Author: Social Security Disability Advocates USA

Can You Still be Working While Collecting Social Security Disability?

Can You Still be Working While Collecting Social Security Disability?

" collecting social security disability"

The purpose of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is to provide financial assistance to individuals who have experienced an injury or illness that prevents them from being able to work. However, this presents something of a problem for those that need to work to pay their bills before they can begin collecting Social Security disability benefits. Not to mention that some individuals may have an opportunity to work after they’ve begun collecting Social Security disability benefits.

The following are the basic things that you should know about whether you can work before and after collecting Social Security benefits, and how working could impact your ability to collect your benefits:

Working Before Collecting Social Security Disability

The Social Security Administration understands that you may need to earn income in some capacity in order to support yourself until you qualify for SSDI. It can take some time to get approved as well. However, you should be careful about what you do and how much you make. Your earnings cannot exceed the SGA (Substantial Gainful Activity) limit, which is different every year. For 2017, that limit is $1,170 a month and $1,950 a month for blind applicants.

If you make more than this, your application is likely to be rejected. Additionally, even if you do not make this amount within a month but are working 32 hours or more a week, the Social Security Administration may have a hard time being convinced that your injury or illness is a disability that is preventing you from working.

The demand of the job you do has an impact as well. If you’re performing a job that is somewhat demanding, even though you’re only working part time to keep your income below the SGA limit, a judge may decide that you are also able to work a full-time job that’s less demanding, thereby coming to the conclusion that your injury or illness is not a serious disability.

Working After Collecting Social Security Disability

Working before you are approved for SSDI benefits is one thing, but working after you’ve begun collecting Social Security disability benefits is another thing. Whether you want to earn a little extra money or you just want to get back to work in general, you need to be careful. Technically, the SGA limit will still apply; however, you will be provided with a trial work period, which is a nine-month period in which you can earn more than the SGA limit.

If at the end of that trial period, you are earning more than the SGA limit, then your SSDI payments will end because it will be assumed that your disability no longer hinders your ability to find and do work. If it turns out that your disability does hinder you and you are not able to continue, then you’ll be protected by the fact that you were in a trial period. If you lose benefits because you earned over the SGA limit, you can always re-apply for SSDI benefits in the future.

It’s important that you understand what the restrictions are for working when you apply for SSDI benefits. The last thing you want to do is risk having your application rejected because you worked too much. It’s also important that you’re careful about going to work while on disability payments as well, especially if you won’t be able to live off the money you make at work without your disability benefits.

For professional advice concerning employment while collecting Social Security disability payments, schedule a free consultation at Social Security Disability Advocates USA by calling us at (602) 952-3200 today.

 

How Long Does it Take to Get Approved for Disability

How Long Does it Take to Get Approved for Disability

approved social security benefits

When you apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) benefits, the last thing you’ll want is to wait around for months to hear back about whether or not you were approved, especially if you have no way of earning income due to an inability to work.

Unfortunately, the approval process is extremely involved, which means it can take as little as 30 days or as long as one or two years, or even more, to secure approved Social Security benefits. What’s even more stressful is the fact that there’s no way to know how far along the process is.

Factors That Affect Approved Social Security Benefits

Although there’s no way to tell how long it will take, there are a number of factors that affect the approval process. The following are some of the factors that could affect how long it takes for your Social Security benefits to be approved:

  • Whether your initial claim was rejected – A large percentage of initial Social Security claims are rejected. In fact, it’s estimated that over 60 percent of all initial claims are denied. However, initial claims take between 30 and 90 days to process, it’s the appeals that could take years. If your initial claim was approved, it’s likely to be approved within 90 days of having applied.
  • The speed at which your medical records are submitted – The Social Security Administration requires medical records to determine your disability and whether you qualify. This means that a part of the approval process hinges on how long it takes for your doctors to send out your records. Keep in mind that you can obtain copies of your medical records to send yourself if you want to hurry the process along.
  • The strength of your medical evidence – If your medical records do not show enough evidence to prove that your injury or illness is a long-term disability that will affect your ability to work, the Social Security Administration may require you to meet with one of their doctors. Depending on when that appointment is and whether you’re able to keep it, this could delay the process further.
  • The volume of your medical records – It’s going to take longer for the Social Security Administration to go through your records if it consists of thousands of pages. However, this is not something that you can control.
  • Where you live – Unfortunately, obtaining approved Social Security benefits may take longer depending on where you live. This is because some states have a backlog of Social Security applications to go through.
  • How old you are – The Social Security Administration makes it a priority to get through applications for older individuals first.
  • The type of work that you do – If your job required physical labor, it will be easier to determine if your disability will prevent you from working. If it doesn’t, then they will need to evaluate your work more carefully to determine if your disability will hinder your ability to do your job.
  • The efficiency of those who are handling your case – This can be frustrating, but the efficiency and effectiveness of the people and offices that are handling your case has a big impact on the timeline for obtaining approved Social Security benefits.
  • The effectiveness of your representative – The more experienced and skilled your Social Security representative is, the more likely it is that your claim will be approved quicker.

