How Do the Holidays Affect My Claim?

The holiday season is often a joyful time spent with friends and family. However, if you’re in the process of applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you might be wondering how the holidays could affect your claim. We understand your concerns and are here to address some commonly asked questions related to the holiday season.

Holiday Office Closures

Social Security will be closed on federal holidays, such as Christmas and New Year’s Day.  While these two one-day closures are unlikely to significantly impact your claim’s timeline, it’s essential to plan accordingly.

Gift Cards and Income

Receiving gift cards during the holidays is a common tradition, but for individuals applying for or receiving disability benefits, there may be concerns about how gift cards affect eligibility.  Your receipt of gift cards or cash will have no effect on claims for disability insurance benefits (also known by acronyms of DIB, SSD, and SSDI, which are based on your work history/tax contributions). 

For Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims, however, such gifts may affect one’s eligibility in the month received as income or, if saved, in future months as “resources.”

Social Security typically counts gift cards as income only if they can be used to purchase food or shelter or if they can be resold.  Guidance to Social Security claims representatives states, “Absent evidence to the contrary, presume a gift card or certificate can be resold.”  Evidence to the contrary would include an issuer’s prohibition on resale.  Social Security will exclude the first $60 from the total of a gift card or cash gift, assuming that it is “infrequent” and “irregular.”  Any amount over $60.00 is counted as unearned income in the month received and reduces the SSI benefit in that month.

If the gift card or cash gift is saved into future months, the value will be counted as a “resource.”  The resource limit in a given month is $2,000 of countable resources for an individual and $3,000 for a married couple.  So, for example, assume an individual has $1,600 saved in the bank (or under their mattress) in December, and they received a $500 by cash or gift card at Christmas, and they saved these newly acquired funds.  That individual would then have $2,100 the following month and be disqualified from SSI for that month and continuing until there was a change that reduced the resource total to less than $2,000.

Expedited Approvals for the Holidays

It’s not uncommon that claimants hope for an expedited approval of their disability claims, especially during the holiday season when financial pressures may be higher. However, there is no specific accelerated program that results in faster approval of disability benefits in time for the holidays.

At Roose & Ressler, we understand the urgency of your situation, and we’ll work diligently to help you navigate the disability process as efficiently as possible. While there are no guarantees of receiving benefits before the holidays, our team can guide you through the process and explore all available options to help secure the financial support you need. For tips on streamlining your social security claim for success, visit our blog post.

The holiday season is a time for celebration, but it can also bring about concerns for those pursuing disability benefits. While the holidays may impact your disability claim to some extent, you can rest assured that Roose & Ressler will provide you with the support and guidance you need.

The Roose & Ressler Team is located in Lorain, Toledo, and Wooster, Ohio. You can count on us as your local disability specialist to analyze your case thoroughly to determine what is necessary for you to receive benefits. We assess the best methods on how to prove the crucial facts of your case and gather the necessary evidence. Having 40+ years of experience serving Northern Ohioans, we know the ins and outs of the local disability process.

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Social Security Disability

For something this important, trust the team that knows.

We know our way around the process. We know what works and what doesn’t. We know specifically how to handle cases in northern Ohio and have four locations to serve you.

Hiring Roose & Ressler can alleviate the feeling of being alone throughout the process. We act as your point person and will be here to answer all your questions. We’ll make sure you meet the necessary deadlines and requirements for the appeals process.

If you’re ready to get started, call us for a free consultation.