Archive for the ‘Social Security Disability’ Category

Delaying Retirement and Pensions: How They Affect Social Security

pensionsAs retirement approaches, many wonder which year is the best to finally leave their careers. Depending on individual circumstances, the year they should consider leaving their company and starting their golden years can greatly vary. For some, waiting around a couple extra years could mean a much bigger check each month for retirement. For others, the benefit could be minimal or nonexistent.

So how do you know when it’s the best time to retire? It comes down to planning and researching ahead of time. The Social Security system provides an increase in a number of benefits for each year a person waits to retire until the age of 70. These benefits are also reduced if a person decides to retire early. This is to encourage people to continue working and paying into the system rather than taking too much money out for too long.

A person that claims benefits between the age of 62 and their full retirement age, which can be 65 to 67 depending on the year of birth, the system is set up to reduce the number of benefits by a fraction of a percent for every month leading to the full retirement age. However, those who choose to work up to the age of 70 will see an increase. For the most part, there are no real benefits to working past 70 in the Social Security system.

There are some cases where retiring earlier is either more logical or unavoidable. For instance, if someone’s basic living expenses are not being met, they may want to retire early. In other cases, a person may have a shorter life span due to a medical condition. When the person does not foresee living past the age of 75, it makes little sense to continue to work.

Your earnings record and birth year also may determine which age makes the most sense for you to retire. Birth years that have a younger full retirement age may be able to afford the few months of lowered benefits. Those who are curious about their benefits can call the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 or go to the website to view your statement. This will show your lifetime earnings and give an estimate of monthly benefits you can receive at different ages.

Pensions can also impact benefits. For those that didn’t pay into the system for a period of time due to not being required to pay Social Security taxes may face a reduction. Those who paid the entire time of working are much less likely to be affected, especially if you worked for only private employers because the two are separate. This is also the case because the person paid into both systems and therefore will receive both.

Government or those employed by a foreign employer may have reduced benefits. Calling or going to the website of the Social Security Administration will answer any questions about future Social Security payments.

If you have other questions about Social Security, Disability, or related issues, contact our team at Jonathan Perkins Personal Injury Lawyers. We understand the law and will put our knowledge to work for you.

Important Information on ABLE Accounts for Special Needs Planning

ABLE Accounts are tax-advantaged savings accounts for those who have disabilities. These accounts can help those with a disability, along with their families, better plan their future. These accounts were created because of the Stephen Beck Jr., Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014, also known as the ABLE Act.

Unlike other accounts, the income that accumulates in these accounts cannot be taxed. Contributions by any person, including family and friends, into the account will be made with post-taxed dollars that are not tax deductible apart from a few states that allow for state income tax deductions for the contributions.

Why Are They Necessary?

More millions of people in the country that have a disability, their lives become reliant on public benefits for income, health care, and food and housing assistance. The eligibility for those benefits can require meeting a means or test which requires them to report less than $2,000 in savings. To remain eligible for these benefits, the individual must remain poor, which is a huge disadvantage for the disabled people in our country. Living with a disability often is a much higher cost of living than those who are deemed able-bodied.

The ABLE Act recognizes these hardships. For families with someone in their household with a disability, they lose out on a lot of the benefits that were made for the individual simply because they took them in. Under the ABLE Act, eligible individuals are allowed to create ABLE savings accounts that don’t affect their eligibility for SSI, Medicaid or other public benefits. Instead, these are private savings that secure funding for the high cost of disabled living and allow individuals to save up money.

Are There Limits to How Much Can Be Added to an ABLE Account?

The limit for all contributions annually into an ABLE account is $14,000. However, this amount is likely to be adjusted over time to account for inflation. This number is based on the current tax law that $14,000 is the maximum amount an individual can gift to another person without reporting the gift to the IRS.

The overall limit on how much an ABLE account varies from state to state, with most setting this limit at over $300,000. Those who are recipients of SSI have further limitations. For instance, the first $100,000 put into the account would be exempted from the SSI $2,000 resource limit. When it goes over the amount, the SSI cash benefit would be suspended only until the account fell back to $100,000 or less.

If you or a loved one is considering setting up an ABLE account but have questions about your SSI benefits, we can help. Contact our attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Personal Injury Lawyers today.

What are the Five Vocational Questions that are used by the SSA to Determine Eligibility for Social Security Disability?

When a person believes that they can no longer work and applies for Social Security Disability benefits, there is a five-step process that they need to complete in order to prove that they are eligible. This process is fairly straightforward and is meant to provide the Social Security Administration (SSA) with the maximum information in the shortest possible amount of time. In order to achieve this, the SSC has devised 5 questions that provide them with key information about the condition that has prompted your application. Based on your answers, you may be deemed eligible or ineligible with reference to health.

