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Name Changes, Earnings, and Social Security Benefits

Name Changes, Earnings, and Social Security Benefits

Social Security Card

If you qualified for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and are currently collecting Social Security benefits, then you may think that there’s nothing left for you to do. However, although you don’t generally need to do additional work after you qualify, you do have to report to the Social Security Administration if certain changes occur.

Changes to Report When Collecting Social Security Benefits

If you are collecting Social Security benefits, then it’s your legal responsibility to report any changes that occur that could affect them. You are required to report changes no later than ten days after the month in which these changes occurred.

The following are some of the changes that you will have to report to the Social Security Administration because they may affect your Social Security benefits in some way:

  • You get a job – If you are receiving disability payments, then you must report any job that you get. You’ll be given a trial period that will allow you to keep your benefits for nine months while you work – after that if you can continue working, then you’re no longer eligible for the benefits you were receiving. However, the Social Security Administration may pay for some of your work-related expenses incurred because of your disability.
  • You begin collecting other disability benefits – If you have SSDI and you begin receiving other disability benefits, then your SSDI benefits may be reduced. Your benefits will be adjusted to ensure that you don’t receive more than 80 percent of your average current earnings were before you experienced your disability.
  • You begin receiving a pension from a previous job – You will need to report any pension that you begin receiving from a job that did not pay Social Security taxes. Your SSDI benefits may be reduced as a result.
  • Your name changes – If you change your name because you have divorced your spouse or you have gotten married, you need to report this to the Social Security Administration to ensure that you get your benefits under your new name, whether it’s for SSDI or SSI benefits. You will be required to provide official documents or official copies proving your legal name change (such as a marriage certificate or divorce decree), documents proving your identity and U.S. citizenship (if they’re not already on record) and a new application for a Social Security card.
  • Your income or assets changes – If you’re receiving SSI, then you must report changes to your income or the assets you have to your name.
  • The people you live with changes – If you’re receiving SSI benefits, you’ll need to report if the number of people living in your home changes – or if you begin living in someone else’s home.

You are legally obligated to report any changes that can affect your Social Security benefits. For more advice concerning your benefits or to schedule a free consultation, call (602) 952-3200 today to speak to one of our Social Security Disability Advocates 24/7. 

What is the Your Ticket to Work Program?

What is the Your Ticket to Work Program?

Back to Work Sign

In order to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you have to prove that you are no longer able to work due to your disability. However, in many cases that doesn’t mean that you’ll never be able to work again. In fact, the Social Security Administration has a program that you can join called Your Ticket to Work that can help you join the workforce again despite your disabilities.

About the Your Ticket to Work Program

Although many people collect disability payments because they are no longer able to perform their previous job, few people enjoy being able to live off of those disability benefits. Many people enjoyed what they did for work, and many people would prefer not to be dependent on a government program to make ends meet. They want to be financially independent.

The Your Ticket to Work program helps such individuals to rejoin the workforce despite their disability. It is a free and voluntary program that can help you to:

  • Decide whether you want to rejoin the workforce.
  • Prepare you for going back to work.
  • Find a job or to maintain the success you have at your job while working.

The program can help you with these things by providing career counseling, vocational rehabilitation and job placement, and training through numerous authorized service providers, such as your state Vocational Rehabilitation agency or through Employment Networks.

Qualifying for the Program

Anyone between the age of 18 and 64 that is receiving either Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or both is eligible to participate. 

All you need to do is to contact the Ticket to Work help line by calling 1-(866) 968-7842 or (866) 833-2967. A customer service representative will determine your eligibility and then provide you with more thorough information on how the program works. They can also answer any questions that you might have. They will even provide you with a list of service providers.

Participating in the Program

In return for having access to the program’s many resources, participants must agree to meet certain milestones established through a personal plan that’s developed with their service provider. These milestones could include working at specific earnings or completing specific educational or training requirements.

As you make timely progress, you’ll hopefully gain employment and remain employed, thereby reducing your dependence on SSDI or SSI benefits and earning your way off of them, if possible.

Although being able to rejoin the workforce despite your disability and to become financially independent should be incentive for most to join the Your Ticket to Work program, the Social Security Administration has offered numerous other incentives for joining, such as a trial work period during which you’ll still receive full benefits as well as protection against Continuing Disability Reviews.

For more information about the Your Ticket to Work program or Social Security Disability Insurance in general, contact our Social Security Disability Advocates today for a free consultation by calling us 24/7 at (602) 952-3200.

Can I Still Receive Disability Benefits if I Have an Outstanding Arrest Warrant?

Can I Still Receive Disability Benefits if I Have an Outstanding Arrest Warrant?

Do You Have A Warrant

If you qualified for Social Security disability benefits and are currently collecting disability payments, don’t assume that there’s nothing that can disrupt those payments. For example, you may have some trouble remaining eligible for disability payments if you have an outstanding arrest warrant.

How an Arrest Can Affect Your Disability Benefits

First of all, when it comes to disability benefits and arrest records, it’s not all cut and dry. The following are some of the important things that you should know about how your disability benefits can be affected by an arrest:

  • Having an outstanding arrest warrant – If you have an outstanding warrant for your arrest that is for a felony crime or for a crime that is punishable by imprisonment or death, then you will not be eligible to receive your disability benefits during the period of time in which you have that outstanding warrant.
  • Being under arrest – If you are arrested or you turn yourself in for arrest as soon as the warrant for your arrest is released, you will still be able to collect disability benefits. You’ll want to make sure that you speak to a lawyer that has experience with Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) cases so that they can ensure that you still receive your benefits while you are under arrest.
  • Being incarcerated – If you are sentenced to prison, then you will no longer receive your disability benefits. This is because prisoners do not receive an income source when they are incarcerated. Even if you receive a sentence that is less than a month long, you will not receive benefits for that month.
  • Occasional release – Some prisoners will be temporarily released for short periods of time, whether it’s for a work release, hospitalization, or for school. If you receive such a release, you will still not be eligible for your disability benefits because you will still be considered confined.
  • Vocational rehabilitation program – If you agree to enter into an approved vocational rehabilitation program, your benefits will not cease.
  • Families of incarcerated individuals – If you are sentenced to prison but your family depends on your disability benefits for their household income, then they can still qualify for your disability benefits.

