blog

Low-Impact Exercises: Boosting Mood and Energy

Low-Impact Exercises: Boosting Mood and Energy

how to properly exercise with a mobility disability
SSDA USA is here to help you learn how to properly exercise with a mobility disability.

Living with a disability comes with its own set of challenges. For those who acquired a disability later in life, you may find that you have to learn new ways to adapt to continue enjoying activities that you have done in the past. However, as you know that your disability doesn’t define you, you also know that there are plenty of low-impact exercises that can help boost your energy and mood. However, if you find yourself struggling to exercise because of your disability, read on for some helpful tips about how to properly exercise with a mobility disability.

What Are the Benefits of Exercise?

It has been demonstrated time and again that physical activity is good for the body and the mind. Much research has shown that people—including those living with a disability—are better off when they exercise. Everyone can benefit from physical activity. Some possible improvements include:

  • Improved sleep
  • Elevated mood
  • Stronger muscles and bones
  • Healthier heart
  • A more positive mindset
  • Decreased risk of diabetes and some cancers
  • Greater energy levels
  • And more . . .

Speak With Your Doctor

Before you begin an exercise regimen, you should first speak with a medical professional who is familiar with your medical history. Everyone’s disability is different, and depending on the circumstances, you may be able to safely engage in certain exercises and not others. It’s important you get clearance from your doctor so you don’t injure yourself while exercising.

For example, if your bones are frail, high intensity exercises may not be ideal. Stick to exercises you can enjoy safely while also reaping the benefits of increased mood and energy. Again, it’s important to know how to properly exercise with a mobility disability before starting a routine, so speak with your medical service provider to help assure you do so safely.

NOTE: There are plenty of other things you should consider to lead a healthy life, such as receiving a proper diet and beneficial therapy. Exercise is only one facet of staying fit, so speak to your doctor about all the things you can do to improve your health.

Try Some New Exercises

With that being said, there are plenty of exercises available for you to try. Exercises are generally divided into three types: cardiovascular/aerobic, strength building, and flexibility development.

Cardiovascular/Aerobic

Cardiovascular/aerobic exercises get your heart pumping and your lungs breathing faster. These exercises are designed to keep your heart healthy and strong and increase your endurance and stamina.

Even people with disabilities have options when it comes to cardiovascular activity. Here are some exercises to consider:

  • Walking or Light Jogging—If you are able, consider regularly walking or doing some light jogging. It doesn’t have to be for long. Even ten minutes can get your heart pumping.
  • Sports—There are plenty of sports that involve cardio, including tennis, badminton, table tennis, and racquetball. Ask your doctor which sports are safe for you to participate in.
  • Swimming—Some light swimming or aqua therapy could be more to your liking. You’ll get excellent cardio activity in the water, for sure.
  • Cycling—You can get on a bike or even on an elliptical machine to get the cardio you need. If you’re in a wheelchair, you could have an arm elliptical fitted for your upper body, too.
  • Resistance Band Exercises—Using a resistance band can get the blood flowing quickly. Just don’t strain yourself!
  • Air-punching—If you’re in a wheelchair, even punching the air can provide sufficient cardio activity. The point isn’t to stress yourself; it’s to elevate your heartbeat and breathing rate.
  • E-sports—There are tons of video games that can give you some cardio activity. For example, bowling on the Nintendo Wii, or even certain real-time strategy games can elevate your heart rate. In fact, research has shown that playing some e-sports exposes you to similar strains as athletes in conventional sports!

Strength Building

Living a sedentary lifestyle can cause muscles and bones to atrophy over time. This can be especially challenging for people with disabilities. Not to worry, though. There are still exercises that can maintain and build strength.

