How to get the social security benefits you deserve: Lesson One

Let’s face it, applying for social security can be a pretty daunting process. Some people will put off applying for benefits because they aren’t aware of how the process works. Well, if you have the right people helping you with your claim, the process can be quite simple. This is the first in a series of blogs and videos that will better explain the social security process as a whole. We are simply calling this series “How to get the benefits you deserve.” In our first blog we will examine what... Read More »

How Does Car Ownership Impact SSI Benefits?

I’ll be honest, when it comes to the Social Security process; I have a lot to learn. A recent transition in our firm has me now placed with the individuals who determine eligibility for new Social Security clients. For me it was kind of like what happened on “Lost” when they met “The Others.” In other words I am in unfamiliar territory. For the past three years I have only been around individuals who work in VA Disability. While I still work in the field of VA, I am now a part of the team that... Read More »

Filing Subsequent Disability Claims

In previous years, the Social Security Administration permitted subsequent claims, however; when two claims are pending at the same time there is much room for conflicting decisions. Subsequent claims may result in improper payments, increased administrative costs, and increased workloads stemming from duplication. Therefore, in 2011 the Administration decided that claimants will no longer be allowed to have two claims for the same type of benefits pending at the same time. Claimants have to... Read More »

Self-Employment and your Social Security Claim

You can receive disability benefits while working, however; your monthly income must be below the current allowable limit. This limit is referred to as SGA, Substantial Gainful Activity. In 2014, SGA is $1070 gross income per month. This is easy to monitory and calculate when working for an employer, but what if you are self-employed? If you are self-employed, you will fall under different regulations. As a self-employed individual you may work 70 hours a week and make $100 or you may work 2... Read More »

What is a trial work period?

If you are receiving disability benefits and want to test your ability to return to work, you are in luck. The Social Security Administration recognizes that returning to work is easier said than done. The trial work period (TWP) allows individuals that already receive benefits a chance to return to work without fear of their benefits ending. The TWP allows you to work for 9 months without benefit interruption within a consecutive 60 month period after you begin receiving benefits. These 9 months... Read More »

How did Social Security overpay me?

Unfortunately, many disability beneficiaries experience overpayments. The most common overpayment occurs when the beneficiary does not report earnings to the Social Security Administration. That does not go without saying that the Administration also makes errors in computing monthly payments and processing reported earnings. If you have been overpaid disability benefits, the Administration will notify you in writing. This notice will explain how and when the overpayment occurred. In some... Read More »

Will I Be Covered by Medicaid or Medicare When I Receive Social Security

After you have received your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Social Security Supplemental Income (SSI) benefits for a period of 24 months, you will be eligible to receive Medicare. And there’s no need to “sign up”—information about Medicare coverage will automatically be sent to you several months before your coverage begins.  However, there are exceptions to this rule, which may help you qualify to receive Medicare coverage sooner.  For instance, if you have permanent kidney... Read More »

Does receiving SSDI and SSI benefits qualify you to receive Food Stamps?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps, helps low-income individuals and families afford to buy food.  As a general rule, if you receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI), your household can’t have more than $3,000 in resources to qualify for SNAP.  “Resources” include cash, bank accounts, and other property that you own, but your home and the property it is on are not counted as resources for SNAP consideration.  If you receive... Read More »

What is a Partially Favorable Decision?

So the day has come. You’ve received your decision notice in the mail. You open the much-anticipated letter only to read, “Decision Notice—Partially Favorable” scrolled across the top. What does this mean, exactly?  It means you have been approved but just as the term suggests, you’ve only been partially approved.  This can be due to two reasons. The first is that the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) has found you disabled but on a different date than what you initially alleged on your application. ... Read More »

Are my Social Security benefits taxed?

One of the questions we hear most often is, “Will I need to pay taxes on my Social Security Disability Insurance or Social Security Supplemental Income benefits?”  The good news is that, if Social Security benefits are your only source of income, it is very likely that you will not have to pay taxes on your benefits. If you do have other income, such as wages, interest earned, dividend payments, etc. (in other words, any taxable income that you are required to report on your tax return) then you... Read More »

Do I Have to Report Anything to Social Security After I’m Approved?

