Aug 31st, 2017

The Differences Between SSI and SSDI

Fred London Law 0 Comments Social Security Disability

If you can no longer work because you have been injured or are ill, there is a good chance that you can receive financial assistance through the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA funds two different programs to help people who are in this exact position: Supplemental Security Income (SS)I and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Although these programs are similar in nature, there are some distinct differences that are the defining factors which determine for which one someone qualifies.

social security income

What is SSI?

SSI is a program that is strictly based upon the applicant’s financial need. The need is determined by looking at all forms of income and assets the applicant has. There is no need to have a work history or to have in any way paid into the Social Security program. This is because SSI is considered a “means-tested program” and is funded by general fund taxes rather than the Social Security trust fund.

What is SSDI?

SSDI is a program that gets funded through payroll taxes. So, in essence, everyone who works at a job where they pay taxes is regularly helping to fund the program. Since this program is funded in this manner, the SSA considers people who have paid into the system to be “insured” by it. Therefore, those are the people who can benefit from it.

Eligibility for SSI

Since SSI is based on financial need,, to be eligible for SSI, you must be able to prove that you have less than $2,000 in assets as an individual or less than $3,000 for a couple. You must also have a considerably low income.

Eligibility for SSDI

To be eligible for SSDI benefits, you must be under the age of 65 and have worked long enough to have earned enough work credits. Workers can generally earn up to four credits per year, or one for every quarter worked.

SSI Recipients may Receive Medicaid

Because of the financial need you must have to receive SSI benefits, those who receive them may also be eligible to receive Medicaid benefits as well. There is a good chance they can receive food stamps and other government assistance as well.

SSDI Recipients may Receive Medicare

Once SSDI recipients have received benefits for two years, they are eligible for Medicare rather than Medicaid.

Financial Benefits of SSI

Those who receive SSI payments, typically get payments of $733 per month for an individual if there are no other forms of income. The amount is reduced to coincide with other forms of income from which the recipient can draw.

Financial Benefits of SSDI

Those who receive SSDI payments, typically get payments of $1,165 per month. However, since these payments are based on income, some recipients can receive more than this amount.

For more information about the differences between SSI and SSDI, contact Fred London Law today.

Aug 28th, 2017

Avoid these Disability Application Mistakes

Fred London Law 0 Comments Social Security Disability

When you complete your disability application, it is important to have all of the information and documentation in order. Make sure everything is done correctly to avoid having to appeal later on. Disability application mistakes can cost your application to be denied.

Disability Application Mistakes
Common disability application mistakes:
1) Filing a Claim While you’re Still Working.

In most cases, your application will be denied if you’re still working because you will be going against what you’re claiming. If you make over $1,170 per month, you will be denied.

2) Filing for Disability too Soon.

Because your disability must be expected to last for at least 12 months, if you file too soon it will be harder to prove that you have a long-term condition. The examiner may suspect that your condition will improve before you qualify for benefits. It must be established that your condition will last that long before you try to apply.

3) Filing a Claim Without Sufficient Medical Evidence.

The backbone of your application is the medical documentation that you have to back it up. If you do not provide substantial and qualifying medical documentation, your application will be denied. This is one of the worst disability application mistakes. You cannot rely on the consultative exam providing enough information. These exams usually do not provide enough evidence to prove a disability by itself. You need to submit medical documentation from a doctor. This includes all visits, your diagnosis and prescribed medications.

4) Submitting Medical Evidence, But not Following it.

Sometimes applicants think that the treatment may interfere with the severity of their condition and prevent them from getting approved. Part of the approval process is the review of your treatments and your responses to those treatments. If you are not following your doctor’s advice, your application could be denied. It is important to follow the treatment that is outlined on your medical evidence that you’re submitting.

5) Not Obtaining an Attorney.

An attorney is a valuable asset during this process. Even during the application stage, this professional can help you make sure everything is in order. A lawyer will be even more helpful during the appeals process should it come to that.

By avoiding common disability application mistakes, you will increase your chances of your application being approved. Contact us with any questions.

Aug 25th, 2017

Social Security’s Representative Payment Program

Fred London Law 0 Comments Social Security Disability

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a program established by the federal government and the Social Security Administration to assist disabled children and adults who are unable to work. In some cases, however, these disabilities make it difficult, if not impossible, for the individual in question to competently manage their money. They may not be able to fully understand their situation, their budget, or the purpose of the money, or – in many cases – they may be too young to legally be able to handle the monthly payments and the necessities that they are supposed to take care of.