  • Resistance Band Exercises—You can use resistance bands for arm and leg extensions, shoulder rotations, and even pull-downs.
  • Weight-lifting—Bicep and tricep curls are great possibilities, as well as shoulder presses and maybe even bench presses.
  • Isometric Exercises—These exercises involve flexing muscles while staying stationary, e.g. planking or squatting. If you have little mobility, you should consider isometric exercises to help maintain your strength. Remember: How to properly exercise with a mobility disability doesn’t depend on how vigorous the exercise is, but on whether the exercise is affecting the right areas of the body.

Flexibility Development

It’s important to stay limber to alleviate pain and loss of energy. To do this, practice flexibility exercises as follows:

  • Stretching—The simplest way to gain flexibility is stretching. From your arms to your legs, your back to your neck, there are many routines available to keep your joints and muscles loose and nimble.
  • Yoga—Here is a way to improve not only your physical health but also your emotional and spiritual well-being. Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years, and flexibility is only one benefit from the proper technique.
  • Tai Chi—This practice, along with some other martial arts, can increase flexibility, balance, and equanimity in individuals. Make sure you use proper form, however. Try tai chi in group sessions with an expert so you know you’re doing the moves correctly.

Develop a Routine

Once you’ve found the exercises you want to participate in, you should develop a routine so achieve a daily physical activity goal. Exercising every once in a while is not enough to stay physically healthy. Instead, routinely exercise by examining and planning the following steps:

  • Aim for a Realistic Goal—You should begin with a goal in your mind. Not just any goal, but a realistic one. Goals like, “I want to lose 150 pounds in one week” may not come true. Instead, think of something that you can realistically achieve that you would be willing to work towards.
  • Take Baby Steps—Once you have your goal, begin with small but incremental steps. Your goal could be to improve your heart health, or to enhance your mood, or to raise your energy levels, etc. No matter your goal, you probably won’t achieve it in one day. That’s OK. Realize that anything worth doing is worth doing right, and it’s certainly worth the time and effort you’ll be putting in.
  • Maintain Diligence—The toughest part is sticking with your exercise routine. Many people give up after a month (or even sooner), and this is what drives people into disappointment. You should know that there will be mental and emotional blocks to exercising, as well as physical ones. But don’t focus on the obstacles; focus on your goal and improving your overall health.
  • Gradually Increase Workload—As you continue to exercise, your routine may naturally become easier. This is a good sign! If your exercises become too elementary, you can gradually move on to more intense exercises to gain even more benefits for your cardiovascular system, your muscles and bones, and your flexibility. You should aim for approximately 150 minutes of exercise per week for optimal results.

Have Questions about Disability?

Exercising with a disability can be challenging. What can be even more challenging, however, is not receiving social security disability benefits that may help pay for healthy food and adaptive equipment. If you have concerns about your disability and social security, contact Social Security Disability Advocates USA today for a free consultation. Call us anytime at (602) 952-3200 or visit us on the web and fill out a contact form. You can also chat with us through our LiveChat feature. Don’t wait; get in touch with an advocate today!

This is attorney advertising. SSDA, LLC is a group of attorneys that pursues claims for Social Security Disability benefits on behalf of its clients against the Social Security Administration. SSDA, LLC is in no way a part of the Social Security Administration. Further, the information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a representative-client relationship.

9 Myths and Facts about Disability

9 Myths and Facts about Disability

myths and facts about disability
The myths and facts about disability can be difficult to distinguish. SSDA USA is here with clarification.

There are many myths and misconceptions about living with a disability. This misinformation can be hurtful and damaging to people with a disability. That is why it’s important to stay informed and up to date on the myths and facts about disability so unfounded prejudices don’t form, and so disabled individuals are treated with more understanding and acceptance. Social Security Disability Advocates USA is here with some of the most common myths and facts about disability to help guide you in the right direction.

Myth 1: People with Disabilities Always Need Help

FACT: The truth is that not everyone with a disability requires constant assistance. Depending on how severe a person’s disability is, a person with a disability (PwD) may actually be mostly independent. Don’t assume that a person with a disability always needs help. It’s true that some PwDs may require more help than others; this is not under dispute. However, don’t assume this for every disabled person you encounter. Anyone is free to offer assistance, but PwDs may often prefer to be responsible for themselves whenever possible.

