Tag: SSDI

Has Your SSDI Stopped?

Has Your SSDI Stopped?

ssdi stopped
Has your SSDI stopped? Call SSDA USA today!

So, your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) stopped. You’re probably wondering, “How could this happen?” Well, you’re not alone, and Social Security Disability Advocates USA is here to help.

There are a multitude of factors that influence your SSDI, everything from medical improvement to incarceration. It can be overwhelming to keep track of all the variables, so let us from Social Security Disability Advocates USA clarify some of the key issues surrounding your SSDI and explore some plausibilities for why your SSDI stopped.

You Went Back to Work

Going back to work is one of the most likely reasons for the reduction or cancellation of your SSDI benefits. SSDI requires that you not earn an amount equal to or above the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) limit, which in 2018 is $1,180 per month for non-blind people or $1,970 per month for blind people.

Earning the SGA or above will initiate a nine-month trial work period in which you will still receive SSDI benefits. If you continue to engage in SGA after the nine-month trial work period, you will no longer be considered disabled, and your benefits will stop.

If you are unable to work after your SSDI stopped, you don’t have to reapply for benefits all over again. You can apply for an Expedited Reinstatement (EXR) of benefits. This is so people who unsuccessfully tried to go back to work can more readily reinstate their benefits if they lost their job after their trial work period.

Be careful, though! If you are working but earning below the SGA, the Social Security Administration (SSA) may still determine that the fact you are working means you are no longer disabled. The SGA is just a definite no-go zone for people working; you can still see a reduction or a cancellation of your benefits even if you do not engage in SGA. Of course, individual cases vary, so contact SSDA USA if you have any questions about your SSDI.

You Reached Retirement Age

The SSA prevents you from receiving disability and retirement benefits concurrently. Therefore, once you reach retirement age, your SSDI benefits will stop and you will be eligible for retirement benefits. You do not have to apply for Social Security retirement benefits right away, however. Delaying your retirement benefits can be extremely beneficial for many people. Just keep in mind, though, that your SSDI will stop once you reach retirement age. You should plan ahead for this and save up as much as you can to prepare for a change in your Social Security Benefits.

You Were Incarcerated or Institutionalized

Incarceration or institutionalization can suspend your benefits until you are free again. You will see a suspension of your SSDI benefits after 30 days of incarceration unless you willingly participate in a rehabilitation program. You should see a reinstatement of your SSDI in the month following your release.

Sometimes, you will see a cancellation of your SSDI even without any incarceration. For example, a felony conviction will automatically cancel your SSDI benefits.

Your Dependent’s Benefits Stopped

If you are receiving SSDI based on someone else’s earning record, your benefits may stop if certain changes occur. For example, if you are a child receiving benefits from your parent’s SSDI, your benefits could stop when you turn 18 or get married. Dependent’s benefits are usually different from primary benefits, so different rules apply. If you are a dependent, you should always be aware of what will affect your benefits.

Your Condition Improved

So, your condition has seen a medical improvement. That’s great, right? Well, it’s tricky.

If your condition sees a “medical improvement,” as the SSA calls it, your Social Security benefits could stop. This is because if your condition sees a medical improvement, the SSA may no longer consider you disabled.

Now, what is a medical improvement? According to SSA, “Medical improvement is any decrease in the medical severity of your impairment(s) which was present at the time of the most recent favorable medical decision that you were disabled or continued to be disabled. A determination that there has been a decrease in medical severity must be based on improvement in the symptoms, signs, and/or laboratory findings associated with your impairment(s).”

Now this may sound all fancy, but it simply means this: if your condition has improved to the point that you can work or potentially earn SGA, you will no longer be considered disabled. This means that medical improvement does not necessarily mean you will no longer be considered disabled. If you can prove that you cannot work and cannot earn SGA despite your medical improvement, you will still likely receive your SSDI benefits.

Wondering Why Your SSDI Stopped?

Contact Social Security Disability Advocates today! We are professionals, and we work tirelessly to address all your concerns. Call us anytime at (602) 952-3200. Alternatively, you can contact us online or check out our LiveChat feature. Don’t let your questions bother you any longer. Contact SSDA USA today!

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.

Are You Getting Enough from your Social Security Disability Insurance?

Are You Getting Enough from your Social Security Disability Insurance?

how much ssdi
Wondering how much SSDI you should be receiving? Contact SSDA USA today!

