Category Archives: Social Security Disability

Nov 3rd, 2017

Individual requirements for receiving Medicaid

Fred London Law 0 Comments Social Security Disability

Financial assistance is provided in the Medicaid program. This program helps with medical expenses for those who have a low income, pregnant women, children, disabled people, and elderly people. You can only receive Medicaid if you are a U.S. citizen and meets federal and state income requirements.

eligibility for medicaid

Also, Medicaid beneficiaries that have a limited income may be eligible for the program. The program can help them pay for Medicare expenses that you need to pay for on your own — copays, premiums, deductibles. It should be recognized that Medicaid does not mean it can be completely free. Unfortunately, there may be some costs such as copays, but the details will change depending on the state you reside in.

State Medicaid eligibility

Though the federal government funds some of the program, each state determines eligibility for Medicaid for its residents. Like mentioned before, the state requirements may vary based on the income as well as the situation the person is in. Medicaid is determined by income and also the family size with the help of Federal Poverty Level — FPL. The minimum eligibility for 2016 was 133 percent of the FPL. You may qualify for Medicaid for your state if you don’t end up meeting the federal standards.

Whether you think you qualify for Medicaid or not, you should still apply for the program. The determination if you qualify will be made by a caseworker and approvals are made based on information that you provided. This includes personal information such as your income and financial resources. Other circumstances may be considered as well. Generally, Medicaid aims to help low-income groups such as pregnant women, elderly, children and disabled people. Be sure to review the criteria based on the state you live in.

Because of the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid has now expanded to cover low-income adults that aren’t eligible from other criteria. Prior to this, those low-income adults were required to have a waiver that was covered by the state Medicaid. Though you must need the minimum federal income, some states may be more generous than others. If you don’t fit in a category that has been mentioned, but you are a low-income individual, reach out to your state Medicaid program to see if you can still apply.

General requirements

There are lots of options to being eligible for the Medicaid program. For instance, most states provide Medicaid to anyone who is already getting benefits from the Supplemental Security Income program. A handful of states provide Medicaid to older adults with a disability that has an income that is under 100 percent of the federal poverty level.

Mainly, to be eligible for Medicaid you must qualify for one of the following below:

● 65 or older

● Have a continual disability as that term is explained by the SSA

● Visually impaired

● Pregnant woman

● Child, or the parent/guardian of a child

● Additionally, you need to meet specific requirements, such as:

○ U.S. citizen or meet certain immigration regulations

○ Be a state resident where you apply

○ Have a Social Security number

Income

The amount of income you are allowed to have varies depending on the state you’re in and also the eligibility group you are in. When your state program finally determines your financial eligibility, they will count some of what you make, but not all of it. Your income includes:

● Regular benefits — Social Security retirement or disability

● Veterans benefits

● Pensions

● Salaries

● Wages

● Interest from bank accounts

● Dividends from stocks/bonds

Activity requirements

A medical expert in your state will need to evaluate your needs and decide if your disability will need long-term care. Generally, the doctor will make the decision based on if you need help performing specific activities of daily living (ADL). These include:

● Bathing

● Dressing

● Using the bathroom

● Getting in and out of bed/chair/couch

● Eating

Nov 1st, 2017

What can you receive? The difference between back payments and retroactive benefits

Fred London Law 0 Comments Social Security Disability

It is common that many disabled applicants mix up retroactive and back payments. Like all disability benefits, retroactive are constructed on the date of filing and the start date of your disability.

If you are eligible for SS disability benefits, your odds are high that you will be qualified for back payments and maybe retroactive payments as well, depending when you were first initially disabled, when you filled out your application, and when you were accepted.

Difference between payments or retroactive benefits?

Back payments are past due benefits. They are the benefits that Social Security would have paid you as soon as you were accepted. Basically, back payments are owed to you from the date you finished your application to the day you were approved for your benefits. Back payments are payable for SSI disability and SS disability.

restroactive benefits

Retroactive benefits can be paid to you for the months you were not able to work prior to applying for disability benefits. Only SSDI applicants are entitled to these benefits. In order to receive these benefits, you need to be able to validate that you were disabled prior to applying for Social Security. You should be disabled for at least five months earlier than the day you applied. Like any other benefit, Social Security must have evidence to prove that the applicant was disabled at least seventeen months before filling out the form.