Myth 2: Blind People Have Other Heightened Senses

FACT: People living with a visual impairment don’t necessarily develop better hearing or a “sixth sense,” as some people may believe. While it’s true that a blind person may be more in touch with their sense of hearing (and may even possess perfect pitch), this isn’t anything superhuman. Similarly, some blind people may develop an echolocation ability, but this is something people without visual impairment can do, as well. It is true that the brain can rewire itself to function in different ways when a person becomes blind. However, results vary for every individual, and going blind doesn’t necessarily mean a person’s other senses will greatly improve. Though, such improvements are quite possible.  

Myth 3: All People in Wheelchairs Are Equally Disabled

FACT: Not everyone using a wheelchair suffers from the same disability. Some people may have no use of their legs and therefore require a wheelchair. Others, however, may still be able to walk, but not for long distances. Use of a wheelchair does not reveal the degree of a person’s disability.

Regardless of the degree of disability, people in wheelchairs are also not “wheelchair bound,” as some believe. A wheelchair is a mode of transportation, similar to a bicycle or scooter. But in various settings, e.g. restaurants, wheelchair users may prefer to use the seats provided. It’s all a personal preference.

Myth 4: People with Disabilities Are Brave and Courageous

FACT: Living with a disability doesn’t require bravery or courage. What is required, however, is an ability to adapt to a different lifestyle. Keep in mind, people with disabilities often don’t see themselves as brave or courageous. And why should they? They are simply living their lives in the best way they can. For them, living with a wheelchair, learning difficulty, cognitive impairment, or some other disability is nothing extraordinary; it’s just how things are. It’s not an achievement to live with a disability. Rather, to live with a disability is to live a different way of life that requires an adjustment of behavior and attitude.

Myth 5: People with Disabilities Should Be Treated Differently

FACT: To treat people with disabilities differently because of their disability would be a form of discrimination. While it’s true that some PwDs require accommodations—e.g. ramps instead of stairs—this does not mean they deserve less respect or lower standards/expectations. In fact, many PwDs can perform their jobs just as well if not better than their non-disabled coworkers.

Don’t pity or look down upon PwDs. They are humans and worthy of respect, just like you. Living with a disability isn’t something a person should pity or frown upon. Rather, the true tragedy is the fact that many establishments lack necessary equipment that would allow accessibility for disabled individuals.

Myth 6: Having a Disability Makes a Person Incapable

FACT: Well, this depends on what the disability is, and what the person is able and willing to try to do. For instance, a person with an amputated leg may need specially devised equipment to figure skate. However, living with a disability doesn’t make a person incapable of everything. What matters most is focusing on what a person can do, not on what they can’t do.

While a person’s disability may be a hindrance in some regards, it’s not the defining characteristic of the person. There have been blind and deaf musicians, painters without arms, and mathematicians with mental illness. PwDs more often than not can learn to adapt and still achieve their dreams, even with their disabilities.

Many PwDs today try to take advantage of joining mainstream society. Oftentimes, PwDs wish to be seen as regular people, not as different or “other.” To do this, PwDs show that they are just as capable as anyone else, and they often succeed in that endeavor.

Myth 7: People with Disabilities Prefer “Their Own Kind”

FACT: It’s not fair to assume that disabled individuals would want to interact with only other disabled individuals. Some PwDs enjoy interacting with other PwDs, while some keep their company limited to those without disabilities. Just as we all have our own preferences and prejudices, so too do PwDs have their preferences and prejudices. Just as it’s unfair to assume the people you associate with, it’s equally unfair to assume whom a PwD would associate with.