Many people receiving Social Security Disability Insurance assume they are receiving the correct amount. Usually, they are. But there are a variety of factors that can influence how much SSDI you receive.

Here’s the gist:

It’s impossible to know right off the bat how much an individual will make from their SSDI. There are many factors to consider, everything from work history to disability status. Because of this, let us from Social Security Disability Advocates USA explain some common factors that affect how much SSDI you and your family can receive.

Employment Income

To qualify for SSDI, an individual must have a condition that 1) will result in death, or 2) has lasted or will last for no less than a year, and 3) prevents them from working above the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) limit (which, in 2018, is $1,180 or $1,970 for blind people).

You must consult your total work credits and work earnings to calculate your monthly SSDI payment. For most people, 40 work credits (approximately 10 years of work) is the prerequisite for collecting SSDI benefits. Younger people do not need as many credits, however. When calculating SSDI, SSA agents use a formula on your work earnings to figure out how much SSDI you will receive monthly. Check out this SSDI calculator for more info.

If you earn a monthly amount equal to or greater than the SGA, your benefits will likely stop. Working part-time and earning below the SGA will not necessarily stop your benefits, but you could see a significant reduction.

Medical Improvement

The entire point of SSDI is to aid disabled individuals. If you see any kind of medical improvement, you could see a reduction or even a halt of your benefits. A medical improvement is any kind of improvement that would allow you to go back to the work you were doing before, or even some new kind of work.

Incarceration

Crime charges and incarceration for more than 30 days will result in the reduction or cancellation of your benefits. You will be able to reinstate your benefits once you leave, but you will not receive any Social Security benefits while you are in jail/prison.

Family Changes

Sometimes, certain arrangements in the family can reduce or cancel benefits. For example, if you are a dependent receiving SSDI based on your parent’s record, your benefits will likely end if you turn 18 or get married. If you are receiving SSDI benefits based on your own record, however, getting married will not affect your SSDI benefits. Reaching retirement age also cancels your SSDI benefits, since you cannot receive Social Security disability benefits and Social Security retirement benefits in tandem.

Still Wondering How Much SSDI You Qualify For?

If you still have questions about Social Security, Social Security Disability Advocates USA is here to help! We work tirelessly to help you with any concerns you have, so call us anytime at (602) 952-3200. Additionally, you can contact us online and utilize our LiveChat feature. Don’t wonder anymore about Social Security. Contact us today!

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.

Holidays and Your SSDI (What you Need to Know)

Holidays and Your SSDI (What you Need to Know)

what can social security money be used for
Have questions such as ” What can Social Security money be used for? ” SSDA USA is here to help!

While the Social Security Administration (SSA) does its best to serve retirees, the impoverished, and the disabled, there are so many rules that it can be difficult to understand important information. Questions such as, “ What can social security money be used for? ” and “ How does work affect my social security? ” are quite common, especially during the holidays.

Here’s the bottom line:

Social Security isn’t as complex as it seems. Once you unravel the thread, the rules of Social Security are much easier to decipher. So, allow us from Social Security Disability Advocates USA explain the basics to you.

What is Social Security?

Social Security is a federally run program that aids people who are retired, impoverished, or disabled. There are a variety of programs that are run by the Social Security Administration, and they all have distinct rules on how to qualify.

Let’s go over them now:

Social Security Disability Insurance

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is for people who are disabled. The SSA defines “disabled” to mean that 1) You suffer from a condition that is expected to result in death, or 2) That has lasted or is expected to last for 12 months, and 3) You are unable to earn above the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) limit.

The SGA for 2018 is $1,180 per month, or $1,970 if you are blind. For 2019, the SGA is $1,220 or $2,040 if you are blind.

Earning above the SGA will result in the loss of your SSDI benefits.

To qualify for SSDI, generally, you must have earned 40 work credits. If you earned the maximum number of credits (4) per year, then that equates to 10 years of work. Younger people need to have earned fewer work credits, generally.

Supplemental Security Income

Supplemental Security Income is for people with limited resources who are blind, disabled (still according to the SSA definition of disabled), or age 65 or older. There are no work credits required, and qualifying for this program is entirely need based. It is possible to qualify for both SSI and SSDI.

Retirement Benefits

Retirement benefits can be collected as early as age 62. However, you’re usually better off waiting until your full retirement age (anywhere from 65-67). This is because the SSA will reduce your benefits if you retire before your full retirement age, so be careful when you choose to retire.

