Category Archives: Social Security Disability

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.

    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.

    Oct 6th, 2015

    Improve your Chances of having your Multiple Sclerosis Disability Claim Approved

    Fred London Law 0 Comments Social Security Disability

    Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an insidious disease that can have debilitating effects on those who suffer from it. As MS advances, it can make it impossible for someone to maintain gainful employment. People who suffer from MS are usually eligible for Social Security benefits. However, Social Security Disability Law in Washington DC often dictates that initial claims can be denied. Thankfully there are some steps you can take to help make sure your application is accepted.

    Have up-to-date and accurate medical records
    Disability laws dictate that to be eligible for benefits, a condition must leave someone impaired for at least 12 months or a permanent disability. Although MS is a progressively degenerative and chronic illness, it often does not flare up for a long enough period of time or cause a permanent condition. Therefore, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will rely heavily on your neurologist’s records of your condition while making a determination. Be sure to stay actively involved with your medical records and make sure your doctor notates any work-related difficulties, even when you are feeling well and healthy.

    Know what ailments the SSA will be looking for
    The SSA looks at a long list of ailments when determining the application of someone with MS. These ailments include but are not limited to significant weakness, fatigue, vision problems, and cognitive problems. The entire list of qualifying ailments can be found here. Keep an eye out for these ailments and document them carefully to help prove your case to the SSA.

    Anticipate your need for disability benefits
    Conditions of qualifying for disability benefits often creep up slowly on those with MS. Therefore, you must be extra vigilant with your symptoms. Understand that at some point you will need to quit your job to qualify for benefits, so have some money set aside and a solid game plan set before you apply for benefits.

    Talk with your medical provider
    Before you apply for disability benefits, have a conversation with your neurologist. Review your symptoms and anticipate needed some additional neurological testing and occupational therapy.

    Be detailed in your descriptions
    The more information you can give to the SSA regarding your MS, the better chance you will have of having your application accepted. Provide as many details as possible. No detail, regardless of how small it seems, is too insignificant to be included.

    Seek legal assistance
    Social Security Disability Law in Washington DC is complicated and detailed. A qualified disability lawyer can be an advocate and your best ally in your quest to have your claim accepted.

    Suffering from MS can be an uphill battle; applying for disability benefits should not be. If you have MS and believe you are eligible for disability benefits, a Social Security disability lawyer in Washington CD can help you get the money you deserve.

    Oct 2nd, 2015

    Lupus and SSD Benefits

    Fred London Law 0 Comments Social Security Disability

    For people dealing with Lupus in their daily lives, it can be hard to describe to others the difficulties associated with the illness. Lupus is an immune system disorder that is not very well understood and can put a lot of strain on your day to day activities. With all of that added burden, the last thing you want to worry about is the also complex and confusing process of applying for and getting social security disability benefits. Fortunately, we are here with some information to make things easier on you.

    When it comes to systemic lupus erythematosus, there are two ways that it is described by the Social Security Administration. The first way it is understood is through involvement in two or more organs and/or body systems. In this case, the administration notes that at least one of the organs or body systems must be at least moderately affected by the lupus. Furthermore, the administration notes that there should be at least two symptoms present. These symptoms can include fatigue, fever, unintentional weight loss, or malaise. The administration also recognizes this immune disorder when two of the symptoms are present and the lupus manifests repeatedly. In this instance, the individual must show that the ailment also limits their daily life, prohibits them from functioning socially, and/or prevents them from completing tasks without losing concentration, focus, or otherwise. If one of those is true, the symptoms are present, and the lupus manifests or has manifested repeatedly, then it can be recognized by the Social Security Administration.

    This just barely covers the details of applying for social security disability benefits when dealing with lupus. In fact, there is a lot more that goes into the process of applying for benefits and receiving them. That being said, an attorney can help. There are a number of social security disability attorneys in Washington D.C. and elsewhere, so be sure to investigate your options. Getting professional help will definitely ease the process.

    Sep 29th, 2015

    Goal: Why did my SSI application get denied?

    Fred London Law 0 Comments Social Security Disability

    When a person is dealing with medical issues that hinder their everyday lives and functioning, obtaining assistance to help aid them is highly critical. For an individual who is disabled, such assistance includes Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. When applying for such aid, there are applicants who get denied for various different reasons. Being rejected for benefits can be a scary thought for those who are really depending on it to survive. To avoid getting denied the first time around, seeking the services of a Disability Attorney in Washington, DC may be your best bet. If your SSI application has recently been denied, here are some possible reasons as to why that decision was made.

    1. Age
    While many individuals of various ages have been able to obtain SSI disability aid, age is still a deciding factor when it comes to determining whether an applicant gets denied or not. When applicants hit the 50-54-year-old age mark, Social Security does not expect these individuals to start a new career in a completely different field than what they are skilled in and acquainted with. This is due to their advanced age, which prevents them from being expected to retrain for even sedentary work. Applicants of younger ages may be seen as more capable of picking up new work skills.

    2. Capability of work
    When it comes to obtaining SSI benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will first determine if you are capable of completing any type of work before they give an applicant access to aid. If a person is capable of doing sedentary work, in the least, their application has a higher chance of being denied; especially if they do not have enough work experience.

    3. Disability not detected
    A huge reason for the SSA not being able to identify you as disabled would be because they were not provided with enough documentation for them to judge their decision off of. If the SSA does not see that an applicant meets their listing for disability, a status of denial will be offered. For this reason, the more medical records and the more paperwork detailing your sickness you send over along with your application the better.