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Can I Get Financial Aid While Waiting For Social Security Disability?

Can I Get Financial Aid While Waiting For Social Security Disability?

financial aid while waiting for disability

A recent study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is shedding new light on a widespread epidemic of financial insecurity affecting those who apply for Social Security disability benefits. 

The report, released last month, revealed that between 2014 and 2019, around 48,000 people filed for bankruptcy while awaiting a decision on their disability appeals. An additional 109,725 people died between 2008 and 2019 while waiting for their appeal.

This kind of delay is unacceptable, and low-income disabled Americans are particularly at risk during the economic downturn of the coronavirus pandemic. If you’re thinking about applying for disability benefits and are wondering if you can get financial aid while waiting for disability, this guide is for you. Find out more from the social security disability lawyers at Social Security Disability Advocates USA.

Does the Social Security Administration Provide Financial Aid While You Wait?

The Social Security disability application process can take a long time in and of itself. On top of this, first-time applicants are frequently denied. This means you can be waiting months or even years to get the disability benefits you need (unless your disability is severe enough to qualify you for compassionate allowance, in which case you may be automatically approved).

While a social security disability lawyer can help you streamline the process of getting approved for benefits, how you’ll generate income while waiting for disability is an important consideration. The Social Security Administration (SSA) does not automatically provide any intermediary assistance to those waiting for disability decisions. 

The only exception to this rule is if you qualify for expedited reinstatement—that is, you qualified for disability benefits in the past and lost your benefits due to earning too much money, but have been prevented from working again due to the same disability. In this case, the SSA will issue disability benefits in the interim while your case is reviewed.

If you are able to do so, you do have the option to work while you wait for your claim or appeal to be processed. However, you must not earn a monthly income of more than $1,260, which the SSA considers to be Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) and which may disqualify you from receiving Supplemental Security Income and affect your disability eligibility as well.

Where to Get Financial Aid While Waiting For Disability?

Although the SSA doesn’t offer any interim financial assistance for disability applicants, there are many state and local resources that may be able to help you stay afloat until your disability benefits are approved. Check out the following list of resources to help get you started.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) 

TANF is a short-term state-administered program designed to assist those who are pregnant or responsible for a child under the age of 19 who are also low-income, unemployed, or otherwise unable to work. TANF provides cash benefits to help you pay for food, shelter, utilities, and other living expenses. 

Each U.S. state has its own TANF program, so you will need to apply directly through your state of residence. See the Office of Family Assistance website for help applying.

Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP)

Also commonly known as food stamps, SNAP is another federally-funded, state-administered program that can provide financial assistance while waiting for disability in the form of a monthly stipend you can use at most grocery stores. See the U.S. Department of Agriculture website for information on eligibility and how to apply.

Other Department of Social Services Programs

For additional assistance, contact your local Department of Social Services, where you can find more information on child care, energy assistance, medical programs, and other forms of aid that may be available to you. If you have applied for SSI, many states also offer Interim Public Assistance loans to be repaid once you begin receiving benefits.

Department of Vocational Rehabilitation

Your state’s Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) may also be able to help you by providing an assessment by a physician of your current abilities and connecting you with available services. This assessment will not only help VR connect you with resources, but can also help document your disability and improve your chances of being approved for disability benefits.

Have More Questions About Disability Benefits?

To get help with applying for Social Security Disability programs, appealing a decision, or just to talk about all your SSDI legal options, contact Social Security Disability Advocates USA. 

We’ll schedule a free consultation to review your case and help you navigate locating financial aid while waiting for disability. Call us today at 602-952-3200, chat with us via LiveChat, or send us a message using our secure contact form

For more information about disability benefits, check out the ultimate disability secrets the SSA doesn’t want you to know and be sure to follow us on Facebook.

Can You Work Part-Time on Social Security Disability?

Can You Work Part-Time on Social Security Disability?

working part-time on disability

Whether you’re already receiving benefits or are just starting the social security disability application process, you may be wondering if working part-time on disability is an option. Even if you qualify for the maximum monthly disability benefits amount, you may still be looking at a significant decrease in your monthly income. The ability to hold down a part-time job could help you make the economic transition easier.

