Ask a Lawyer: Disabled and under reporting at Social Security

Question:

I have been approved for SSDI medically but just got declined because SS says I don’t have enough quarters reported in the last ten years. I have been involved in running, managing or contributing to the practice for over 12 years…2 year of which I worked full time in the business office as manager until I became disabled. All those years we reported all the income under her (thinking it was like taking money from one pocket and putting it into the other pocket and that the government was still receiving the same total amount in taxes, soc security, etc). Now I find out that I don’t have enough quarters reported under my name to get disability benefits even though we both worked the practice. Also, my retirement benefit from soc security is about a third of what hers is. Is there any thing I can do to get proper credit with social security? Any other legal options in our divorce settlement?

Answer:

Allow me to preface my answer to your question with the disclaimer that I am not licensed to practice law in the state of Florida. How long have you been married? Generally once you have been married for 10 years you have the right to elect to receive your spousal benefit in lieu of your own retirement, upon divorce. Please verify that information with Social Security. Otherwise, I do not think you have any other options as you are bound by the tax returns that you and your wife signed under oath. As I said above, I suggest you speak to social security regarding your ability to receive an benefits accummulated on your wife’s behalf. This does not take away from her ability to collect her benefit.
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