If they agree that your health is at issue in terms of your ability to continue in your previous job, they will then move on to three other factors to determine whether you could continue working but in a different job. These other factors involve your age, your education and training levels and your work experience. Since the first step in the process is assessing the matter of your health, let’s start by looking at the five vocational questions that are used by the SSA to determine eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits.

The 5 questions that the Social Security Administration will ask are geared towards determining what is wrong with you and how severely the condition has impacted you. They are:

  1. Are you currently working? This is to establish whether or not the person’s income (or lack of income) qualifies them for disability benefits. The threshold amount in 2016 was $1,130 – those who are making more than that amount is unlikely to be approved for benefits.
  2. What is your medical condition, and is it considered severe? The threshold for this answer is whether or not a physical condition keeps a person from all basic work activity.
  3. Is the condition that you have included on the SSA’s reference list. This list covers every major body system and categorizes different conditions, with some automatically qualifying as a permanent disability or likely to lead to death. Those that do not fall under this category must have existed for 12 continuous months in order to qualify.
  4. Are you able to remain in your previous job?  This question applies to all previous work, beyond the job that was current at the time of the disability.
  5. Are you able to do any other type of work? This seeks to determine whether your qualifications allow for a smooth transition into another job.

When the SSA tries to determine whether you are indeed too disabled to move on to another job, they focus on issues of your age, your education, and training and your work experience. They tend to be much more forgiving of those over the age of 45, as well as of issues regarding education and literacy, fluency in English, and what skills you have attained over the course of your life.

If you need assistance or representation in applying for Social Security disability benefits, the attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers are here to help. Call us or contact us online to set up a convenient appointment to discuss your particular situation.

What Are Continuing Disability Reviews?

SSD Lawyers in Connecticut Jonathan Perkins U.S. citizens are entitled to a number of different benefits that are provided by the government. One of these is Social Security Disability Insurance, which provides income supplements to people who are physically restricted from being able to work. If you are receiving Social Security Disability payments, then you will be asked to periodically submit to a review of your case to determine whether there has been any change in either your ability to work or your financial situation. This request may come as frequently as every six months or as infrequently as every seven years, depending upon your individual situation. If you have received a notification in the mail asking you to fill out forms and return them to the Social Security Administration Office, then you are probably asking yourself what Continuing Disability Reviews are, and what your rights are. The experienced Connecticut Social Security Disability lawyers at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers can provide you with the answers you need.

There are two types of reviews that the Social Security Administration Office is likely to request. One is work and the other is medical. While the work review will look at your earnings to see whether your income has remained the same or has grown to be too high for you to continue to be eligible, the medical review will determine whether your disability still exists and is still keeping you from being able to work.

The frequency of Continuing Disability Reviews is determined by the original disability as well as by your age. If the disability is one from which it is anticipated that you may recover, then you are likely to be asked to submit to a review every six months. If your disability is one from which you are not likely to recover it will be a longer period of time between reviews, and if you are over 50 then you are likely to only be asked to come in for a review every seven years. The review itself is similar to the original review that was done when you first filed your original disability claim. You will be sent an interview form that asks about any improvements or declines that you may have experienced in your health, any doctor or hospital visits, and your medical records, all with an eye to determining whether there has been a change. If the team determines that you are now able to return to work, you will continue to receive benefits for a period of two more months to allow you time to find employment.

It is important to note that the laws regarding what is defined as a disability are constantly changing, but that once benefits have already been awarded and your condition has not improved, they will not be taken away.

If you have been notified that you have to submit to a Continuing Disability Review and you have questions, the attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers can help. Call us today to learn more about your rights.

Disputing a Denied Social Security Disability Claim

 Social Security Disability Insurance is offered as part of a federal program that provides benefits to people who have been identified as being disabled and unable to support themselves or their families. It is administered by the Social Security Administration and is offered to any adult who has paid into the system for a minimum of ten years. Beyond the requirement of having contributed to the program, people who apply for Social Security Disability need to have a medical condition that will last a minimum of a year or is expected to result in death.  Though it is an entitlement program that people think of as being guaranteed to be there for them when they have a need, the truth is that qualifying is more difficult than most people realize, and it is not at all uncommon to have your Social Security Disability claim denied.  The application process itself requires providing medical and other pertinent information in support of your claim, and people frequently leave out details or fill out the forms incorrectly. Though it is not required to work with an attorney, doing so can help the process move more efficiently and can give you a much better chance of being approved. An experienced attorney will also prove indispensable when it comes to disputing a denied Social Security Disability claim.