For this reason, the Social Security Administration (SSA) offers incentives and Ticket to Work programs for qualifying disability benefits recipients, which means you may be able to work a part-time job and still receive monthly benefits. Learn more about these programs and how to maximize your earnings from Social Security Disability Advocates USA.

Trial Work Period

A trial work period is a nine-month period which allows you to test your ability to work. During this time, you are allowed to work as much or as little as you are able to without giving up any of your monthly benefits. In order to use a trial work period, you’ll need to report your work to the SSA and you must still be disabled. 

As of 2020, any earnings over $910 per month automatically qualify you for a trial work period. The nine months of work may be consecutive or may amount to nine months of work within a 60-month period. As long as you do not work more than nine months in this time while earning over $910 per month and you are still disabled, you can still collect full benefits during your trial work period. 

Extended Period of Eligibility

After your trial work period expires, you may be granted an additional 36-month extended period of eligibility. In this case, you can continue working part-time on disability while collecting full benefits as long as your earnings are not considered by the SSA to be “substantial”.

The SSA defines Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) as any monthly earnings over $1,260 except for those who receive disability for vision problems. Blind workers may earn up to $2,110 per month during an extended period of eligibility. The extended period of eligibility is helpful to many because it does not require you to reapply for disability benefits.

Expedited Reinstatement

Some people worry that working part-time on disability may disqualify them for benefits, and that they will have to start the application or appeals process all over again. However, this isn’t always the case. 

With expedited reinstatement, if you lose your benefits because you start earning too much from working, the SSA will give you five years to ask for reinstatement of your disability benefits if your condition prevents you from working again. While the SSA will again review your medical condition, your benefits will restart immediately in the interim.

Ticket to Work

The Ticket to Work program is a special incentive offered by the SSA to help disabled workers find employment and become financially independent. This voluntary program is available to those receiving benefits who are between the ages of 18 and 64, and whose intentions are to prepare for a long-term, possibly full-time career. 

Whether you are returning to the workforce or just starting out, Ticket to Work provides disability recipients with resources like Employment Networks (EN) and Vocational Rehabilitation (VR). Employment Networks help you find a career counselor, assist with job placement, and let you know how your new job may affect your benefits.

Vocational Rehabilitation is more intensive, offering training, education, and rehabilitation. VR services can help you get funding for college classes and also provide you with equipment that can mitigate the impact of your disability. This may include vehicle modification, cochlear implants, prosthetics or eye surgeries, and motorized scooters to help you with getting around more easily. 

Over time, resources like VR and EN can help you secure a good-paying job so that you no longer require disability benefits without losing your Medicaid or Medicare health benefits. At the same time, if you ever are unable to work again because of your disability, expedited reinstatement can help you with cash benefits while your medical condition is reevaluated by the SSA.

Working Part-Time on Disability: Is It Worth It?

If you’re considering working part-time on disability, there are several factors to keep in mind. 

  • How much you’ll earn per month as a part-time worker is key. If you will be making under $910 a month in 2020, this won’t trigger a trial work period and your benefits should remain the same.
  • If you make over $910 per month, you should carefully keep track of your trial work period. If you’re earning over this amount for more than nine months in a 60-month period, you could be at risk of losing your benefits if the SSA decides you are fit to work. 
  • If you continue working after your trial work period, you must keep in mind that any Substantial Gainful Activity (that is, monthly earnings over $1,260) after your extended period of eligibility can compromise your benefits.
  • If you are interested in returning to the workforce full-time, the Ticket to Work program may be right for you. It may mean giving up your cash benefits, but in return you may find yourself in a rewarding and financially stable career. 

Have Questions About Social Security Disability Benefits?

To get help with applying for Social Security programs, appealing a decision, or just to talk about your legal options, contact Social Security Disability Advocates USA. 

We’ll schedule a free consultation to review your case and help you decide if working part-time on disability is right for you. Call us today at 602-952-3200, chat with us via LiveChat or send us a message using our secure contact form

Looking for more information? Check out the ultimate disability secrets the SSA doesn’t want you to know and follow us on Facebook.

