R, a self-employed painter, became disabled for any substantial gainful work on November 15, 1960, when he was 26 years old. In a letter received in a Social Security Administration district office on March 3, 1961, R inquired how he could qualify for disability insurance benefits. On May 4, 1961, he filed the prescribed application form for claiming disability insurance benefits. To meet the disability insured status requirement set out in section 223(c)(1)(B) of the Social Security Act, R must have 20 quarters of coverage during a 10-year period ending in or after the quarter in which his disability began, that is, the last quarter of 1960. His earnings record showed a total of only 16 quarters of coverage, all based on self-employment income for 1956, 1958, 1959, and 1960, with no entry for 1957. While his claim was pending decision, R stated that he had been self-employed in 1957 and submitted evidence (in May 1961) which established that he had net earnings of $1,500 from self-employment in that year. He explained that he had not previously filed a tax return for 1957 because he had no income tax liability for that year. Because of R's failure to file a tax return for 1957, there was no entry of self-employment income for that year on his earnings record.
The issue to be resolved, therefore, is whether, on the basis of evidence first submitted in May 1961, R's earnings record may be corrected to include his 1957 self-employment income of $1,500. If this can be done, he will be credited with four quarters of coverage for 1957, which will enable him to meet the disability insured status requirement so that he can qualify for disability insurance benefits beginning June 1961.
Under section 205(c) of the Act, as pertinent in this case, the Social Security Administration may revise a worker's earnings record for a taxable year to include any omitted self-employment income for that year, provided that, within a time limitation of 3 years, 3 months and 15 days after the end of that year, it is brought to the attention of the Social Security Administration that an entry of self-employment income in his earnings record is incorrect or is omitted. Section 205(c)(5) further provides, as pertinent to this case, that after the time limitation for any taxable year has expired, a worker's earnings record may be revised to include omitted self-employment income for such year if an application for monthly benefits was filed within the time limitation following that year, except that no such self-employment income may be included after a final decision on the application has been made.
In this case R's letter inquiring about his disability insurance benefits was received within 3 years, 3 months, and 15 days after the end of 1957; but the prescribed application form and the evidence establishing his net earnings for 1957 were filed after the end of this time limitation.
Under Regulations No. 4, §§ 404.601 and 404.613, the term "application" is defined as an application on a form prescribed by the Administration and includes an application for monthly benefits. However, where a claimant files a written statement which is signed by him and indicates an intention to claim monthly benefits, the claimant shall, unless he indicates otherwise, be deemed to have "filed an application" for such benefits if he files an application on a prescribed form within 6 months from the date the Bureau of Old-Age and Survivors insurance notifies him in writing that an application on a prescribed form is necessary.
The letter signed by R which was received in the district office on March 3, 1961, indicated an intention to claim monthly disability insurance benefits. On May 4, 1961, R filed an application for disability insurance benefits on a prescribed form. R is, therefore, deemed to have filed an application on March 3, 1961, which is within the time limitation of 3 years, 3 months, and 15 days after the end of 1957. Consequently, under section 205(c), R's earnings record for the taxable year 1957 may be corrected to include self-employment income for 1957 since an application was filed before the time limitation expired and no final decision had been made on the application.
It is accordingly held that R must be credited with self-employment income of $1,500 for 1957. As a result, he has the necessary disability insured status and since he meets the other requirements is entitled to disability insurance benefits beginning June 1961.
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