The SSI disability program doesn’t pay retroactive disability benefits — benefits can only start the same month the disability claim was filed. The applicant needs to also met the income and limit at the time to receive retroactive benefits.

In the case of someone only receiving SSDI, the back and retroactive payments can be paid in a lump sum. If someone receiving SSI, or both SSDI and SSI, the back payments can be paid six months apart in installments.

Back pay and retroactive pay can be critical to the future of your finances. As a result, it is important that you reach out to an experienced Social Security disability lawyer before you start the application process.

Oct 17th, 2017

Steps for Disability Determination Process

Fred London Law 0 Comments Social Security Disability

The five step medical determination process is the same for both SSI and SSD. The evaluation will review yourself, your work history, and also your disability. All 5 steps may not be necessary for your case, but Social Security will determine that.

disability determination process

The five steps used in the evaluation process are:

1.Work status: If you are currently working and making over $1,000 per month over the last year, Social Security considers that to be Substantial Gainful Activity. In that case, you are unlikely to be considered disable.

2.How severe is your condition: For you to be considered disable, your disability must interfere with your work-related activities. Medical evidence must be used to dictate physical and/or mental impairments that you have. A duration requirement is used to say how long your impairment has been going on and it should be at least a year or a result in death if that severe.

3.Is your disability found in the listing: There is a listing of impairments that Social Security has come up with for all major parts of the body. If you are reviewing the listing and your disability is described, then you are automatically considered disable. If you don’t find your condition, then Social Security has to decide if there is a listing that has equal severity. If they do decide there is one that is similar to your impairment, then you claim will be approved and you continue the process.

4.Can you perform the work you’ve previously done before your impairment: If your disability is serious, but is not the same or equal severity as those on the list, then Social Security needs to decide if it impedes with your work and capability to perform all daily tasks over the last decade. Unfortunately, if it does not interfere, your claim will be turned down.

5.Are you able to do any other work: If you are not capable of doing work that you’ve done in the last 15 years, Social Security reviews if you are able to perform any other kind of work. What will be considered is your education, age, skills, past work experience, and also the demand of the occupations that the Department of Labor determines. If you are not able to do any other work, you will be approved.

Social Security will review all visits to doctors, hospitals, and any other clinics that you’ve been treated at. They will also need to know any medication that you are taking. It is in the law that Social Security is required to consider and review all evidence of your disability when making the final decision for your claim. The conclusion will combine your medical records as well as your work history, and Social Security’s rulings and policies.

Oct 9th, 2017

How To Find the Right Social Security Lawyer in Washington, D.C

Fred London Law 0 Comments Social Security Disability

For many of us, things don’t always go as planned. We may have a retirement plan all laid out until an unexpected injury or medical condition throws a wrench in all of our carefully constructed timelines. In that case, help is often needed — and that’s exactly where lawyers come in. The job of an attorney is to help you make the best possible case for your Social Security claim, so that you can receive the money you need to live while facing medical expenses and being unable to work.

But with so many options out there, how can you find the right attorney? If you’re looking for Social Security lawyers in D.C., here are a few things you should consider:

social security lawyers in dc

1. What services do you need?

Some attorneys cover Social Security disability more broadly, while others focus in on SSI or medical assistance in particular. Still other lawyers look at specific medical issues, like Social Security law for disabilities relating to spinal injuries or heart conditions. Try searching online for attorneys using those keywords so that you can find lawyers who are specialized in the situation you’re experiencing.

2. What experience does the attorney have?

If you’re considering working with an attorney for your disability claim, make sure to evaluate what experience he or she has to determine whether to put your trust in this individual. You’ll want to make sure that the attorney has significant experience working on cases like yours and will know how best to handle your case.

3. What recommendations have you heard?

Often, one of the best ways to find Social Security lawyers in D.C. is just to ask around. Attorneys are often seen as more trustworthy when they are recommended by people you know personally, because you can have a guarantee that the attorney knows what they’re doing and will treat you well. Also, it’s a great place to start searching if you know people who have gone through a similar experience and already know where to look.