Before you collect retirement benefits, you must have earned 40 work credits. The SSA uses a formula to calculate how much you will receive. In short, the more you earned during the time you were working, the more you will receive.

When Do I Get my Social Security?

When you get your Social Security payment depends on a few factors. 1) The type of Social Security you qualify for, and 2) Your birthday.

If you’re receiving SSDI, your birthday determines when you will receive your payments:

  •         1-10: Second Wednesday of the month
  •         11-20: Third Wednesday of the month
  •         21-31: Fourth Wednesday of the month

When Wednesdays occur on federal legal holidays, you will be paid the Tuesday before.

This means that for December, 2018, people born on the 21st or later will receive their benefits after Christmas, so prepare in advance for holiday shopping!

If you’re receiving SSI, you should receive your payment on the first of the month. If the first of the month is a federal legal holiday, you will receive your payment the day before, unless the first is a Monday. In that case, you will receive your payment the Friday before the first.

If you receive both SSDI and SSI, you should receive your payments on the third of the month. If the third falls on a weekend, you will receive payment the Friday before.

You should also keep in mind that Social Security benefits become available to you the month after you become eligible, usually. For example, if you become eligible in November, 2018, you will not receive your benefits until December, 2018.

How Do I Receive my Benefits?

The Social Security Administration stopped mailing paper checks effective March 2013. Because of this, there are now two new methods you can choose from:

Direct Deposit

You can choose to have your Social Security payments deposited directly to your bank account. This is a highly popular option since you don’t have to worry about losing your check or that funds will not be transferred if you are out of town.

Direct Express® Debit Card

The alternative to direct deposit is reloading your Direct Express® debit card. This card works anywhere that accepts MasterCard®. You can also use this card to get cash back from grocery stores, or to purchase money orders.

How Does Seasonal Work Affect My Social Security?

Seasonal work can affect your SSDI or SSI payments, depending on a few factors. It is important to first note that seasonal work does contribute to your Social Security work credits.

If you have SSDI, earning above the SGA limit can reduce or entirely cancel your benefits. However, there is a safety net: the trial work period. The trial work period is a nine-month period in which you still receive your SSDI benefits while working. This is to encourage disabled individuals to go back to work, if possible. If your work attempt is unsuccessful, or you were let go because of your disability, you will still continue to receive your SSDI benefits. In addition, if you continue to earn above the SGA after nine months, you will no longer be considered disabled, and your SSDI benefits will stop.

If you have SSI, earning above certain income limits, or possessing above certain asset limits, can reduce or cancel your benefits. For 2018, the individual income limit for SSI is $750 per month, and the asset limit is $2000 ($3000 if a couple). Unlike SSDI, SSI does not offer a trial work period, and the moment you obtain SGA, your benefits will stop. Certain things such as receiving free food or shelter could be counted as income (called in-kind income), and a variety of other things (such as parental or spousal income) could affect SSI eligibility.

What Can Social Security Money be Used For?

Many people wonder “ What can Social Security money be used for? ”Generally, there are few restrictions on what you can use your Social Security funds for. Restrictions include purchasing anything illegal, for example. However, just because there are few restrictions doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be wise with your money.

You should always spend your money on necessities before luxuries! Use your Social Security money to pay for food, your rent, your utilities, and other essentials before purchasing luxury items. In addition, purchasing luxury items can cause you to lose your benefits. For example, the asset limit amount is $2,000, so if you have more than that in the form of assets, your benefits will stop.

Have Questions About Social Security?

Contact Social Security Disability Advocates USA today! We at SSDA pride ourselves in our commitment to helping you with all your Social Security needs. If you have any questions about your Social Security, call us anytime at (602) 952-3200. Alternatively, you can contact us online or check out our LiveChat feature.

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.

7 SSDI Horror Stories to Avoid

7 SSDI Horror Stories to Avoid

SSDI Horror Stories
Contact us after your SSDI Horror Stories.

7 SSDI Horror Stories to Avoid

Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can be a stressful process. In fact, so can making sure that you retain your benefits. People have made plenty of mistakes regarding applying for benefits and reporting eligibility that has resulted in all kinds of SSDI horror stories. However, learning about these SSDI horror stories is a good way to avoid some of the more common pitfalls when it comes to the application process and retaining your eligibility if you’re approved.

SSDI is an incredibly helpful program for millions of people. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a few SSDI horror stories out there.

