I found a video for the original song!
I have previously written about how Social Security (usually) pays your lawyer directly if you win your Social Security disability case.
But did you know that Social Security charges to do this. The Florida Social Security Disability Blog (in my old stomping grounds of Ocala and Gainesville), discusses the Social Security “user fee.”
The Social Security Act requires SSA to charge an assessment or “user fee” to a representative who receives all or part of his or her fee through direct payment from SSA. The Social Security Protection Act of 2004 (Public Law No. 108-203) capped the user fee at the lower of either a flat rate dollar amount or 6.3 percent of the amount of the fee payable from past-due Title II and/or Title XVI benefits. The flat rate dollar amount is adjusted periodically based on the cost of living. Currently, the flat rate dollar amount cannot exceed $79.
Yup, Social Security charges $79 to send your attorney a check. But, do not worry! It does not come out of your benefits. The money comes out of the attorneys fees and your lawyer cannot charge the fee back to you!
Social Security has started podcasting, and you can listen in, on your web browser.
Just go to Social Security Podcasts.
The first episode is titled “Deciding When to Start Receiving Retirement Benefits” and deals with the many factors to consider when deciding the right time for you to retire and start collecting Social Security benefits.
We have previously discussed that an individual is not eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits while incarcerated. This issue frequently comes up when an individual already on Social Security is incarcerated.
However, it is important to remember that the prohibition on receiving Social Security benefits may also impact your application for Social Security benefits, if you were in jail or prison during the time you are alleging entitlement to Social Security disability benefits.
- Let’s say you applied two years ago and that you are waiting for a hearing.
- But, one year ago (during the period of alleged disability), you were in jail for a month.
- Social Security will not pay you benefits during that periods of incarceration.
Here is the problem that comes up: Continue reading If you were in jail or prison and are applying for Social Security disability benefits, get your entry & release dates!
Remember the article about veterans suing for faster disability rulings in VA cases? Sadly, the lawsuit was denied.
U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton in Washington, D.C., has ruled that the court does not have the authority to require the Department of Veterans Affairs to accelerate efforts to process disability claims.
Beginning January 2009, the maximum monthly Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit amount increases to $674 (increased from $637 in 2008) for individuals and 1,010 for couples. The maximum SSI benefit amount is based on the Federal Benefit Rate (FBR).
If you need to know the monthly maximum SSI amounts for other years, this page lists the Federal Benefit Rates back to 1998.
However, your SSI benefits may be less than the FBR amount if you have any other sources of income. For example, if anyone is providing food, clothing or shelter for you — your benefits may be reduced by 1/3.
Once you hire an attorney to represent you on your Social Security case, you may find that Social Security does not want to release any more information to you. This is especially true at the Social Security ODAR (Office of Disability Adjudication and Review) offices.
Don’t worry, there is nothing nefarious going on.
It is just a general rule that once you are represented by counsel, all communication goes through your attorney. This prevents Social Security telling you one thing and your attorney being told another, or nothing at all.
However, in my experience representing claimants in Colorado, Social Security will often release information to claimants (people applying for Social Security benefits) if they ask. If you need to know the status of your case, or which Judge your case is assigned to, ODAR will give you this information.
But there is a bigger concern here: Continue reading Social Security won’t talk to me BECAUSE I have a lawyer!?!
Can a person work and still receive Social Security disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits?
The answer is a qualified “yes.”
Social Security wants people to try to go back to work. But, the regulations surrounding keeping your benefits while you try to go back to work make it tricky.
Are you engaged in a Substantial Gainful Activity?
Generally speaking, the test of disability is whether you can perform a substantial gainful activity (SGA)? That is, are your monthly gross earnings (income before taxes and deduction) equal to, or greater than the Substantial Gainful Activity amounts set by Social Security.
In 2012, if you are making at least $1,010 per month, before taxes, your work is a substantial gainful activity. To see the current SGA amount, or SGA amount for other years, click here.
So, if I my gross income is the SGA amount, or more, I have a problem,
But, if my monthly gross income is less than SGA, Social Security will leave me alone.
That is generally correct and it is a good rule of thumb.
However, and this is a big however, this is not the end of the analysis. There are exceptions to allow your benefits to continue if you are earning more than SGA and exceptions that might stop your benefits even if you are earning less than SGA.
If you are receiving Supplemental Security Income, you can earn more than the SGA amount and still receive your SSI benefits. But, that is an article in itself.
Continue reading Can I work and still receive Social Security disability or SSI benefits?
Terrific video from the Health Matters series about Hepatitis C.
Social Security encourages you to try to go back to work to see if you can do it. A Trial Work Period (TWP) lets you work and still be considered disabled by Social Security.
A beneficiary receiving Social Security disability benefits may test his or her ability to work and still be considered disabled. We do not consider services performed during the trial work period as showing that the disability has ended until services have been performed in at least 9 months (not necessarily consecutive) in a rolling 60-month period.
To sum up, a Trial Work Period lets you work and still be considered disabled by Social Security. Not only that, but Social Security does not count all the months you work, just the ones where you earn more than a threshold Trial Work Period amount:
- 2012 – $720 per month.
- 2011 – $720 per month.
- 2010 – $720 per month.
- 2009 – $700 per month.
- 2008 – $690 per month.
- 2007 – $630 per month.