Everything You Need to Know About Social Security Disability Benefits Amounts

Everything You Need to Know About Social Security Disability Benefits Amounts

disability benefit amounts

The social security disability application process can be overwhelming. You probably have many questions about your benefits, one of the most important being how much money you’ll qualify for each month if you get approved. The answer depends largely on your unique circumstances, but with a little bit research, you can begin to zero in on your likely disability benefits amount. 

In this post, the disability lawyers at Social Security Disability Advocates USA break down how your disability benefits amount is determined as well as how to get your claim approved as quickly as possible.

How Is the Amount of Social Security Disability Benefits Calculated?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) monthly payments are dependent upon your lifetime average earnings for which you paid into Social Security. As such, having access to your full work history becomes extremely important when estimating what your benefit amount may be.

Your earnings are averaged into one monthly average for as many as 35 of your highest-earning working years. This average is referred to as your Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME). The AIME is indexed against the past two years of the national average salary, an adjustment meant to illustrate your wage growth history and determine how your retirement benefits should increase similarly.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) will then utilize your AIME to determine your Primary Insurance Amount (PIA). Your PIA represents the amount of retirement benefits you would be paid at full retirement age. (You can find your full retirement age here.)

PIA includes three distinct percentages of your AIME. These portions of your AIME are determined by the exact year you turn 62, become disabled prior to age 62, or die before turning 62. The percentages of your AIME are fixed: 90%, 32%, and 15%. 

However, the dollar amount you use to calculate PIA will depend on that year’s bend points. For example, if the year you become disabled prior to turning 62 is 2020, you would substitute the following bend points into your PIA calculation:

  • 90% of the first $960 of your AIME
  • 32% of AIME over $960 but under $5,785
  • 15% of AIME over $5,785

Therefore, if your AIME is $3,750 and you become disabled in 2020:

  • Your PIA retains 90% of the first $960 of your AIME, which equals $864.
  • Your PIA retains 32% of your AIME over $960 but under $5785, which equals $892.80.

Your hypothetical overall PIA, when added together, is $1,756 (rounded down to the nearest whole dollar). This represents the base amount the Social Security Administration will use in calculating your benefit amount, which is done through a complicated and weighted formula.

The SSA provides a downloadable calculator on its website to help you determine your PIA and potential monthly benefit  given that you have all the information you need. Alternatively, a social security disability lawyer can assist you in gathering all the necessary documentation and ultimately estimating your monthly disability benefits amount.

What Is the Average Monthly Amount of Social Security Disability Benefits?

If you’re just looking for bottom-line, best, worst, and average case scenarios (without having to break out a calculator), it may be helpful to see a range of possible monthly SSDI benefit amounts.

  • The average amount for those receiving SSDI benefits in June 2020 was $1,427.67 per month, according to the Office of the Chief Actuary.
  • The maximum disability benefits amount as of 2020 is $3,011 per month.

Keep in mind that if you are considered low-income you may also qualify for Supplemental Security Income and receive both monthly payments from both programs.

Need Help Determining Your Disability Benefit Amount?

We understand that applying for disability benefits can be confusing and frustrating. Knowing that most applicants are denied the first time around may seem discouraging, but it doesn’t have to be. To get help with applying for Social Security programs, appealing a decision, or just to talk about your legal options, contact Social Security Disability Advocates USA. 

We’ll schedule a free consultation to review your case and help you zero in on your potential disability benefits amount. Call us today at 602-952-3200, chat with us via LiveChat, or send us a message using our secure contact form. We are committed to serving our clients as safely and effectively as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic

Looking for more information? Check out the ultimate disability secrets the SSA doesn’t want you to know and follow us on Facebook.

