Should a Stay at Home Mom earn Social Security Disability Benefits?

I came across an article a few weeks ago related to poverty that caught my attention. In turn a reader wrote in a response to the editorial that brought up a point about whether stay at home moms should be eligible to “earn” credits within the SSD “bank”.

Here are some of the highlights from the editorial:

Every now and then, Americans stop to ponder some vexing questions: Who are these poor people? How did we get so many of them? One occasion came five years ago, when Hurricane Katrina swamped New Orleans and the world looked on in horror at all the poor left behind. That compelled bout — of curiosity — lasted about five minutes. The nation wondered again last week, when new census data showed one in seven Americans lived in poverty last year, the highest rate since the 1960s. The numbers instantly pushed the Washington policy debate, though perhaps not in ways the poor might have imagined. The Census Bureau figures showed that our economic well-being declined in important ways in 2009, as the nation continued to climb out of a recession that began at the end of 2007. The poverty rate rose to 14.3 percent, to nearly 44 million people. The rate was 13.2 percent, or 39.8 million people, in 2008. As the jobless rate swelled to over 10 percent in 2009, the number of Americans without health insurance soared as well. While Congress debated the merits of national health insurance last year, 50.7 million Americans lacked coverage, or 16.7 percent, up from 15.4 percent in 2008. With so many Americans out of work, underemployed and lacking insurance, the road to poverty was hardly circuitous .

In response to this editorial the reader had this to say.

“It is gratifying that poverty has become major news. We will now get our 15 minutes of fame before the topic switches back to the middle class and their problems. Don’t get me wrong. I have the greatest respect for those who work hard and achieve the American dream. But we have been ignored for so long that it makes us feel better knowing that we are not invisible to other Americans. But, as usual, the disabled and the elderly didn’t even get a whole sentence in this long editorial, just something about raising Social Security payments.

I worked most of my life at minimum wage or a bit above. I took five years off work to raise each of my children to school age and I do not regret that. When I became disabled four years ago, at the age of 56, I discovered that I did not have enough “points” for Social Security Disability (SSD). I now receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), $697 a month. The “increased Social Security payments” for me meant about $35 a month in January 2009. I have no idea what people on Social Security or SSD who worked minimum wage are getting, but I suspect it’s not much better. Gandhi said that poverty is the worst form of violence. How true.”

The reader brought up a good point and one that there isn’t a great answer to or for.  It is sad that homemakers, given the importance of their role in society, are not somehow given employment credits, because what the author says is true. While raising children, she was not earning points each quarter for her social security “bank” so to speak, and when she became disabled, she could only qualify for SSI, the safety net. Further complicating the receipt of SSI is the household income limitation that does not pertain to SSD. In a perfect world it would be great if hard working homemakers could receive social security credit for working in the home. This, however is doubtful given the current financial problems with the national debt and the ongoing concern regarding solvency of the Social Security system.

Art Stevens, Oregon Social Security Attorney, has represented hundreds of Oregonians whose claims have been denied or improperly processed. He also has a prolific Social Security Disability practice involving extensive agency and Federal Court work.  If you are considering filing or appealing a Social Security Disability Insurance Benefit or Supplemental Security Income claim, we can help. Our office knows exactly what can delay your claim, and we’re fully aware of the information that the Social Security Administration officials need. If you have questions regarding Social Security law, contact the Social Security Disability attorneys at Black Chapman Petersen & Stevens. We offer free initial consultations, are conveniently located with offices throughout Southern Oregon and Northern California. We look forward to serving you.

Memberships: Oregon State Bar, Oregon Trial Lawyers Association (OTLA), Oregon Workers’ Compensation Attorneys (OWCA), National Organization of Social Security Claimant’s Representatives (NOSSCR). All Oregon State Courts, Federal District Court for the District of Oregon, United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, Supreme Court of the United States of America.