Avoiding your arrest warrant is not a way to continue getting your Social Security disability benefits since they will be suspended during the time period in which your warrant is active. You will still receive your benefits while under arrest until you are sentenced. 

If you are incarcerated for more than 30 days, your benefits will be temporarily suspended. However, if you are sentenced for longer than a year in jail, you will need to file a new disability application once you are released.

To schedule a free consultation with our Social Security Disability Advocates, be sure to contact us 24/7 by calling us at (602) 952-3200 today.

How Do You Earn Survivors Benefits?

How Do You Earn Survivors Benefits?

Your Earning Report

There are several Social Security Administration programs that provide financial aid to working Americans. Workers qualify for these programs through the payment of Social Security taxes on their income. In order to qualify for Social Security benefits, they must earn a certain number of Social Security credits, which are based on the amount that they have worked. Social Security survivors benefits are based on this credit system as well.

How do Social Security Credits Work?

A lot of people don’t know how Social Security credits work – or even realize that there is even a credit-based system in place. According to the Social Security Administration, the credits are the building blocks that help to determine benefit eligibility. If you haven’t earned enough credits, Social Security doesn’t have to give you benefits.

The way that you earn credits is relatively simple. The Social Security Administration looks at the amount of money that an individual has earned on which they pay Social Security payroll taxes. For 2017, you earn a credit for every $1,300 that you earn and pay Social Security payroll taxes on and upwards of four credits a year. This amount is adjusted for inflation every year. This means that if you earn $3,000 in 2017, you’ll get two credits. But if you make $30,000, you’ll only get four credits.

The amount of credits you need to earn disability benefits and retirement benefits are clear. You need at least 40 credits to earn retirement benefits, while the credit number of disability benefits depends a lot on the age of the individual applying for disability. However, the credit system isn’t as clear cut when it comes to survivors benefits.

Social Security Survivors Benefits Credits

Although the number of credits you need for your family to receive survivors benefits does vary quite a bit depending on a number of different factors, including age, the one clear rule is that nobody needs to have more than 40 credits to qualify for any type of Social Security benefits, which means that if you have at least 40 credits, your family will be able to collect survivors benefits if you pass.

Generally speaking, the younger you are when you die, the less credits you need for your family to be able to collect survivors benefits. However, the Social Security Administration is a little more flexible when it comes to survivors benefits as well due to the fact that spouses, ex-spouses, dependent parents and dependent children may need financial assistance once the individual in question passes away.

Because of this, the Social Security Administration does often pay out survivors benefits to the children and spouses of the deceased even if they don’t have enough credits. You will still be able to get benefits if you earn six credits within three years before your death.

For more information about Social Security survivors benefits or for a free consultation, contact us 24/7 at the Social Security Disability Advocates by calling  (602) 952-3200 today.

How Do You Apply for Survivors Benefits?

How Do You Apply for Survivors Benefits?

Department of Health Form

If your spouse or ex-spouse has recently passed away, then the last thing you’ll want to do is worry about your finances in your time of mourning. However, if your spouse or ex-spouse was responsible for a part of your family’s income, then you will want to find out if you are eligible for Social Security survivors benefits.

Survivor benefits can go a long way in helping to make up for the income you and your family lose due to the death of your spouse or ex-spouse. If you are eligible, then you’ll need to know how to apply for survivors benefits.

Applying for Social Security Survivors Benefits

The first thing you should be aware of is that you can’t apply for Social Security survivors benefits online. If you need to report a death or apply for benefits, you can call toll free or contact your local Social Security office. The following are the steps that you should take in order to apply for survivors benefits:

Inform the Social Security Administration about the deceased  

You need to inform the Social Security Administration of the death in question. This is especially true if the deceased was collecting retirement benefits since those will need to stop. The process will also be a lot easier if the deceased was collecting Social Security benefits since these can just be changed to survivors benefits.

You can report a death or apply for survivors benefits by either calling the Social Security Administration or by visiting your local Social Security office. You can schedule an appointment for visit without one. You’ll need to provide some documentation as well as answer some questions. However, if the deceased was not collecting Social Security benefits, you’ll be required to provide even more documentation.

Providing the proper documentation

If the deceased was not already collecting Social Security benefits, then the process of applying for survivors benefits is a little more involved. You will need to collect a number of different documents that are certified by the agencies that issued them. These documents include:

  • A death certificate for the deceased in question. 
  • Your social security number as well as the social security number of the deceased.
  • The social security numbers of any dependent children you have with the deceased.
  • The birth certificates of any dependent children you have with the deceased.
  • Your birth certificate.
  • Your marriage certificate or divorce papers (you can apply for benefits even if you are divorced depending on various factors). 
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status if you were not born in the United States.
  • The most recent W-2 form or federal tax return of the deceased.
  • Your bank and your account number (to allow for direct deposits of the survivors benefits if your application is approved). 

Dealing with financial issues can be stressful when you’re mourning the death of a loved one, but the sooner you apply for Social Security survivors benefits, the quicker you’ll begin receiving them. For a free consultation, call Social Security Disability Advocates 24/7 at (602) 952-3200 today.