Social Security's Representative Payment Program

For these sorts of situations, the SSA has developed the Representative Payment Program. This program is specifically set up to help disabled individuals who need assistance in managing their money. By appointing another, trusted individual, we can be sure that the person in question is getting their basic needs met, and that the SSI benefits they are receiving are being managed correctly.

Because this is an important responsibility, the SSA does not let just anyone be a representative payee. Preferred representative payees are friends or family members who have a relationship with the disabled individual, and a vested interested in making sure they are healthy and taken care of.

If you are appointed as a representative payee by the SSA, you will have several duties to fulfill, including:

  • assessing the individual’s needs, and how best to meet those needs with the SSI benefits
  • Saving leftover money for future concerns, usually in interest bearing accounts to accrue more money
  • Reporting any changes to the SSA that could affect the individual’s eligibility in the future
  • Keeping extensive records of all moneys spent
  • Providing this, as well as other important, information to the appropriate agencies who are serving the needs of the individual in question.
  • While there are other considerations to understand, the basic idea is that a representative payee is there to act in the best interest of the disabled child or adult when that person is unable to do it for themselves. It is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly by anyone.

    If you would like to know more about the Representative Payment Program and how you may help a family member or friend who might need help managing their finances, please contact us today. Our team of experts can help walk you through the process of applying to be a representative payee, and can also make sure you fully understand the do’s and don’t’s of the process and program. We look forward to hearing from you!

    Aug 22nd, 2017

    Social Security Retirement Benefits for Women

    Fred London Law 0 Comments Social Security Disability

    It is an unfortunate fact that women are missing out on a whopping 30% of Social Security retirement benefits. Although this seems unfair, it is not actually the fault of the Social Security Administration (SSA). Instead, it is because women are making some huge mistakes that account for the discrepancy. The information below highlights those errors and provides suggestions for rectifying them.

    Social Security Retirement Benefits for Women

    Time of Retirement

    As recently as three years ago, data from the SSA showed that 40.8% of women collected retirement benefits at the age of 62. 60% of women under the age of 65 were collecting benefits and only 2.8% of women ages 70 and above claimed theirs. Although the minimum age to collect benefits is 62, women who claim benefits at this age lose a significant percentage (up to 30%) of their benefits when compared to those who wait just three years and begin collecting benefits at age 65. In real terms, that means a woman who is eligible to receive $1,200 per month can reduce her payments to $840 by claiming her benefits at age 62. Over the course of a single year, that loss adds up to $4,320. Further, once a woman reaches the age of 65, she is eligible to receive either her full benefit or half of her husband’s, whichever is greater. If she claims her benefit at age 62, she is only eligible for 79% of her benefit or 32.5% of her spouse’s benefit.

    Living on Retirement Benefits Alone

    Even though many women opt to wait until they turn 65 to retire, they often try to live on their retirement benefits alone, with no other supplemental type of income. This practice is problematic as it forces many women to live below the poverty line and they often have to do without some basic necessities of life. Often they are forced into getting part-time jobs or relying on help from their children just to make ends meet.

    How can Women get More From Their Retirement?

    Women do not need to be relegated to a life of financial peril during their retirement. One great way to prevent a financial hardship in your retirement years is to start planning early. Start a retirement plan as soon as possible and put as much pre-tax money as you can afford into conservative investments. If you can save $100 per month starting when you are 35, you can reach around $1 million in tax-sheltered retirement funds by the age of 70. If you are past that age, or just cannot put away $100 per month, you can still plan for retirement by waiting to collect your retirement benefits several years beyond typical retirement age. Every year you delay retirement can increase your benefit amount by about 32% if you do not collect benefits until you are 70 years old. If you choose this route, you do not have to work until 70. Instead, you can rely on other forms of savings or consider a reverse mortgage for your liveable income source.

    If you have any questions about Social Security retirement benefits for women, contact Fred London Law today.

    Aug 9th, 2017

    When Does the SSA Update Your Earnings?

    Fred London Law 0 Comments Social Security Disability

    As a part of receiving benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA), your other income is periodically updated and reflected in your benefit payout. For example, if you are a retiree who has a 401k or 503b and a pension, every year when you file your taxes the SSA will update your annual income. Rarely does this update affect retirees, as they are entitled to full benefits over age 67 (born after 1960) if their annual income is under a certain amount; however, if you are partially or fully disabled and unable to work full time or part time for additional or supplemental wages, the SSA still keeps a record of your income and adjusts your benefit payout accordingly.

    when does ssa update earnings

    Whenever you file a tax return, even if Social Security Disability insurance compensation is your sole source of income, that income is updated in the SSAs Earning Record. If you receive other income from sources such as a part time job that is not affected by your physical disability, workers’ compensation permanent injury settlement or payments, or Veterans Affairs Disability compensation, then that will be reflected in your SSDI benefits compensation payouts.