Myth 8: Children Shouldn’t Ask Questions about Disabilities

FACT: Sometimes, children may ask questions that adults may find embarrassing or surprising. This is OK, however. Don’t discourage your children from asking questions about PwDs. By discouraging them from asking questions, you are implicitly saying that knowledge of disability is taboo, forbidden, or otherwise undesirable. Remember, PwDs are not inferior, and it’s understandable that children will have many questions about the way PwDs live. Rather than instructing them not to ask questions, you should instead direct the phrasing of their questions to be mindful and respectful, so as to not offend. Most PwDs will be happy to answer questions about living with a disability.

Myth 9: Everyone with a Disability Qualifies for SSDI

FACT: Not everyone will qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Keep in mind, the Social Security Administration (SSA) defines disability in the following way:

  1. You have a condition that hinders you from working and earning Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA), and
  2. Your condition has lasted/will last for at least a total of 12 months or will result in your death.

Additionally, to qualify for SSDI, a person must have a certain number of work credits, which is dependent on a person’s age and may not equal the amount of credits needed for retirement benefits.

With this information in mind, it’s important for PwDs to assess whether they qualify for SSDI benefits. If a person is able to work and participate in SGA, that person will, generally speaking, not qualify for SSDI. There are, however, some conditions that will automatically qualify a person for disability, according to the SSA’s Blue Book; certain physical and mental conditions may require less scrutiny during the evaluation process because of the nature of the condition.

Have Questions on the Myths and Facts about Disability?

Living with a disability can be a challenge, but Social Security Disability Advocates is here to help. If you have questions or concerns about disability benefits, contact us right away. You can give us a call anytime at (602) 952-3200 or contact us through an online contact form or LiveChat feature. Don’t let your questions bottle up; get in touch with SSDA USA today!

This is attorney advertising. SSDA, LLC is a group of attorneys that pursues claims for Social Security Disability benefits on behalf of its clients against the Social Security Administration. SSDA, LLC is in no way a part of the Social Security Administration. Further, the information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a representative-client relationship.

What’s New with Social Security in 2020?

What’s New with Social Security in 2020?

changes for 2020 social security benefits
Do you know the changes for 2020 social security benefits?

The new year is around the corner, and with it comes some much-anticipated news about social security benefits. Social Security Disability Advocates USA is here with everything you need to know about the upcoming year’s social security adjustments.

2020 Social Security Adjustments

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently announced that the 2020 Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) amount to a 1.6% increase. While this isn’t as much as 2019’s 2.8% increase, the COLA news is one of the most important changes for 2020 social security benefits.

As a result, the average retired worker will receive approximately $24 more in their social security check each month. While it’s not much, it’s better than receiving no boost at all—as was the case in 2009, 2010, and 2015.

Additionally, beneficiaries of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will receive more, too. Individuals will receive $783/month (up $12 from $771/month), and couples will receive $1,175/month (up $18 from $1,157/month).

One of the most important changes for 2020 social security benefits, though, is the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) adjustment. The threshold amount went up across the board, meaning that disabled workers can earn more money without fear of losing their benefits. 2020 SGA is $2,110/month for blind individuals (up $70 from $2,040/month) and $1,260/month for non-blind individuals (up $40 from $1,220). Again, while not much, this allows disabled workers some additional freedom to work without losing benefits.

In tandem with SGA adjustments comes a raised Trial Work Period (TWP) amount. Trial Work Periods occur when a disabled worker wishes to attempt going back to work while still receiving full Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. If a disabled worker earns more than the TWP threshold amount for nine months out of a 60-month period, their benefits may be suspended. For 2020, the TWP threshold amount went up $30 from $880/month to $910/month, giving workers more breathing room before having their income count toward their TWP.

Other changes for 2020 social security benefits aren’t necessarily so positive. For instance, The maximum taxable earnings went up across the board. For Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI), the amount went up from $132,900 to $137,700. Furthermore, the amount for a social security work credit (known as a quarter of coverage) went up from $1,360 to $1,410, meaning that workers must earn more to receive credits that count towards SSDI and retirement benefits. 