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 to Apply for Social Security Disability Insurance

How to Apply for Social Security Disability Insurance

social security disability application process

In order to be approved for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you must first complete the Social Security disability application process. Applying for benefits can be a long and arduous ordeal with many roadblocks along the way. Learn what you need to know about applying for SSDI benefits from Social Security Disability Advocates USA

Choosing Your Application Method

Disability benefit applications are collected and processed by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA provides three ways for people to apply for benefits:

  • In Person. Applicants can apply for benefits in person at their local Social Security office by making an appointment. (Please note that during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many Social Security Offices remain closed.)
  • By Phone. A representative with the SSA can help you complete an application over the phone. You can schedule a phone interview by calling 1-800-772-1213. In person and phone applications will take at least one hour to complete.
  • Online. Applying for SSDI benefits online is by far the most convenient and quickest way to complete your application. The online application can be found at https://www.ssa.gov/applyfordisability/

Collecting Necessary Documentation

Before you can begin the Social Security disability application process, you must first gather all the necessary and pertinent documents related to your disability. It is important to have as many of these records available before you begin in order to qualify for SSDI.

Personal Information

The application will ask for your name, place of birth, social security number, and contact information, including your place of residence, mailing address, phone number, and alternative contact information in the event that the SSA is unable to reach you.

Banking Information

The SSA will ask for your bank account type and number in addition to your bank routing number. The SSA will use this information to direct deposit your monthly benefits should your application for SSDI be accepted.

Family Details

If you are married or have ever been married, you will need proof of your marriage or divorce, including the name of your spouse, their social security number, and where the marriage occurred. Information regarding prior spouses is only required if the marriage lasted more than 10 years or ended in the death of the spouse.

If you have children under the age of 18 who are not married, the SSA will require their name and social security numbers in order for them to receive benefits. Children between the ages of 18 and 19 who are enrolled in secondary school full-time may also be entitled to benefits.

Education & Work History

The application will ask about your highest level of education, including any degrees or vocational training received. 

You should also have access to your most recent W-2 and the details of any jobs you have held over the past two years, including your start and end dates and total wages. In addition, you will need information for the past five job types you worked in the 15 years before you became disabled, including the types of duties assigned to you in these jobs.

If you served in the U.S military, you should include the type of duty, branch, and service beginning and end dates.

Workers’ Compensation

If you have received workers’ compensation due to a debilitating injury, be sure to locate your settlement agreement, claim number, and proof of any payments awarded to you.

Medical Records

Gather any documents you have regarding all of your diagnosed disabilities (this includes physical disabilities as well as emotional and learning problems) that significantly reduce your ability to work.

You should also know the names of doctors, therapists, emergency rooms, clinics, and hospitals that have treated you for your condition. Records of any medical tests or procedures you have had should also be included.

The SSA will also want to know any and all medications you take for your medical conditions, how long you have been taking them, and who prescribes them to you. If you are unable to procure any of these medical records on your own, a social security lawyer may be able to assist you in requesting them.

Submitting Your Application

If you have chosen to file your application in person, you should receive a letter in the mail with the date and time of your appointment at your local Social Security office. At your appointment, an SSA representative will interview you and complete an Adult Disability Report. 

If you’ve decided to apply over the phone, you will receive a phone call from an SSA representative at your scheduled interview time. The process is very similar to an in-person interview.

If you apply online, all you have to do is fill out the online questionnaire and submit it for review.  Regardless of how you apply, it generally takes between 3 and 5 months for the Social Security Administration to review and either approve or deny your claim.

Appealing the SSA’s Decision

A major reason why the Social Security disability application process is so frustrating is because in addition to having to wait a significant amount of time to find out if you’ve been approved, it is very common for the SSA to deny first-time applicants. 

Luckily, there is a way to help prevent getting your disability claim denied. By consulting a qualified and experienced social security disability attorney, you can help ensure that your initial application contains all the proof you need to establish your right to SSDI benefits.

When you work with the caring legal team at Social Security Disability Advocates USA, you’ll also have access to around the clock support if your claim is denied. The SSA appeals process is notoriously difficult to navigate on your own. Having us on your side means you can get the best outcome as quickly as possible. 

Protect your family and your financial future. To find out more about getting representation for your SSDI claim, call us today at 602-952-3200. Our no obligation initial consultations are free. You can also contact us by sending us a message through our secure contact form or by chatting with a representative via LiveChat. 

