Category : Social Security Facts

Will a Social Security Retirement or Disability system exist when I need it?

February 2nd, 2015

The Social Security Retirement program is the result of a bill enacted by Congress in 1935, 80 years ago this year.  In 1956 the Disability program was added, initially only for workers aged 50-64.  FICA taxes fund both programs.  There are separate Trust Funds for both programs, though there have been frequent transfers of funds between the Disability and Retirement Funds over the years.  You may have heard about the possible insolvency of either the Disability Fund or the Retirement Fund, or both, if changes are not made soon.  The rumors are true.  If Congress doesn’t act, both funds could run out of money, despite the fact that nearly every working person in the United States continues to pay into the funds.  Just recently the House of Representatives passed a law that restricts the transfer of money between the Disability and Retirement Funds – despite nearly universal opposition from Social Security advocacy groups. The bill insures that the Disability Fund will run out of money, as soon as next year!  Hopefully, that bill will not become law.  The Social Security solvency problems are fixable and many smart people, including those in the Social Security Administration, have proposed solutions, some of which are quite simple.  It will take political will, and an act of Congress, to put the ideas to work.  We all know that waiting for Congress to do something can be very frustrating, but that is the answer to this dilemma.  Ask your Congressman and Senators  what they are doing to avert the Social Security Funding crisis.  Tell them to do something now.

If you have questions regarding your Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDIB) claim or your Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) claim, please contact the law office of Philip H. Garrow at 541-382-3736.

Social Security Disability and Early Retirement

September 17th, 2013

Many people aged 62 or older apply for early Social Security retirement benefits, particularly if they are unable to work or find a job.  However, what they may not know is that if you opt for early retirement, and then apply for Social Security Disability, the disability benefit will be permanently reduced because of the early retirement.  The amount of the reduction depends on how long the person has been receiving the early retirement benefit.  This is not a widely known rule and Social Security personnel may not advise a person applying for early retirement of the potential adverse effect of their decision.  If you are considering early retirement, it may also be best to apply for disability at the same time (if appropriate) to be sure you receive the maximum benefit.  If you have questions or need help with your claim contact my office for assistance.

Early Social Security Retirement and Workers’ Compensation Disability

July 30th, 2013

If you are disabled worker age 62 or above, you may be able to reduce the SSA disability offset. Ordinarily, injured workers who receive both workers’ compensation disability benefits and Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits have their benefits reduced by application of the Social Security offset law.  However, workers who have the option of receiving early retirement, can elect to temporarily switch from receiving Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits to early retirement to eliminate the offset and receive full benefits.  Once the workers’ compensation claim has been settled, you can switch back to your regular disability benefit.  For questions and help contact Philip H. Garrow, Attorney, at 541-382-3736

Economic Impact on Social Security Disability Applications

April 8th, 2013

What impact has the down economy had on Social Security Disability applications?  While there has been an increase in disability applications in the last several years, recent research suggestions people do not apply for disability at a greater rate when the unemployment rate is high.  Applications for younger individuals (those 45 years old and under) do increase some, but disability applications for older individuals (those over 60) generally do not.  Analysts suggest that declining health as persons age is a more important factor in disability applications than the economy.  If you have questions or need help with a denied claim, contact our law office for assistance.

The Social Security/Workers’ Compensation Offset

March 12th, 2013

Injured workers who have been (or are expected to be) totally disabled for at least 12 months may also be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits.  If so, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will apply an “offset” to most worker’s disability benefit.  SSA applies a formula based on your “average current earnings” (ACE) which is generally your average monthly wages in the 3 years prior to your disability.  SSA then calculates 80% of your ACE, which is the maximum you can receive in combined monthly social security and workers compensation benefits.  This offset can also affect lump sum settlements.  It is important to understand the relationship between Social Security and Workers’ Compensation benefits to make sure you are receiving the maximum amount.  If you have questions check with your local SSA office, or contact Philip H. Garrow for a free consultation and explanation.

Garnishment and Social Security Benefits

December 7th, 2012

Generally, Social Security Disability benefits may be garnished for certain debts, such as child support or spousal support obligations, unpaid federal taxes or debts to federal agencies, including Social Security.  However, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits may NOT be garnished.  If you are having a problem with garnishment of your disability benefits, contact your local Social Security office.  If you have questions about disability,  SSDI or SSI benefits, contact Philip H. Garrow, Attorney for help with your case.

New Hours at Social Security

November 15th, 2012

The Social Security Administration recently announced reduced hours at all it’s field offices.  Effective, November 19, 2012, the Bend, Oregon office will be open from 9am-3pm daily.  Beginning on January 2, 2013, the office will close at 12 noon on Wednesdays only.  Social Security attributes the changes to a need to reduce the agency’s overtime costs.  New signs will be posted at the office soon.  Contact the local office if you have questions or go on-line at socialsecurity.gov.

If you have questions or need help with your Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDIB) claim or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim, contact our office.

2013 COLA/SS Benefits

November 1st, 2012

The Social Security Administration recently announce the cost-of-living increase for 2013 at 1.7%.  As a result,

– Monthly benefits for disabled and retired persons will rise by 1.7%.

– The maximum Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit has increased to$710 for an individual and $1,066 for an a married couple.

-The monthly amount of earnings deemed to be “substantial gainful activity” (for non-blind disabled persons)  is $1,040.

-The monthly earning threshold for a “trial work period” for persons receiving SSDIB (disability benefits) is $750.

For additional information, contact the Social Security Administration, or go on-line at ssa.gov.  If you have questions about applying for Social Security Disability or SSI please contact our office.

Funding of Social Security

December 29th, 2011

Many people think of Social Security as just a retirement program.  The official title of the Social Security Act is the Federal Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance Benefits Program.

It isn’t merely a tax on your earnings.  It is an insurance program that serves young workers as well as retirees.

Social Security payroll deductions are essentially insurance premiums providing workers with disability coverage and survivors benefits to families if a worker dies.   One out of every $3 from Social Security goes to survivors and dependents, making it the largest federal program serving children.

Some people are warning of an immediate funding crisis.  No crisis is imminent!  The program has been so well-managed it has amassed a surplus of more than $2.5 trillion.  It is solvent for more than two decades.  And the administrative costs are less than 1 percent.

There is, however, an inequality.  A person making $50,000 pays fees on 100 percent of that amount, while someone making $500,000 has their income capped and only pays fees on $106,800.  If we raise the cap, Social Security will become solvent far into the future.

Younger generations are entitled to this sense of security.  Instead of raising the eligibility age, the government should consider raising the cap on the higher earners, eliminate the inequity, and preserve this essential program.

If you have any questions about Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDIB) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), please contact our office.

Changes to Social Security Filing Rules

December 15th, 2011

The Social Security Administration recently enacted a rule preventing individuals with denied claims from filing a new claim while the first claim is still on appeal.  This new rule could be harmful to individuals whose appeals have taken months or years to resolve while they wait with no benefits.  Our national organization, NOSSCR, is busy meeting with the SSA to explain the potentially harmful effects of this new ruling and is encouraging the Administration to re-think its position.  We will keep our clients updated on this new development.  If you have questions regarding your Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDIB) claim or your Supplement Security Income (SSI) claim, contact our office.