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Last Update : 06-29-2012 

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Social Security Question:

I am a 72 year old Psychologist still working full time in practice. I receive social security benefits (since I was 66).



Social Security Answer:

I am a 72 year old Psychologist still working full time in practice. I receive social security benefits (since I was 66). My wife Jan is 60 years old and a clinical social worker. After we married in 1985, we worked together in a counseling practice doing business as The Dallas Center For Counseling and Human Development. Our CPA at the time filed a joint tax return for us... and showed all income from our client work as my income for social security purposes (If I am stating this correctly.) In about 1999 Jan decided to leave her practice and go back to school in environmental sciences for a Ph.D. She suffered a head injury in 2002 which set off a series of medical problems which have gradually been very disabling. After some 8 years of a nightmarish medical odyssey, including trips to Mayo Clinc she has a diagnosis of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome along with repercussions from the head injury which may have occurred because of the EDS. She is virtually totally disabled and we are right now trying to file for disability. In the course of all this, in about 2005, Jan discovered that her Social Security statement showed that she had no income since 1985, all of her earnings having been registered as my income.... and this was VERY disturbing to her. She believes that Social Security at one time sent her a notice that she did not qualify for Social Security and would at 65 receive nothing. Consequently, in 2006 she asked our new CPA if we could begin showing a portion of my income as applying to her and beginning in 2006 our tax return showed that 20 percent of my income from clients was applied as her income. The CPA stated that this was legal and legitimate since The Dallas Center is "our" business. Currently Social Security statements to Jan (beginning in 2009...the only one we have) show that Jan DOES qualify and will receive benefits when she is 66. Facing the fact that Jan is now totally disabled... barely able to be out of bed for more than a few hours and the possible wisdom of filing for disability, we in 2010 ceased showing any of my income as Jan's so as to better position her for a disability application. WHEW....I regret the seeming complexity of this situation, but..... Here are the most pressing questions that we are having a deuce of a hard time resolving in discussions with anyone: 1. Should I die, will Jan receive 100 percent of my current social security payment regardless of her status? 2. Was there ever any reason for Jan to be alarmed about her reported income (or lask thereof) for Social Security purposes? 3. Did our CPA err beginning in 1985/6 in NOT distinguishing Jan's client fees from mine and thereby adding to her pay-in to Social Security. IF so...is it possible and advisable to try to amend those returns, if in fact such amending of returns is even possible and recoup the income that Jan actually earned...which was substantial during the years of 1986 to about 2000. 4. Was it in fact legal for our current CPA (a fairly respected retired accountant from a large firm here in Dallas) to show 20 percent of my current income as Jan's even though she was not in fact working to any degree and beginning in about 2006 was not able to work at all? 5. Since during the years of approximately 2000 to 2005, Jan saw a very small stream of clients (only some 2 to 3 per week) and thus provided a small income, is it possible to somehow establish this fact if it necessary to satisfy the very confusing qualifications for the Disability application which seems to require that we show that Jan has worked a certain number of years leading up to the disability? If we need to pay you a larger fee or schedule a phone call, I would be glad to do so should you feel that you can help us with our situation. So far, neither our CPA nor the law firm we have engaged for the Disability application seem to be able to clarify matters. Thanks for you help...


Support Replied ~ 06-30-2012 11:01:36

Dear Stephen: Hope I answered your question successfully...Give me a call or write again if you need further assistance......Carol

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"Social Security Advisor" is intended to provide accurate and authoritative information with regard to the subject matter covered. It is offered with the understanding that neither the publisher nor the author is engaged in rendering legal, accounting, investment or other professional advice or services.

Information obtained from RetirementCommunity.com, including e-mail responses from "Social Security Advisor" should be considered as general educational information. You must never rely upon the advice given here. Your individual situation may not fit the generalizations discussed. Only your local Social Security office can evaluate your individual situation and give you advice.


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In the news: Read Carols comments in this BankRate.com Social Security article


Thank you so much. The amount of infomation you provided on our call went a long way in helping to resolve the issues I had with the social security rep I was working with.
Tom F. 08-18-2017


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