Tips for the Future

With all the changes for 2020 social security benefits in mind, what should you do? Well, it’s not always easy to know what to do. But SSDA USA is here with some guidance.

  • Consider Working More—If you are approaching retirement or have already retired, a 1.6% COLA may seem like it’s not enough. And for many senior citizens, it isn’t. This is why, sometimes, continuing to work can help offset a low COLA. Consider consulting for your previous field of work, or trying to turn your hobby into a profit.
  • Maintain Other Sources of Income—Remember, social security retirement benefits are not meant (and never were meant) to replace your full source of income. They only cover about 40% of your earnings. Therefore, it’s highly suggested that you maintain other sources of income, e.g. retirement savings accounts, pensions, etc., in your golden years.
  • Consult a Lawyer—If you have questions about your social security benefits, reach out to a Social Security Disabilities lawyer today. SSDA USA can help you through the entire application process and can inform you about the benefits tailored for you.

Have Questions about the 2020 Changes for Social Security Benefits?

If you have any social security questions or concerns, get in touch with Social Security Disability Advocates USA. Our advocates are ready and standing by to address all your social security needs. Get in touch with us by calling (602) 952-3200 , or contact us online via a contact form or our LiveChat feature. Don’t keep your questions bottled up; chat with us today!

This is attorney advertising. SSDA, LLC is a group of attorneys that pursues claims for Social Security Disability benefits on behalf of its clients against the Social Security Administration. SSDA, LLC is in no way a part of the Social Security Administration. Further, the information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a representative-client relationship.

5 Critical SSDI Facts Everyone Needs to Know

5 Critical SSDI Facts Everyone Needs to Know

critical SSDI facts
There are five critical SSDI facts everyone should know, and SSDA USA is here to present them to you.

If you’re collecting social security disability benefits, you know just how complicated and complex it can be to navigate the application and acceptance processes. Unfortunately, there are still many misconceptions and hidden truths about social security. Social Security Disability Advocates USA wants you to be well informed about your benefits. So, here is a list of some of the most critical SSDI facts to keep in mind.

1. You Cannot Receive SSDI and Retirement Benefits Concurrently

Generally speaking, your disability benefits convert to retirement benefits once you reach full retirement age. Disability and retirement benefits are not stackable sources of social security. Therefore, don’t expect to receive both at the same time.

There is, however, one exception to this rule, and that exception is if you choose to take early retirement benefits and get qualified for a disability that began before you took your retirement. This means that social security will pay you for the difference during the gap from when your disability began to when you claimed retirement benefits.

If, however, your Disability Determination and Services (DDS) center finds that your disability began after you claimed retirement benefits, or that you don’t qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits at all, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will not pay you for the intermediary period, and you will be stuck with reduced Social Security Insurance (SSI) retirement benefits.

Keep in mind, your retirement benefits increase all the way up until age 70. So, taking benefits at age 62 (the minimum age required for retirement benefits) will permanently reduce your benefits by possibly hundreds of dollars per month. Still, taking early retirement benefits may be ideal for some people. Speak with a lawyer from SSDA USA if you have any questions on how this could affect you. 

2. SSDI Will Not Be Depleted

Many people are worried that social security will be depleted. However, these fears are unfounded. True, though, that social security does face challenges. Baby boomers are retiring, and the low birth rate means that the current population will struggle to pay for the previous generation’s social security benefits. However, social security will stay afloat.

Currently, the social security trust funds are running with trillions of dollars in surplus. That’s fine for now, but by 2034, those trust funds may be emptied. Even so, though, the payroll tax is enough to continue social security benefits at approximately 80% of current value. So, there’s no need to worry about bankruptcy or insolvency. At worst, social security benefits will take a huge hit, but benefits will not run dry.

3. Benefits May Not Remain the Same

While social security benefits won’t run dry, they may not remain the same, either. Specifically, there are a variety of strategies for dealing with the issue of the trust funds being depleted. 