4. What’s your impression of the attorney?

The most important part of an attorney-client relationship is that the client should feel valued, especially in a case like Social Security disability which is so often fraught with emotional distress. At a time like this, if you find an attorney you’re interested in hiring, ask to meet with them so you can gauge how they approach your case and whether or not they care.

Sep 26th, 2017

The Benefits of Social Security Disability Insurance

Fred London Law 0 Comments Social Security Disability

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is commonly the type of benefits someone seeks if they need financial assistance to make up for lost income caused by an inability to continue working due to a severe injury or illness. Since most people do not think about disability benefits before they need them, they do not know much about them. Here is some basic helpful information about SSDI benefits.

Social Security Disability Claim Concept

What is SSDI?

SSDI is a program that is designed to help people who have paid into the Social Security system through their payroll taxes. If you become disabled, you can apply for benefits and if a judge determines that you are disabled to the point where work is impossible, you can receive benefits.. If you have limited income, you can apply for SSI benefits, which is a need-based program.

Eligibility

To qualify for SSDI benefits, you need to have earned enough work credits. You can earn up to four credits per year by working at a job that takes out Social Security taxes. The number of work credits you need is dependent on your age.

Medical Eligibility

Not only do you need to have worked a specified length of time, you also need to be medically eligible to receive SSDI benefits. Your condition must be severe enough that it interferes with work-related activities. If you are able to work at all, you must not earn more than $1,170 per month, or $1,950 if you are blind. It must also be expected to last for at least one full year.

Getting Approved for SSDI

You cannot get approval for SSDI until you have been disabled for at least five months. If you are approved immediately, you still cannot begin receiving checks until five months have passed. In most cases, it takes at least six months, and sometimes longer, for an application to be approved. So, once your approval comes through, not only will you start receiving checks, you will also be eligible for backpay for the months you were waiting for approval.

Getting Denied for Benefits

If your initial application is denied, you can file an appeal of the decision. If you choose to do so, you must do so within 60 days of the receipt of your denial letter. You will need to make a Request for Reconsideration, which will be reviewed by an examiner. If your application is still denied, you can take it to a higher level by requesting a hearing with an administrative law judge.

If you have questions regarding applying for SSDI, contact Fred London Law today.

Sep 1st, 2017

Applying for Long-Term Medicaid

Fred London Law 0 Comments Social Security Disability

Medicaid is a term given to several different programs designed to provide medical coverage for those who have a financial need. One type of medicaid is Long-Term Medicaid, which is intended specifically for seniors or those suffering from chronic illnesses or disabilities who require more intensive care. Because long-term Medicaid is a more cost-intensive program, not everyone is automatically eligible for these services.

long term care medicaid application

What is Long-Term Medicaid?

As stated above long-term Medicaid is a funded program that is designed to assist those who are suffering from chronic conditions, such as a life-long disability, illness or advanced age. In these situations, the patient requires more intensive care — in many cases even equalling those services you might expect to find in an assisted living facility.

These services might include medical care, but they can also include activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing and using the restroom. These services might be provide at home or in some sort of community facility.

Who Qualifies for Long-Term Medicaid?

Because of the financial resources needed, qualifying for long-term Medicaid is not always easy. In short, it is necessary to prove that you have both a medical need for such long-term and intensive care, and a financial need that can not meet the costs of these services.

However, this can be a bit tricky, because there is not a specific set of guidelines for who qualifies financially and medically, and each state has been left free to set its own standards. In short, though, if you suffer from a condition which requires ongoing skill, are unable to care for yourself and are limited in terms of your income and assets, then you have a chance to qualify for long-term care.

How Do I Apply for Long-Term Medicaid?

Since long-term Medicaid is run by individual states, you will have to consult your state’s guidelines for specifics. Most states allow you to fill out a long-term Medicaid application online, but this application is only the first part. In addition, you will have to submit documentation that shows the extent of your injuries and disabilities, as well as gives a prognosis as to your long-term chances. You will also need to submit financial documents to make your income and assets known to the state.

If you would like to know more, or would like help with your online Medicaid application, don’t hesitate to contact us today.

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.