the nearest office.
  • Seek the help of an experienced disability attorney to guide you through the application so that you have the highest possibility of your application being accepted.

You will get a decision to see if you quality for ss benefits within three to five months. If they reject your application, you have a couple options. You can appeal the denial, which can be a lengthy process, but it will be worth it in the end. Do not try to re-apply because there is a good chance that you will be rejected again. You can also seek out legal help. Hiring a Social Security Disability attorney can help your case during both the application and the appeal process.

If you think you have sleep apnea, go to your physician immediately. Sleep apnea is covered by the Social Security Office and you can get benefits. If the application process seems overwhelming and you’re not sure how to prove your sleep apnea, contact us at Clauson Law Office today.


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