The following are some of the SSDI horror stories that you won’t want to be part of:

1. Dying while waiting for SSDI approval

It’s supposed to take between 30 days and 90 days to receive word as to whether your initial application has been approved or rejected. Many people need benefits to help pay for their bills, which makes this waiting period rather inconvenient. Worse, it may take longer due to the insufficient numbers of staff  the Social Security Administration. They easily become backlogged with applications.

If rejected, you can expect to wait even longer in the appeal process. It’s not uncommon for a first appeal to be rejected either. After an initial rejection,  you’ll need to request a hearing before an administrative law judge to plead your case. Unfortunately, there are over a million Americans currently waiting for a hearing and the average wait time is around two years.

Many Americans have severe disabilities that may result in death. As horrible as it is to say, more than a few Americans have died while waiting for SSDI approval. It’s even sadder when thinking about the possibility that these benefits could have helped to improve their quality of life and potentially prolonged it as well.

Dying while waiting for SSDI benefits is the last thing you want to have happen, especially if you’re leaving behind a family. It’s why you should extra care to provide all the information required when filling out your initial application and why you should strongly consider hiring an attorney to help, since they will increase your chances of being approved.

2. Going bankrupt because of application rejection

You can’t earn the income you need to pay your bills if affected by disability that prevents you from working. You will receive back payments from the Social Security Administration once approved to make up for the time that you went without benefits. However, it can sometimes take awhile to begin receiving assistance. The time lengthens if your initial application was rejected and you had to go through a lengthy appeal process.

There have been people who have dug themselves into a financial hole while waiting for their benefits simply because they didn’t have the money to pay for their bills, causing them to go into more and more debt. If you were already in debt at the beginning of the process, there might even be a chance that you’ll be forced into bankruptcy, especially if appealing your case.

The fact that it can take some time to receive your benefits because a lengthy appeal process is reason enough to ensure approval of your initial application. Otherwise, you could risk going into debt as you wait for your benefits to be approved.

3. The regret of not working with an attorney

Working with an attorney or a Social Security advocate is something that you should strongly consider doing, even during the initial application process. Someone who is familiar with the ins and outs of the SSDI application process is going to be able to provide you with professional guidance that will improve your chances of being approved.

Since more than half of the applications that the Social Security Administration receives are initially rejected, getting professional assistance is a good idea. Even if you didn’t hire an attorney, you still have time after rejection. An attorney can help boost your chances when you appeal the rejection.

Some people might want to forego the use of an attorney due to the cost. However, there are attorneys and advocates who specialize in Social Security. They understand that you may not have the money to pay for their services up front; which is why they will often take payment only if you’ve been approved. In which case, a percentage will be taken from your back payments to pay for their services.

4. Hindered by a bad attorney

Unfortunately, just because you’ve hired an attorney, it doesn’t mean that you’re set as far as the application or appeal process go. Not all attorneys are equal, after all. This means that if you hire a bad attorney, they could hurt your chances of having your initial application or appeal approved. It’s very important that you interview the attorney to determine if they will be able to help you.

First, do not hire an attorney that has no experience with Social Security cases. Secondly, pay attention to how they communicate with you. Do they get back to you as soon as possible? Does their staff treat you with respect? Do they communicate clearly? Communication is important, otherwise, how can you depend on them? You can trust that the attorneys at Social Security Disability Advocates USA will help you.

5. Not filling out paperwork on time

Once approved for SSDI benefits, the Social Security Administration requires that you keep them up to date on certain information. For example, if you move, then you need to provide your new address. If you don’t, and they cannot contact you because your address and phone number has changed; then they will eventually revoke your benefits.

The same can occur if you are switching financial institutions. If you plan a new account for your deposits, you need to let the Social Security Administration know well ahead of time. Usually, it will take a month or two for the switch to complete; which means that you’ll have to keep your old account open until they let you know that it’s been done.

Always let the Social Security Administration know about any changes to your medical condition, work, income, and location. Withholding information can be considered grounds for revoking your benefits.

6. Receiving an SSDI overpayment notification

Receiving an SSDI overpayment notification in the mail can be panic-inducing. If this happens, it means that the Social Security Administration believes that it has been paying you more than you should have been getting. They will request that you pay the excess amount you received within 30 days. This, of course, is rarely feasible for those who are on SSDI. Why does this happen? In some cases, the Social Security Administration simply made a mistake. If this is the case, you can appeal the decision or request a waiver; which means they will waive what you owe and just correct the benefits amount from then on.