These are some of the things that can affect the timeline for securing approved Social Security benefits. To schedule a free consultation at Social Security Disability Advocates USA, call us at (602) 952-3200 today.

Seven Things All Women Should Know About Social Security

Seven Things All Women Should Know About Social Security

women need to know about social security

The Social Security program is meant to help people who are in need of financial assistance for a variety of reasons. However, it’s especially important for women due to the fact that in addition to working, they often act as caregivers for children or the elderly and tend to live longer than men on average. This means that on average, women face greater economic challenges in retirement than men do. Fortunately, Social Security can help.

7 Things Women Need to Know About Social Security

Social Security can be very beneficial to women if they understand what the benefits are. The following are seven things that women need to know about Social Security:

  1. You need to report name changes – If you change your last name because you’ve gotten married or divorced, you’ll need to report your new name to the Social Security Administration to ensure that your earnings are properly recorded.
  2. You can qualify for benefits if you become disabled – An injury or illness that is expected to last for 12 months and also prevents you from being able to work is considered a long-term disability. Because you will not be able to work, and therefore not able to obtain income, you may be able to qualify for Social Security disability benefits.
  3. You can receive benefits as a widow or divorcee – If you are 60 or older and your spouse dies, you may be eligible for widow’s benefits. You could be eligible at the age of 50 if you are disabled as well. Additionally, you may be eligible at an earlier age if you are caring for a child that’s younger than 16. You can also receive benefits as a divorcee. You could be eligible for benefits based on your ex-spouse’s employment if they are eligible for retirement or disability benefits. To qualify, you’ll need to have been married for at least ten years, be currently unmarried and be 62 or older.  
  4. You can receive assistance if you’re a victim of family violence – The Social Security Administration aims to help victims of family violence by assigning a new number to make it easier to evade the abuser.
  5. You can receive retirement benefits – Generally speaking, you’ll need ten years of work – or 40 credits – to qualify for retirement benefits. Full retirement age is 65-67 (depending on the year you were born), but you can choose to begin receiving benefits at 62. However, you will receive fewer benefits if you do.
  6. You can receive SSI if your income is limited – If you have limited income and are 65 or older, or you are either blind or disabled, then you may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. You can apply for SSI benefits online.
  7. Your family can receive benefits when you die – Your family could be eligible for benefits based on the work you’ve done if you pass away. To qualify, a surviving spouse must be over the age of 60 or disabled and over the age of 50. They can also qualify if they are caring for a child under the age of 16. If you have children under the age of 18, between 18 and 19 and in secondary school, or over the age of 18 and disabled, they can qualify as well.

These are seven things that women need to know about Social Security. For more information about qualifying for Social Security benefits as a woman, or about Social Security benefits in general, be sure to call (602) 952-3200 to schedule a free consultation with us at Social Security Disability Advocates USA today.

 

What are the Roles & Responsibilities of Representative Payees?

What are the Roles & Responsibilities of Representative Payees?

Social Security reprsentative payee

 

The Social Security Administration may determine that the best interest of a beneficiary would be better served by another person in the role of a representative payee. Two deciding factors the SSA uses to come to this decision include whether a beneficiary is experiencing a mental/physical condition or their young age.

Once the SSA appoints a representative payee to a beneficiary, the rep is tasked with a number of responsibilities.