Some have suggested raising the FICA tax. Others have suggested cutting benefits. Others still have suggested raising the taxable maximum income cap, cutting the COLA, and changing eligibility requirements. Regardless of which option(s) is chosen, benefits could be affected across the board for both current and future beneficiaries.

4. Benefits Are Not Equal for Everyone

SSDI benefits are not the same for everyone. They are similar to retirement benefits in that they are based on your income during the years you worked. Therefore, higher-earning individuals will generally receive more (up to a cap) than those who worked fewer years or who earned a lesser amount of income.

However, if you don’t qualify for SSDI, or if your SSDI is insubstantial, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) may be able to aid you. This type of social security benefit aids those who are disabled, elderly, or blind and who have not worked enough to qualify for SSDI. Keep in mind, though, that there are some additional qualifications you must meet for SSI eligibility. Contact SSDA USA if you have any questions. 

5. The COLA Matters

The Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) is a key factor in calculating social security benefits. The COLA adjusts social security benefits to account for current inflation levels. In other words, as the cost of living goes up, social security benefits will receive a boost. 

The COLA is important because without it, benefits would remain stagnant and not adjust for inflation. This means that as the cost of living continues to rise, people would receive increasingly insufficient funds to depend on. That’s not good, and it’s why the COLA is calculated yearly to give people a bit of a boost as the cost of living rises. 

Have Questions About Critical SSDI Facts?

If you have questions or concerns about any critical SSDI facts, contact Social Security Disability Advocates USA today. Our attorneys are ready and standing by to help address all your social security needs and worries. Call us anytime at (602) 952-3200. You can also reach us online via a contact form or through our convenient LiveChat feature. Don’t keep your questions bottled up. Contact an advocate today!

This is attorney advertising. SSDA, LLC is a group of attorneys that pursues claims for Social Security Disability benefits on behalf of its clients against the Social Security Administration. SSDA, LLC is in no way a part of the Social Security Administration. Further, the information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a representative-client relationship.

How the New Public Charge Rules Affect Your Social Security

How the New Public Charge Rules Affect Your Social Security

Public charge rules and social security
Some are concerned about the interactions between public charge rules and social security. Social Security Disability Advocates USA is here with the scoop.

The Department of Homeland Security recently announced changes to its public charge rules that could affect many people seeking entry into the United States. Some may worry that their social security benefits could be affected when the new changes take place. Social Security Disability Advocates USA is here to set the record straight.

The Public Charge Changes

On August 14, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced changes to its public charge rules. Generally speaking, the changes allow broader discretionary power to adjudicators evaluating foreign nationals’ entries, and the changes create stricter standards that must be met. The changes have also extended public charge rules to non-immigrants. These changes take effect on October 15, 2019 to all future reviews, as well as to all reviews that are pending on the effective date. Here is a rundown of those changes:

Benefits Covered

When a foreign national is deemed a “public charge,” it means that they will likely become too dependent on government resources, and are therefore ineligible for entry into the United States. The recent changes have adjusted which benefits are examined when determining whether someone is likely to become a public charge. If the applicant has received any of these following benefits for an aggregate period of 12 months out of a 36-month period, they will be rendered ineligible for entry. The benefits that are evaluated are the following:

  • Benefits from federal, state, local, or tribal sources for the purposes of income maintenance and upkeep. This includes Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) resources
  • Some federal housing benefits. This includes Section 8 Housing Assistance or Project-based Rental Assistance
  • Most forms of Medicaid 

Benefits Not Covered

The benefits that are not factored into public charge evaluation include the following:

  • Federal or state-granted retirement benefits. This includes social security retirement benefits.
  • Social Security Disability benefits. This includes Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
  • Benefits an individual earns through payroll and other tax deductions, e.g. unemployment benefits
  • Affordable Care Act health insurance tax credits
  • Medicare
  • Medicaid benefits if they’re being received by 1) persons under 21, or 2) pregnant women, or 3) women up to 60 days after their final day of pregnancy, or 4) people with emergency medical conditions
  • Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) benefits
  • Primary and secondary student services originating from schools, e.g. school lunches
  • Disaster relief resources
  • Job and career training programs
  • Child care resources and services

NOTE: Benefits received by a child, spouse, or some other beneficiary would not count against the principal applicant. This remains true unless the principal applicant is also listed as a beneficiary. Furthermore, some covered benefits received by members of the armed forces or their families and by children gaining citizenship status according to the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 would not be counted against the principal applicant.