    The SSA adjusts benefit payments based on how much additional income you earn from other sources, which also means if you sell property, dividends from investments, or receive rents on owned property, that will be reflected in your Earnings Record. Benefits are reduced for anyone receiving social security benefits (such as survivor benefits and disability) who is under the retirement age for their birth year. The minimum income to remain unaffected by these payment reductions is roughly $17,000 in total income per year. Here’s a chart from the SSA explaining how payouts are adjusted:

    For People younger than full retirement age during the whole year
    If your monthly social security benefit is And your earn you’ll receive yearly benefits is
    $700 $ 16,920 or less $ 8,400
    $ 700 $ 18,000 $ 8,760
    $ 700 $ 20,000 Credits $ 6,860
    $ 900 $ 16,920 or less $10,800
    $ 900 $ 18000 $10,260
    $ 900 $ 20,000 $ 9,260
    $ 1,100 $ 16,920 or less $ 13,200
    $1,100 $ 18,000 $ 12,660
    $ 1,100 $ 20,000 $ 11,660

    The good news for those under retirement age or receiving SSDI or SSI compensation is that your earned income record can be disputed if you believe there has been an error in calculation. If you think there is a discrepancy in the SSAs calculations, you should contact Attorney Fred S. London today for a consultation regarding your case. Fred S. London and his team have the experience and knowledge you need to make the most effective appeal possible for your income adjustment appeal to the SSA. Call today or visit our website for more information about consultation.

    Aug 4th, 2017

    Getting Workers’ Compensation and Disability Benefits at the Same Time

    Fred London Law 0 Comments Social Security Disability

    When you have been injured on the job to the point where you are no longer able to work, it is natural to want as much financial assistance as possible. The good news is under some circumstances, you can collect both workers’ compensation and disability benefits concurrently. The following information will let you know if you qualify for both types of benefits and how to get them.

    Social Security Disability benefits

    Qualifying for Both Benefits

    This simple reason you may be able to qualify for both benefits is that they two different programs that are run by two different entities. Disability benefits are granted by the Social Security Administration (SSA), which is a federally-run program, and Workers’ Compensation programs are all run by the individual states. Since the programs are different, they have different eligibility qualifications so it is possible to qualify for one program but not the other.

    Qualifying for Workers’ Compensation Benefits

    Workers’ Compensation benefits are meant to be short-term or temporary coverage that helps the recipient bridge the gap while they are not working. It can be extremely helpful to receive these benefits while you are waiting for your disability benefits acceptance. The specific qualifications for Workers’ Comp eligibility vary from state to state. So, it is a good idea to speak with an attorney in your state to see what your qualifying conditions are. However, there are some basic qualifications that are the same for every state:

    1) The company or person you work for must carry Workers’ Compensation insurance
    2) You must be an employee of that company or person
    3) Your injury or illness must be related to your work.

    “Special Rules for ‘Certain Workers’”

    There are special Workers’ Compensation rules for people in specific categories including domestic workers, leased or loan workers, casual or seasonal workers, and undocumented workers. Workers who fit into one of these categories should check with their employer or a workers’ comp lawyer to learn of these specific rules.

    Collecting Workers’ Compensation and its Effect on SSDI

    If you are eligible to receive both Workers’ Comp and disability benefits, the total income you can receive between the two programs cannot exceed 80% of the income you had previously been receiving. If the total amount exceeds 80%, the SSA will deduct the difference from your disability benefit. Once your Workers’ Comp benefits run out, the SSA will readjust your disability benefit.

    Qualifying for Disability Benefits

    To Qualify for Workers’ Compensation benefits, you only need to no longer be able to do your previous job. However, to get disability benefits, the SSA must consider you to be totally disabled. This means that you can no longer perform any type of job that you have ever had for any employer. You must also not be able to form meaningful work in any field in which you can reasonably be trained. Lastly, your condition must have lasted, or be expected to last, for a duration of at least one year or result in your death.

    Is it Advisable to Collect Both Workers’ Compensation and Disability at the Same Time? Every case is different so it is difficult to answer this question definitively. In many cases, it is a good idea to collect as many benefits as possible. However, there are some cases where it is to your advantage to choose one or the other. These advantages can vary from state to state. So, it is advisable to speak with a qualified disability or Workers’ Compensation attorney to decide what is best for your situation.

    If you have questions regarding if you can get both Workers’ Compensation and Social Security disability benefits at the same time, and if so, if it is advisable, contact the law office of Fred London today. We are here to help you get the benefits you deserve.