When your claim for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits is denied, it is easy to get discouraged, and many people are tempted to throw up their hands and walk away, giving up on the process. This is a shame, as if they turned to an attorney with experience and knowledge of the appeals process, they would give themselves a good chance of getting the benefits they deserve. The reality is that it takes very little for an application to be denied – it can be caused by a slight mistake in the documentation or a missed deadline. At Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers, we know how to navigate the appeals process so that you have a much better chance of being approved. We will work directly with your physician to gather all of the information that’s needed in support of your claim, and take care of getting all of the paperwork filled out for each of the five levels of the process that are available. These levels include:

  • Initial/Application Level
  • Reconsideration
  • Hearing by an Administrative Law Judge
  • Review by the Appeals Council
  • Federal District Court Review

Though the law does not require that you use an attorney for your Social Security Disability denial, if you use one you are twice as likely to get your claim approved then you are if you attempt it on your own. We’ll start by reviewing where you are in the process and the reason for your initial denial. Contact us today to set up a convenient appointment.

 

What are the Differences between the Legal Standards of Temporary Total Disability and Permanent Total Disability?

 Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance policy that employers provide for their workers in case of on-the-job injury or illness. The safety net represents security for the employee – they know that if they are hurt, their medical bills will be paid for and they will receive compensation for the work that they missed – and in exchange the employers have the security of knowing that they will not face personal injury lawsuits. The benefits provided by workers’ compensation extend beyond medical expenses to include disability payments when a worker is unable to return to their job over an extended period of time. Disability is broken down into temporary total disability and permanent total disability. If you have suffered an injury on the job and you are not able to return to the work you once did, it is important that you understand the difference between these two.

In the state of Connecticut, the Workers’ Compensation Commission has established a number of different types of workers’ compensation payments. These include:

  • Temporary Total (TT) Benefits – These are provided for those who have been determined to be totally incapacitated and are based on 75% of the average weekly wage. It is paid for the duration of the employee’s disability.
  • Temporary Total (TT) Benefits for Recurrence or Relapse – These are provided for those who have a relapse or recurrence after recovery. It is based on the original benefit rate, or the worker’s earnings if they have increased in the interim.
  • Temporary Partial (TP) Benefits during Job Search – These are provided for those who are able to perform a lighter duty job but the employer has no such openings. It provides the TT compensation rate while the employee is searching for a job.
  • Permanent Partial Benefits – These are specific weekly compensations for the loss of specific body parts.
  • Permanent Total Benefits (PT) – These are the same as Temporary Total benefits that are increased by Cost of Living Rate Increases, and are paid based on injuries that are considered permanent. These may include paralysis of the legs or arms.

The standard for determining the type of benefit revolves around the worker’s ability to perform their job responsibilities, or a job that is lighter duty. A worker who has suffered an injury or illness that prevents them from working at all is first offered temporary total disability. This can later be awarded on a permanent basis, but permanent disability is only offered to those with severely debilitating injuries such as the loss of both feet or hands, both arms or legs, or their eyes. This benefit is only offered if a worker is unable to earn any income in either the same job or another job.

Every state has its own specific workers’ compensation rules, and they can be difficult to understand. The attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers have dedicated themselves to providing injured Connecticut workers with knowledgeable legal representation to ensure that they get the compensation and benefits that they deserve. Contact us today for more information.

Connecticut Social Security Disability Lawyers Are Here to Help You

Most people think of Social Security as the benefit that all Americans receive once they hit the age of retirement. But for many people, Social Security is a benefit that becomes invaluable in case disability strikes. We rarely think about disability happening to us, but the truth is that injury and disabling illness strike one out of four people in the United States before they reach the age of 67, and if it happens to you, then you will likely need to apply for Social Security Disability benefits. Unfortunately, these benefits are not as easy to qualify for as they should be. Many claims are denied, even when the person who applies for them truly deserves the benefit. If that happens to you, call Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers. We are Connecticut Social Security disability lawyers who are here to help you get the benefits that you deserve.

There are a lot of things that you should know when applying for Social Security disability benefits, but possibly the most important of all is that the system can be extremely complicated and it is easy to make mistakes and to get frustrated. The best way to avoid the system and get the benefits that you deserve as quickly as possible is to work with an experienced Connecticut Social Security disability lawyer who can get it done right the first time, reduce your stress and anxiety, and get you the payments that you need fast.

In order to qualify for Social Security Disability, you need to have paid enough taxes into the trust fund. Doing so is thought to be essentially the same as paying an insurance premium. Yet only one-third of all people who file Social Security Disability claims are immediately approved. That means that two-thirds of those who apply receive denials of their application and are either required to simply give up or to file an appeal. That appeal can again be rejected and re-appealed to a Social Security Administrative Law Judge for consideration.

If you are not one of the lucky few whose claim received immediate approval, then the Connecticut Social Security disability lawyers at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers can help. Whether your problem is that you filed your claim beyond the deadline, were told that your claim was prepared improperly, or simply were told that you did not qualify, we will take the time to review your situation and documentation and then go file an appeal on your behalf to get you the benefits that you have paid for and that you deserve.

If you have a disability that is keeping you from working and supporting yourself and your family, then you may be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits. Contact us today to set up a consultation to discuss your circumstances and see how Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers can help.

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