However, in other cases, it might be your fault. This can happen if you didn’t inform the Social Security Administration about certain information that may have affected your benefits amount. For example, if you made more than the earned income limit for a certain amount of time. If it’s your fault, then you can try to negotiate the amount you owe. Often, the Social Security Administration will be willing to compromise; especially if they know that you need your benefits to pay for living expenses.

In addition to negotiating, you can also request a payment plan if you’re unable to pay what you owe; within 30 days. It’s not uncommon for a plan to be put into place where a percentage is withdrawn from your benefit payment every month to pay towards what you owe.

7. Unfairly charged with SSDI fraud

Some people out there take advantage of the SSDI program and unfairly receive benefits due to fraud. Anyone caught committing fraud to collect benefits will not only lose those benefits, they’ll face potential punishment. Fraud is a crime, after all. However, being unfairly charged with SSDI fraud is terrifying. A few tips to help you avoid fraud charges:

  • Report changes in your work status immediately
  • Report your eligibility for other disability benefits
  • Stay below the maximum earned income limits if you work
  • Report changes in your medical condition
  • Report any changes in your life situation

These SSDI horror stories should help you to avoid some common pitfalls. Schedule a free consultation at Social Security Disability Advocates USA for professional advice concerning the SSDI application process by calling (602) 952-3200 today.

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 happens if you get an SSDI over payment notice?

What happens if you get an SSDI over payment notice?

SSDI Over payment
Contact us if you receive an SSDI Overpayment Notice

What happens if you get an SSDI over payment notice?

If you’re receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), then odds are that you just assume that the amount that the Social Security Administration is sending you every month is the correct amount. However, this is not always the case. They sometimes overpay, which can happen if you didn’t report something that may have affected your eligibility or benefits amount. If this happens, you’re likely to receive an SSDI over payment notice. An SSDI over payment notice will instruct you to return the excess amount within 30 days.

Cases in which people have been overpaid for years do happen. Unfortunately, you may be in trouble if you already spent it, or you receive too much for longer than a month.  You’ll have a hard time paying back what you owe within just 30 days. Fortunately, you do have some options.

Appeal Your SSDI Over payment Notice

If they miscalculated your SSDI payments, they may have made a mistake determining that they overpaid you as well. If you don’t think they’re correct in sending you an SSDI overpayment notice, then you can appeal their decision by filing a Request for Reconsideration (SSA Form 561).

You will have 60 days after you’ve received your SSDI over payment notice to file a Request for Reconsideration; however, if you file within ten days of receiving the notice, you won’t have to worry about having to pay what the Social Security Administration believes that you owe them until a decision has been made concerning your reconsideration.

Filing a Request for Reconsideration is a good idea even if you aren’t sure whether the SSDI over payment notice was justified or not. This is because it forces the Social Security Administration to double check and gives you extra time to come up with the payment that you may owe. You’ll need to present evidence to a Social Security representative at an informal hearing to support your argument. If your reconsideration request is denied, you’ll have 60 days to request a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge.

Request a Waiver

If you can’t afford to pay the amount that was overpaid and your reconsideration request has been denied, there are two things you can do. You can file a Request for Waiver of Over payment Recovery, or file a Change in Repayment form (form SSA-632). The Social Security Administration will often grant a waiver if you

  • can’t afford to pay back the over payment
  • because you need the money to pay for your living expenses
  • the over-payment was not your fault

If your waiver is denied, you’ll be able to appeal the denial at your local Social Security office where you can argue your case to a representative. If you’re still denied, you can request reconsideration as well as an administrative hearing.

Negotiate the Over payment Amount

If you’re unable to obtain a waiver because you were at fault for not reporting certain information; then you may be able to negotiate the amount. Amounts below $5,000 can be negotiated down by as much as 20 percent. More substantial amounts can be negotiated down even further. They know not everyone can afford the full amount. If there’s a compromise, the beneficiary will be more likely to pay it.

Create a Payment Schedule

If you’re unable to pay your full amount within 30 days, you should be able to set up a payment schedule. The Social Security Administration may be willing to work with you. In fact, they may take ten percent out of your monthly benefits check to put towards what you owe. This makes it easier for you to pay it back.

Dealing with an SSDI over payment notice can be financially challenging. So, make sure you keep the Social Security Administration informed about all changes. If you have received an SSDI over payment notice, contact us at Social Security Disability Advocates USA by calling (602) 952-3200. We can provide a free consultation regarding your specific case today.

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.