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Posts Tagged ‘SSDI’

Workers Comp, Other Benefits Can Reduce Disability Benefits

Friday, January 13th, 2012

Those who receive disability benefits or are applying to receive them should be aware that other types of benefits may impact the amount of their Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) benefits. Benefits that come from private sources – pension plans or disability insurance, for example – do not impact SSDI benefits. Benefits that come from public sources can, however, reduce the amount of SSDI benefits that you can receive.

Workers’ compensation benefits are one type of public benefit that can have an impact on SSDI benefits. You may be receiving workers’ compensation from state or federal agencies or from your employer, but regardless of who is paying the benefits, they will play in a role in determining how much you can receive in SSDI benefits.

Another type of public benefit that impacts the calculation is other types of disability benefits. There are local, state and other federal programs that pay disability benefits that are not related to work. The Social Security Administration (“SSA”) lists the following as examples of such benefits – civil service disability benefits and state temporary disability benefits.

Several types of public benefits that do not have an effect on your SSDI benefits include the following – Veterans Administration benefits, local and state benefits from which Social Security taxes were deducted and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) benefits.

The point at which the SSA reduces your SSDI benefits is the following – if you add together your SSDI benefits and all the income you receive from benefits that we mentioned above as having an impact on SSDI benefits, the total cannot exceed 80 percent of what you made on average before you became disabled. The SSA will take any amount over that 80 percent figure out of your SSDI benefits.

The interplay between various public benefits can be complex and confusing. Do you have experience with how different benefits impact others?

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability attorneys

Work Credits Qualify You for SSDI Benefits

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Many of our posts mention Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) benefits and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) benefits. The main difference between the two is that SSDI benefits are only available for people with a qualifying work history, whereas SSI benefits depend on income level, not work history. Here we discuss what the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) means by qualifying work history.

Generally you need to have worked long enough and recently enough in order to receive SSDI benefits. You receive work credits each year based on the amount that you earned. The amount you have to earn to get a work credit changes each year – for example, in 2011, you earned a credit for each $1,120 you earned, and, in 2012, you get one for each $1,130 you earned. The maximum number of credits you can earn in a year is four, so for this coming 2012 year, once you have earned $4,520 you will have the year’s full work credits.

The number of credits you need to qualify for SSDI depends on your age. The following are some of the guidelines that the SSA uses:

  • If you are under the age of 24, you need 6 credits in the 3-year period prior to the date that your disability started
  • If you are between the ages of 24 and 31, you take the number of years you are older than 21, cut that in half, and then multiply that number by 4 to get to the number of credits you need (for example, if you are 29, that is 8 years after 21; half of that is 4, so you will need 16 work credits to qualify for SSDI)
  • Between 31 and 42, you need 20 credits
  • Between 43 and 62, you need the number of credits that is 22 less than your age (for example, a 56-year-old would need 34 credits)
  • After 62, you need 40 credits
  • Applicants should note that, after the age of 31, you must have earned at least 20 credits in the 10 years before you became disabled

Additional information on qualifying for disability benefits is available from a Tulsa Social Security disability law firm. Are you an SSDI recipient or were you one in the past? Did you have any problems with the SSA calculating your work credits?

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability attorneys

Washington DC Woman Stole $300,000 in Disability Benefits

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

A federal judge in Washington DC handed down a harsh sentence to a 61-year-old woman for her lengthy, fraudulent receipt of Social Security disability benefits. While many criminals who steal disability benefits end up with no prison time, this woman will be serving two and a half years in a federal prison for her theft of disability benefits running from 1995 until 2011. The total amount of her theft was $305,844.40, and she has to repay that amount within three years, according to the judge’s order.

The crime stems from the woman’s use of her sister’s name and Social Security number, which the woman had been using since 1989. She applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) benefits in 1994 in her sister’s name, misleading medical experts and the SSA as to her true identity. She received those benefits for 16 years. The woman had also applied for SSDI and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) benefits in her own name in 1992 and again in 2007, but the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) denied her applications.

An investigator with the SSA pointed out that the average disability beneficiary costs the government about $130,000. When the SSA can catch criminals like in this case, the SSA can recoup some of this money and put it towards disabled Americans and their families who are truly in need. Additionally, the investigator noted that many of these investigations start with a tip from a friend or co-worker who suspects fraud. While the SSA may not catch every criminal, it always welcomes tips that make its job of providing benefits to legitimate beneficiaries a little easier.

Ultimately, the SSA needs to catch these criminals towards the beginning of their activities, since the costs to investigate and prosecute these crimes also add to wasted money. Have you received disability benefits? What parts of the process did you feel could be improved?

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability lawyers

Payroll Tax Cuts Extended 2 Months, May Hurt Long Term

Monday, January 9th, 2012

Journalists and economists are taking a closer look at a fear we expressed a few months ago when we learned that Congress and the Obama administration were considering extending the payroll tax cut. The fear is that the short-term money gained from the cut could come back to hurt Social Security benefits, and many now think that may be the case.

Most Social Security benefits – whether retirement or Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) benefits – are money that workers already paid into the system. Beneficiaries are receiving money that they paid during their years of work; most Social Security benefits, thus, are self-funded. The problem with the payroll tax cut is that it makes Social Security not entirely self-funded.

For the first time ever in 2011, there was a payroll tax cut for workers to pay less in Social Security taxes. In order to cover the shortfall of money as a result of the tax cut, Social Security took $110 billion from the Treasury. The new, two-month payroll tax cut of 2012 will force Social Security to take another $19 billion from the Treasury. In the past, Social Security benefits were off the table during political talks about budget cuts because they were self-funded. If benefits are no longer self-funded, it becomes more likely that, at some point in the future, there could be cuts to benefits.

The 2011 payroll tax cuts saved households, on average, $900. Social Security benefits are safe for now, but extended tax cuts could comprise future benefits for families. How has the temporary tax cut benefited your family? Are longer term Social Security benefits more important for you than the recent payroll tax cuts?

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability attorneys