So, the day finally came and you were approved for your social security claim. All of that hard work paid off, and you finally rest easy now that you are starting to receive your monthly benefits.  It’s safe to say that you are completely done with Social Security, right? Well that is not necessarily true. If you experience certain life changes you have to report them to Social Security. The following are changes that you must report: If you return to work. If you become incarcerated. If you are... Read More »

Are Social Security Wages Taxed?

Here is some helpful information regarding taxes provided by our Operations Manager, Lauren Ward: Some people have to pay federal income taxes on their Social Security benefits.  This usually happens only if you have other substantial income (such as wages, self-employment, interest, dividends and other taxable income that must be reported on your tax return) in addition to your benefits. If you: File a federal tax return as an “individual” and your combined income* is Between $25,000 and $34,000,... Read More »

Can I file my initial application for Disability Benefits with you instead of Social Security?

Online applications can be processed for most potential new client’s right here in our office; however, there are a few exceptions listed below: Why all claims can’t be filed with us directly…. Because these types of claims involve sensitive information such as income, assets and any personal items that may affect the monthly benefits that a claimant will ultimately receive, there are many permissions that have to be granted as well as specific research involved. Most, if not all of this work, can... Read More »

How will a judge decide my case?

The Social Security Administration has a five step sequential process in place that every ALJ (Administrative Law Judge) must use to evaluate each claim they are assigned. The first step is to determine if the claimant is working at a level above what the SSA deems acceptable to still qualify for benefits.  Substantial gainful activity, or SGA, is work activity for a profit that is defined by a certain gross monthly income level. If a person is working full time, or at a level above SGA, despite... Read More »

How will receiving child support affect my child's SSI?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a program administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to assist people with a limited income who are blind or disabled.  This program may also cover an eligible child who is not married and under the age of 18 (or under the age of 22, if a full-time student).  One of the most common questions a parent or guardian may have is how SSI eligibility and benefits will be affected for a child receiving child support. The Social Security Administration... Read More »

Does being blind qualify me for Social Security benefits?

A young lady walked into the office with her mother wearing very dark sunglasses.  She wanted to know if her mother would qualify for Social Security Disability benefits because her mother was blind and unable to work.  I explained that yes, being legally blind is a qualification for getting approved for Social Security Disability but we should discuss her condition and see which Social Security Disability program she would qualify for.  I asked if her mother was legally blind or just had... Read More »

What is Taking my Social Security Claim So Long?

Are you a claimant in the Social Security system trying to get approved for SSI or SSD?  If you are, I bet you’re frustrated with the system and with all the stress you’re under right now.  The Social Security Administration has over 500,000 cases waiting for review in their appeals section alone right now.  These are the cases the Administrative Law Judge has denied, and the claimants and their attorneys are appealing to the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council is the last step of appealing the... Read More »

How Does Incarceration Affect my Social Security Disability Benefits?

Unfortunately, there are times when a person applying for, or an individual receiving, Social Security Disability Benefits becomes incarcerated. This can have an impact on a potential, or existing, recipients of benefits. According to Social Security Administration Rules, no monthly benefits will be paid to an individual for any part of a month that the recipient is incarcerated for the conviction of a felony. If a person who has never received Social Security Disability Benefits is currently... Read More »

What are Presumptive Benefits in a Social Security Claim?

In the time that I have had the privilege of serving our clients, I have seen several cases where an individual’s impairments are so severe they are unable to get through even one day. Often times, these impairments do not respond to normal treatment, are incurable or, in some rare cases, fatal. The problem is that clients often do not have medical coverage and cannot afford to get any help at all with the serious impairments they are facing. In some cases, Social Security has awarded what they... Read More »

What if Social Security Overpays Me?

What happens if Social Security contacts you and says that they have given you too much money?  What if they expect you to pay back that money?  What does this mean, and what do you do now?  It can be hard to believe that after fighting so long and hard to receive disability benefits that Social Security can send you a simple piece of mail that says that you’ve been given too much money.  This is called a Notice of Overpayment.  There are many reasons why this could have happened.  Probably... Read More »