The Responsibilities of Representative Payees for Social Security Benefits

Children under the age of 18 who do not know how to properly handle their funds or who have difficulty remembering, reasoning or planning for their future will not be able to manage their Social Security benefits on their own. There is a danger that they will misuse their funds when certain bills need to be paid. This is why the Social Security Administration will appoint a representative payee for them. The responsibilities of the representative payee include the following:

  • Pay for current needs – First and foremost, the representative payee will be legally obligated to take care of the individual’s current needs. These needs include their housing costs (such as rent or mortgage payments), their utility bills (such as gas and electricty), their food and medical expenses (such as health insurance and prescription medications), as well as their dental expenses, and personal care items or clothing needs.
  • Pay off other obligations – Once the individual’s current needs are met, the remainder of the Social Security benefits can be used towards paying off past-due bills, used to provide financial support to the individual’s dependents or used towards entertainment for the individual (such as taking them out to a restaurant or paying for cable).
  • Pay for disability needs – If an individual receiving Social Security disability benefits lives in a hospital or a nursing home, then the representative payee should also use their benefits to pay for the cost of their care as well as to pay for any personal necessities resulting from their disability.
  • Keep accurate records – The representative payee needs to keep accurate records of the Social Security benefits that the recipient is receiving and how they are being spent. This information needs to be regularly reported to the Social Security Administration to ensure that the representative payee is managing the individual’s benefits properly.

If the individual receiving benefits gets a job, stops working, gets married, takes a trip outside of the country, goes to jail, receives money from another source, is admitted to a hospital, is applying for additional help from the welfare department or is no longer disabled, then they are obligated to inform the representative payee.

How Representative Payees are Chosen

Typically, the Social Security Administration will appoint a family member or friend of the recipient as the representative payee. This usually occurs when someone who knows the beneficiary requests to become their representative payee. Beneficiaries are also allowed to request specific people as their representative payees.

If there are no family members or friends available or willing to become the representative payee of a beneficiary, the Social Security Administration will turn to qualified organizations to act as the representative payee on the beneficiary’s behalf. These organizations are often social service agencies, such as nursing homes.

The Social Security Administration works with the ISN Corporation (Information Systems Network & Corporation), which performs nationwide site reviews for organizational and individual representative payees that are pre-selected.

Want to Know More?

For more information on the roles and responsibilities of representative payees of Social Security beneficiaries, be sure to contact us 24/7 at Social Security Disability Advocates USA by calling (602) 952-3200 for a free consultation today.  

Social Security: What are Representative Payees?

Social Security: What are Representative Payees?

Social Security representative payees

When an individual who receives Social Security benefits is not able to put them to proper use due to a mental/physical condition or because of their young age, the Social Security Administration (SSA) may appoint a person or organization as that individual’s representative payee. Social Security representative payees are people or organizations that manage an individual’s Social Security benefits on their behalf.

Why is a Representative Payee Needed?

If the SSA determines that it is in the best “interest” of a beneficiary to be appointed a representative payee, it usually means that the individual will have difficulty remembering, reasoning or understanding the consequences of their actions, thereby limiting their ability to plan for their financial future.This is a problem because it means that when they receive their money, they are most likely unable to use it in an appropriate manner, such as to pay their bills.

Representative payee’s help ensure that beneficiaries are not left without because of a missed payment and lack of money to purchase daily essentials. They do this by managing an individual’s Social Security benefits in the follow ways:

  • Put beneficiary money towards current needs, such as housing costs, utility costs, food, medical expenses, dental expenses, clothing and personal care items.
  • Once those current needs are paid for, they must delegate the rest of the individual’s Social Security benefits towards past-due bills, to help support any dependents the individual might have or to provide entertainment.

The representative payee is also required to keep records of how the Social Security benefits are being managed and report the information to the Social Security Administration.

How Social Security Representative Payees Are Chosen

The first step that the Social Security Administration will take is to try and find a close family member or friend who is willing to serve as the representative payee. This tends to be the best way to choose a representative payee since it will be someone the individual knows and that they can trust.

To become a representative payee, you will need to complete the Representative Payee Accounting Report online. Anyone that wants to become the Representative Payee that is under the age of 18 will need to complete a paper Representative Payee Report via the mail.

If a person, such as a family member or friend, cannot be found to take on the duties of a representative payee, then the Social Security Administration will find an organization or professional individual to act as the representative payee. They do this through their partnership with ISN Corporation (Information Systems Network & Corporation). The ISN Corporation performs nationwide site reviews for organizations and individuals who are pre-selected Social Security representative payees.

What to do if a Representative Payee is Needed

If a person you know is receiving Social Security benefits but you believe them to be incapable of managing their funds, then you should call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 to schedule an appointment so that they can address your concerns.
For more information about Social Security representative payees or about Social Security benefits in general, be sure to contact us at Social Security Disability Advocates USA today. You can also call us at (602) 952-3200 in order to schedule a free consultation.