published Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

Coffey: Electronic payments avoid storm interruptions

Q: What should I do if I'm expecting my check and some natural disaster disrupts the mail?

A: To avoid this situation altogether, get your payments sent electronically. Direct Deposit and Direct Express are the fast, easy and secure ways to receive your benefit payment. For more information, see

Q: What is the "definition of disability" for children filing for Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

A: A child is disabled if he or she:

  • Has a physical or mental condition (or a combination of conditions) that results in "marked and severe functional limitations." This means that the condition very seriously limits the child's activities; and

  • The condition has lasted, or is expected to last, at least one year or is expected to result in death; and

  • Is not working at a job that we consider to be substantial work.

To determine whether your child meets the definition of disability, we look at medical and other information (such as information from schools and from you) about the child's condition. We also consider how the condition affects the child's daily activities. We consider: what activities is your child not able to do, or is limited in doing; the type of extra help and how much extra help your child needs to perform age-appropriate activities 3/4 for example, special classes at school, medical equipment; and whether the treatment interferes with your child's day-to-day activities.

Remember that SSI is a needs-based program where family income and resources also play a role in determining eligibility for benefits. For more information, read Benefits For Children With Disabilities at

Submit questions to local Social Security Director Martin Coffey by writing to Business Editor Dave Flessner, Chattanooga Times Free Press, P.O. Box 1447, Chattanooga, TN 37401-1447, or by emailing him at

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