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Tucson Social Security Disability Blog

Why Does Social Security Want My Old Pay Stubs?

Posted by John Kuhnlein | Jun 01, 2017 | 0 Comments

Keep Good Records

Twice in the past few weeks, clients have called after Social Security sent them requests for their old payroll records.  Naturally, this development caused these clients some confusion. These are clients whom Social Security has approved for benefits. So why does Social Security care about what money they earned while they were working?

SSI And Past Earnings

The short answer is that Social Security is considering whether these people qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).  As noted elsewhere in this blog, SSI has additional requirements beyond being disabled. To get SSI benefits, an applicant must show that she has few enough resources to qualify.  These resources include most things of value, particularly income. 

Dollar For Dollar Reduction In Benefits

The reason that Social Security might ask you about old pay stubs is that they are examining periods of time in your past to see if you qualified for SSI during those times.  Most disability awards include some back benefits covering years gone by.  If you had earnings during those past years, Social Security will factor that into what SSI back benefits you are due. Note that this is also true of any earnings by your spouse during that time.  Social Security will generally reduce your SSI benefits dollar for dollar by any income you had.  Given that SSI monthly benefits are currently $735 per month, it would not take much in wages to reduce that amount to zero.

Tax Returns May Be An Acceptable Substitute

One good lesson to take from this is to be sure to keep your old payroll records if you are applying for Social Security disability.  If

So, That's Why I Filed My Returns

you don't have actual pay stubs, you might be able to get by with tax returns or other evidence of what your earnings were. Pay stubs are best, however, if your income varied month to month. The more information you can provide, the more accurately Social Security can calculate your back benefits. 

As always, I welcome your questions and comments about this or anything else.

About the Author

John Kuhnlein

Since 1992, I have been helping the people of Southern Arizona get the benefits they are due. Before devoting all my efforts to assisting people with Social Security disability claims, I also handled such complex lawsuits as medical malpractice and products liability. I brought to my Social Security cases all the skills and attention to detail that I developed in the courtroom. I approach each Social Security disability case as if it were a million-dollar lawsuit. For the people trying to get Social Security benefits, their claim is every bit as important. Because I have personally handled so many Social Security cases, I have refined the skills I need to win your case for you. I have helped people win cases for every kind of ailment from arthritis to valley fever. At present, I am focused on helping those persons with neurological and orthopedic disorders. Because claims for people over age fifty bring additional complications, I particularly seek out those cases to work on. I regularly write about back and spine conditions on my blog. I actively seek out the latest information about orthopedic and neurological disorders to ensure I can represent my clients as effectively as possible. Because of my current focus, I regret that I am not able to take any cases for mental disorders. If you are over age fifty and suffer from any orthopedic or neurological disorder, please contact me at once.


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John Kuhnlein has been assisting people with Social Security disability claims for the past 25+ years.

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Feel free to call with any questions or concerns you have about Social Security disability. I never charge for a consultation. In fact, there is no charge at all until we win your case. Unlike most lawyers, I never charge extra for things like telephone calls or making copies.