CategorySocial Security Info | Philip Garrow LLC - Part 2

Garnishment and Social Security Benefits

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

New Hours at Social Security

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

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

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  If you have questions about applying for Social Security Disability or SSI please contact our office.

Funding of Social Security

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

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.

Social Security Announces Benefit Changes for 2012

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently announced cost of living (COLA) and other changes for its disability program, beginning January 1, 2012.

Based on the increase in the Consumer Price Index, Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients will receive a 3.6% increase in benefits in 2012.

The maximum taxable earnings increases to $110,100, up from $106,800 in 2011.

The first $14,640 in 2012 earnings for retirees under the full retirement age are exempt from taxes.  (One dollar in benefits will be withheld for every $2 earnings above the limit.)  The first $38,880 in earnings are exempt from taxes in the year you reach full retirement age.  (One dollar in benefits will be withheld for every $3 earnings above the limit.)  There is no limit on earnings beginning the month you attain full retirement age.

The Federal SSI payment for 2012 will be $698/month.  The SSI resources limit remains at $2,000.

Other information can be obtained by visit your local Social Security Administration office or visiting the agency’s website.  If you have questions regarding Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDIB) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), please contact our office.

What is the Social Security Retirement and Disability Program?

From its inception in 1935, Social Security has been an insurance program.  The Old Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund and the Disability Insurance Trust Fund from which benefits are paid are funded by payroll taxes and interest paid on investments in securities backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government.

Only benefits and administrative expenses can be paid out of the trust funds. Although the income and outgo from these funds are carried in the president’s budget, none of the money can be used for other government programs.

From the beginning of the Social Security program, an individual worker or self-employed person has had an individual account on which his/her Social Security benefit amount is or will be calculated.  This is the basic concept of the insurance principle on which the program was established

Every year the trustees of the Social Security trust funds are required to issue a report on the status of the funds and their projections for the future.  The trustees are the secretaries of treasury, labor, and health and human services, the commissioner of Social Security, and two lay members.  Future projections are developed by actuaries and economists.

The basic structure of Social Security as an insurance program remains strong. Public attention needs to be focused on making this program stronger and assuring future generations of beneficiaries that it will be there when they need it. If you have any questions regarding Social Security Disability Benefits or Supplemental Security Income benefits Contact our office