Adjustments of Status

When an applicant applies for an adjustment of status, not only must they prove that they haven’t received any covered benefits for 12 months out of a 36-month period, but they must also prove they are self-sufficient. Therefore, they must submit a declaration of self-sufficiency along with concrete evidence supporting their claim.

In addition to this, an immigration officer now has broad authority to consider the following factors in determining whether the applicant will become a public charge anytime in the near future:

  • Age—applicants who are younger than 18 years of age or who are older than the minimum retirement age (which is usually 62) must explain in depth why their age will not hinder them from working
  • Health—applicants must have no health issues that would interfere with their ability to attend school, work, or care for themselves properly
  • Family size—adjudicators will examine the total household size, including dependents and those who aid more than 50% of their support to the applicant
  • Education—applicants must have sufficient education to be able to avoid becoming a public charge. Such educational criteria might include English speaking skills, high school diplomas or GEDs, university degrees, and other licenses or certificates.
  • Skills—applicants must have sufficient skills and knowledge in order to hold a job that will sustain them. Such skills may include whether they are a caregiver in their household. Additionally, factors such as employment history may be considered.
  • Financial situation—the applicant’s household must have an income sufficient enough to avoid becoming a public charge. This is, at minimum, 125% of the Federal Poverty Guideline (FPG).

If an applicant is found to likely be a public charge, they could post a bond of $8,100 minimum to elude the grounds of inadmissibility.

Non-Immigrants

Non-immigrants are a new category of individuals affected by these public charge changes. Foreign nationals who apply for an extension or change of immigrant status must show they have not received any covered benefits for 12 months out of the 36-month period that occurred after they obtained the immigration status they are seeking to extend or change. However, whether they are likely to become a public charge is not considered when evaluating the extension/change of status.

Exemptions

Certain foreign nationals do not have to worry about these public charge rules. The people excluded from such criteria are the following:

  • United States citizens
  • The majority of lawful permanent residents
  • Some adoptees
  • Other foreign nationals deemed exempt, including asylees, refugees, human trafficking victims, victims of domestic violence or certain other crimes, and Special Immigrant Juvenilles

Should You Worry about Your Benefits?

The short answer is no. While these rules affect certain foreign nationals seeking entry into the United States, your social security benefits should remain unaffected. Even the benefits of such foreign nationals will most likely remain untouched; the only thing to keep in mind is that some social security benefits could negatively impact a foreign national’s chances of having their application accepted.

Even then, social security disability benefits simply don’t disappear. There are strict rules and guidelines governing social security benefits. These rules are independent and separate from public charge rules governing the admission/change of status of immigrants and foreign nationals.

So put your worries aside. The change in public charge rules most likely won’t affect you or your social security. If you do have any questions, however, feel free to contact Social Security Disability Advocates USA for a free consultation.

Have Questions about the Public Charge Rules and Social Security Benefits?

If you have any questions or concerns about the public charge rules and social security, contact SSDA USA today. Our attorneys are standing by and ready to address all your social security queries. Call us anytime at (602) 952-3200. You can also reach us online via our LiveChat feature or through a contact form. Don’t keep your questions to yourself; get in touch with SSDA USA today!

This is attorney advertising. SSDA, LLC is a group of attorneys that pursues claims for Social Security Disability benefits on behalf of its clients against the Social Security Administration. SSDA, LLC is in no way a part of the Social Security Administration. Further, the information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a representative-client relationship.