For more information about Social Security programs and the ultimate disability secrets the SSA doesn’t want you to know, check out our blog.

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.
Will I Still Be Eligible for Medicaid if I Start Getting Social Security Disability?

Will I Still Be Eligible for Medicaid if I Start Getting Social Security Disability?

Medicaid and disability

If you’re considering applying for Social Security disability benefits and are currently on Medicaid, you may be wondering what will happen to your health insurance if you get approved. 

Will you get to keep your current benefits? Will you have to pay out of pocket for a new health insurance plan? 

With the cost of American healthcare constantly on the rise, many applicants worry that qualifying for disability will ultimately cost them in the long run. In this post, Social Security Disability Advocates USA clears up some common misconceptions about Medicaid and disability and explains how to get the coverage you need.

The Difference Between Medicaid and Medicare

Before proceeding, it’s important to understand the difference between Medicaid and Medicare. Medicaid is a federal government assistance program managed by individual states. It helps low-income individuals and families by providing free or very low-cost healthcare coverage. 

Medicare, on the other hand, is a federal government assistance program run by the federal government. It provides Americans who are over the age of 65 and/or have a qualifying disability with generally low-cost healthcare coverage. How much you ultimately pay for healthcare under Medicare varies depending on the Social Security taxes you’ve paid in the past.

The Difference Between SSI and SSDI Benefits

It’s also important to note the difference between Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Some people may receive benefits from one program or the other, while other recipients may qualify for payments from both.

SSI is a program designed to assist those who are over the age of 65, blind, or otherwise disabled and who also have limited income or financial resources. SSI recipients do not need to have a certain number of work credits to obtain benefits. As of April 2020, the average monthly benefit for SSI is $576.47. 

SSDI benefits provide assistance to those with a qualifying disability who have also amassed a sufficient number of work credits. As of April 2020, the average benefits for SSDI is $1,121.75 per month.

If You’re On Medicaid and Qualify for SSI

If you are already on Medicaid in your state and you qualify for SSI, you will remain eligible for Medicaid as long as you continue to meet the state-specific requirements for Medicaid. Your SSI benefits will not be included as income when determining eligibility for Medicaid. However, if you receive SSI only, Medicare benefits will not be available to you until you reach the age of 65.

If You’re On Medicaid and Qualify for SSDI

If you are already on Medicaid in your state and you qualify for SSDI (but you do not also qualify for SSI), you will automatically qualify for Medicare after a 24-month waiting period. This waiting period begins five months after the date your qualifying disability began. These additional five months account for the required waiting period before you are eligible to receive disability in the first place.

Thus, if the onset of your disability was more than two years before you were approved for SSDI benefits, you may be able to begin receiving Medicare benefits sooner. Keep in mind that the Social Security Administration only allows retroactive disability payments up to twelve months, meaning your disability onset date may only be recognized as late as 17 months before the day you applied for benefits (taking into account the five-month waiting period). 

As such, your actual waiting period for Medicare could be as little as one year, as opposed to two years and five months. Medicaid may be available in the meantime for those awaiting Medicare coverage.

If You’re On Medicaid and Qualify for SSI and SSDI

If you are already on Medicaid in your state and you qualify for both SSI and SSDI benefits, there is no hard and fast rule on whether you’ll qualify for Medicaid or Medicare. In some cases, it may be possible to receive Medicaid and Medicare benefits simultaneously. Remember that when it comes to Medicaid, although SSI does not count as income, SSDI does.

Need Help Applying for Disability Benefits?

Applying for disability benefits can be a long, confusing, and frustrating process. Waiting periods and application denials are an unfortunately common occurrence. At Social Security Disability Advocates USA, we have the skill and the experience needed to successfully secure disability benefits in the easiest, quickest manner possible. 

If you have questions about Medicaid and disability, contact us today for a free no-obligation consultation. We’ll review your case to give you the best picture of all your legal options. Call us at 602-952-3200. You can also get in touch with us using our LiveChat feature or by sending us the details of your claim through our contact form.

To find out more ultimate disability secrets, you can follow us on Facebook.

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.