Jul 31st, 2017

5 Common Mistakes People Should Avoid When Applying for SSDI Benefits

Fred London Law 0 Comments Social Security Disability

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has numerous guidelines and criteria that must be met when applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefit compensation. All too often, many applicants do not read over their application paperwork carefully, do not follow the proper process for verifying their medical condition, fail to provide adequate medical documentation. or miss mistakes they have made on the application that disqualify them for benefits. In order to ensure that your application is more likely to be approved the first time, here are the 5 most common mistakes applicants should avoid when applying for SSDI benefits.

Social security claiming mistakes

#1 Mistake: Filing for Disability While Still Employed

There isn’t a rule on the book that forbids you from applying for SSDI while you are still on the job, but it definitely will not improve your chances of approval if you decide to do so. Your purpose for applying for SSDI is because you are unable to perform any substantial gainful work in order to support yourself. Earning income while applying for SSDI essentially invalidates your claim that you can’t work because you are in fact working. This reduces the statistical likelihood of your being approved to near zero.

#2 Mistake: Applying for SSDI Too Soon

Qualifying for SSDI depends upon your disabling condition being projected to last for at least a year or longer. Applying for benefits without an established treatment history and documentation of being medically unfit to work makes it exceptionally difficult to prove that you are in fact suffering from a long term or permanently disabling condition. Many Social Security Examiners who find your history is less than a year may assume that your condition may improve with treatment before you can qualify for SSDI. You should only apply for benefits after it has been established via diagnosis and prognosis by a physician that your condition will last for a year or more.

#3 Mistake: Believing the Consultative Exam Provides All Necessary Proof

In order to prove that you are in fact disabled, you need a sufficient medical history of clinical diagnosis and treatment in order to qualify or be approved. The initial consultative exam required by the SSA will not provide sufficient medical evidence.

#4 Mistake: Not Following Doctor’s Prescribed Treatments

Some applicants refuse treatment because they believe it will affect the severity of their condition when applying for benefits. One of the first things a Social Security examiner will verify is your treatment history for your disabling condition and your response to treatment. If you are not following the recommended treatment plan as written by your doctor, your application can be denied. Be smart, and follow your doctor’s treatment plan.

#5 Mistake: Trying to Appeal an SSA Decision Without Legal Representation

Hire a disability attorney if you are going to appeal your denied application. Attorneys who specialize in disability law and SSA policy and processes significantly improves your chances of having a decision changed during the appeals process. Trying to assemble an appeal on your own with little or no knowledge of how the SSA appeals process works is a recipe for disaster.

If you are a DC or Baltimore resident in need of representation for an SSA decision hearing, consider contacting the law offices of Fred S. London, P.C.. He and his trained staff will set you up with a consultation to review your case and determine how to best approach your appeal. Contact Fred S. London’s offices today for more details

Jul 26th, 2017

How to Calculate Projected Social Security Benefits

Fred London Law 0 Comments Social Security Disability

If you’ve been paying into the Social Security system for years, you’re probably wondering how that money will come back to help you later in life. With all the talk recently of Social Security running low at some point, it’s even more important now to start planning for the future. If you’ve been injured or disabled and are hoping to get benefits sooner, then it becomes an even more pressing problem. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how social security benefits are calculated.

eligible for Social Security benefits

Honestly, it’s impossible to go into every little detail in the space of a quick post. The formula the SSA uses to calculate its various benefits schedules can be pretty complicated. However, here are the basics for disability, if you are eligible for Social Security benefits:

First, the SSA takes a look at your total earnings over the course of your working history. The SSA will look at all the money you have earned while working and use it to calculate what is called your Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME) figure. This AIME number is used to represent your average monthly earnings over the course of your life. Things like inflation are taken into account, and the more you’ve worked over the years and, the more chance of this being a higher number as your earnings should theoretically go up over time. In addition, having taken time off of work can result in a lower AIME number, as well, as those years are taken into account.

Once your AIME is determined, the SSA will then use this number to calculate your PIA, or Primary Insurance Amount. The PIA is used to figure out the amount of money you are entitled to based on those monthly earnings. Your earnings are divided into three tiers: the first tier, which is the $885 you earned, is rated at 90%. The second tier, which is the amount you earned monthly between $885 and $5,336, is rated at 32%. The final tier is everything over $5,336, and is rated at 15%. This amount is now totaled up. Again, there is some finagling here based on inflation, rounding up or down, etc.

Once these calculations are done, you are left with a number that represents the total maximum amount you are entitled to if you are eligible for Social Security benefits. Of course, there is a maximum monthly benefit you are entitled to, regardless of your work history. In 2017, that max amount per month is $2,687.

If this sounds complicated, don’t worry: we have experienced professionals who can help you make sense of it all. Don’t hesitate to contact us today!

Jul 7th, 2017

Supplemental Security Income: Maryland

Fred London Law 0 Comments Social Security Disability

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a program of the Social Security Administration (SSA). It helps low income, elderly and disabled people by providing basic needs funding for food, shelter, and clothing and shelter. Since SSI is based on need, the SSA has very low income requirements that a person or family must meet in order to qualify for the program. Can you work while on SSI? Yes, you can work while receiving SSI benefits, as long as your wages fall below SSI’s income threshold.

supplemental security income maryland

When your only income is from a job, the income caps are based on the monthly federal benefit rate (FBR). An individual must earn less than $735, and a couple or family must earn less than $1,103. The SSA counts earned income from a job, but they also count passive income like stocks or income earned from rental property. In-kind income counts too, such as food or shelter you might receive from a family member or community group, so if you are living rent-free, or getting food from a shelter, it counts as income. SSA will also count any other benefits you might be receiving, such as veteran benefits, pensions, child support or alimony; these are all considered passive forms of income as well.

The SSA allows you to own a home and a single automobile while on SSI benefits, but you can’t own many more meaningful assets. These are capped at $2,000 per individual and $3,000 per couple or family. Meaningful assets are also called disposable assets, such as cash, property, stock, bank account, life insurance, or household goods. There are certain exclusions, like wedding rings, savings for burial, and PASS (Plan for Achieving Self Support) savings accounts.

Certain states provide their own assistance—ranging from $10 to $400 per month–in addition to the federal SSI supplement; SSI will generally subtract your state amount from the federal amount they are willing to pay you. Maryland residents fare very well because the state provides generous benefits. You might be eligible for temporary cash assistance and temporary disability assistance, and if you are living in a care home or assisted living facility, the state provides a generous SSI supplement.

To summarize, can you work while on SSI? Yes, but your total monthly income cannot exceed the FBR. If it does, you won’t qualify for SSI. The SSA fairly frequently changes the rules for SSI, so hiring an experienced lawyer can help. Give us a call and we’ll walk you through it.