Category : Social Security Facts
If you decide to represent yourself at your hearing, be prepared! Read all the information provided to you by Social Security. Get to the hearing site early and ask to look at your file. Review any written statements you’ve already given Social Security and make sure they are accurate and up to date. Be ready to tell the judge about all your medical treatment and where the Judge can obtain these records, including names and addresses of your medical providers. Have a list of your medications and explain if they help or not and any side effects. The judge will ask about your impairments and limitations and why you don’t think you can work a regular job for a regular work week. Be sure you have an answer ready.
This is only a partial list and should not be relied upon as a substitute for qualified counsel. If you are represented, make sure your attorney has all this information is ready to represent you at your hearing.
Are you looking for representation? Contact Garrow Law for a case evaluation.
What you Should Know Before You Apply For SSI Disability Benefits For A Child
Children from birth up to age 18 may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
benefits. They must be disabled and they must have little or no income and resources.
Here are answers to some questions people ask about applying for SSI for children.
How Does Social Security Decide If A Child Is Disabled?
Social Security has a strict definition of disability for children.
The child must have a physical or mental condition(s) that very seriously limits his or her activities; and the condition(s) must have lasted, or be expected to last, at least 1 year or result in death.
A state agency makes the disability decision. They review the information you provide. They will also ask for information from medical and school sources and other people who know about the child.
If the state agency needs more information, they will arrange an examination or test for the child, which Social Security will pay for.
How Does Social Security Decide If A Child Can Get SSI?
Children can get SSI if they meet Social Security’s definition of disability for children and if they have little or no income and resources. Social Security will also consider the family’s household income, resources and other personal information.
An adult disabled before age 22 may be eligible for child’s benefits if a parent is deceased or starts receiving retirement or disability benefits. This is considered a “child’s” benefit because it is paid on a parent’s Social Security earnings record.
The “adult child”—including an adopted child, or, in some cases, a stepchild, grandchild, or step grandchild must be unmarried, age 18 or older, have a disability that started before age 22, and meet the definition of disability for adults.
Example: A worker starts collecting Social Security retirement benefits at age 62. He has a 38-year old son who has had cerebral palsy since birth. The son will start collecting a disabled “child’s” benefit on his father’s Social Security record.
It is not necessary that the adult child ever worked. Benefits are paid based on the parent’s earnings record.
An adult child must not have substantial earnings. The amount of earnings Social Security considers “substantial” increases each year. In 2019, this means working and earning more than $1,220 a month.
Certain expenses the adult child incurs in order to work may be excluded from these earnings. For more information about work and disability, refer to the Social Security publication “Working While Disabled: How We Can Help.”
Q: My spouse of 33 years passed away recently. I have been disabled for many years and have not been able to work. Am I eligible for disability benefits based on my husband’s Account?
A: Yes, you are. Social Security has very specific rules for payment of disabled widow or widower’s benefits. These same rules apply to surviving divorced spouses as well. The surviving spouse must be between the ages of 50 and 60 years old; you condition must meet Social Security’s definition of disability for adults; and, your disability must have started within 7 years of your spouse’s death.
You can speak directly with the Social Security Administration and have them assist you with filing an application for widow or widower’s benefits. You should contact the Social Security Administration as soon as possible to make sure you qualify for benefits and you have filed in a timely manner. You must contact Social Security by phone or in person. They do not take online applications for disabled widow/widower benefits.
Philip H. Garrow
Attorney at Law
Practice Limited to Workers’ Compensation Cases and Social Disability/SSI Claims
Q: I am disabled and recently began to receive Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits. Will I be entitled to yearly increases in benefits like retirees get?
A: Yes. Social Security annually makes a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for all Social Security (retirement and disability) beneficiaries and for all SSI (Supplemental Security Income) recipients. In 2019 the cost-of-living adjustment was a 2.8% increase. For SSI recipients, the Federal SSI maximum is now $771 per month and $1,157 per month for families.
The COLA is based on the Consumer Price Index for Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). So, the amount is quite variable and some years there is no increase. Social Security typically reports the COLA increase – if any – at the end of the calendar year.
If you have any additional questions, look at the ssa.gov website.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 case evaluation and explanation.