Category: Social Security Disability

Donald Trump’s Stance on Social Security

Social Security Disability

Donald Trump’s Stance on Social Security

There have been a lot of strong emotions regarding this year’s presidential election. Whether or not you’re happy about it, there’s no refuting the fact that Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States. So regardless of your personal politics, it’s a good idea to know how the president stands on issues that are relevant to your life. For instance, what exactly is Mr. Trump’s plan for Social Security?

 

Donald Trump’s plan at this point is basically two-fold:

  1. Create jobs to pay into Social Security.
  2. Eliminate the “waste” from Social Security.Close-up Of Hand With Pen And Eyeglasses Over Social Security Benefits Application Form

 

He believes that in order to save the Social Security program, the economy needs to be reinvigorated first. He says, “the key to preserving social security is to have an economy that is robust and growing.” This is where creating jobs comes into play. The idea is that if there are more jobs, then more people will be paying into social security. If there is more money in social security, then more people can receive the benefits they need.

 

When Trump talks about eliminating waste from Social Security, this refers to eliminating fraudulent claims from the system. For instance, people who have passed away, but whose families are still collecting their social security benefits. If there are fewer people pulling money from the system, then there is more money to go around to those who need it.

 

During one of the Republican Primary debates, Trump had mentioned being okay with the idea of limits being placed on social security based on income. Therefore, billionaires, and those who make so much money they do not need social security benefits, would not be pulling money from the system. However, Trump has not mentioned this idea again since the Primary.

 

If you have any legal questions about your Social Security benefits, be sure to contact an experienced attorney who can help.

What to Expect When Attending a Social Security Disability Hearing

Social Security Disability

What to Expect When Attending a Social Security Disability Hearing

When dealing with a Social Security Disability hearing, many people aren’t actually sure what to expect out of the proceedings. You might be expecting the type of courtroom proceeding you see on television: big wood-paneled rooms, the judge sitting on an elevated platform, a jury, and an opposing lawyer. It’s an intimidating image to say the least.

In reality, a Social Security hearing is much more akin to a conference room meeting than an episode of Law and Order. Usually there are only a handful of people in the room. Other than yourself and your attorney there is also likely to be a court reporter—who is responsible for keeping a written transcript of the proceedings—and a judge. There may also be a vocational expert whose job is to be a resource for the judge. However, more often than not, they will be on speakerphone rather than in the hearing.

Compared to the courtroom you might see on TV, a social security hearing is likely going to feel very informal. The judge will likely ask yEmpty chairs in a business boardroom. Very narrow depth of field shot with Tilt Shift.ou questions directly. They could be about anything ranging from your daily life to the nature of your injury to the type of work you were doing before the onset of your disability. There are very few limits to the kinds of questions the judge can ask you, so it’s best to be prepared for anything. You may be surprised about what kinds of evidence are allowed in a Social Security Disability hearing as the rules are very different than they are for other court proceedings.

The most important thing you can do when undergoing a Social Security Disability hearing is to find an experienced attorney who can help you through the process. The mish-mash of regulations surrounding a Social Security Disability hearing are complex and don’t follow a logical structure. Having an experienced attorney who can guide you through the process will ensure that you fully understand the proceedings. Don’t go into a hearing alone, make sure that you have an attorney who’s fighting for you and your rights.

Oxner + Permar’s experienced attorneys are passionate about fighting for their clients. Don’t go into a Social Security Disability hearing alone: go with an attorney who will fight for you and make sure that you are well informed every step of the way.

Is it Okay to Return to Work While You Are Waiting for Social Security Benefits?

Social Security Disability

Is it Okay to Return to Work While You Are Waiting for Social Security Benefits?
Many of my Social Security disability clients express their desire to return to work while they are waiting for their hearing. This is understandable because hearing wait times can be very long, with many claimants forced to wait two years or more. Some clients want to work part-time out of dire financial need. Others feel a strong desire to get out of the house and re-discover a sense of purpose.

It’s not easy to know what to do—and I certain empathize with my clients’ reasons for wanting to return to work. But I always caution them: Such a decision can be perilous to a disability claim.

Why is this?
First, if you get a new job and earn more than $1,130 a month, you are engaging in what is known as “Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)”. If you earn more than the allotted SGA amount in any nine months of a 60-month period, this automatically disqualifies you from receiving Social Security Disability benefits.

For claimants who earns less than $1,130, the decision to get a job still can jeopardize the claim. In fact, if a judge has reason to believe that a claimant could be earning more than the SGA amount but is intentionally working less they can, and often will, use that as a basis for denying the claim. So is important to be careful and make informed decisions about employment.

All in all, the decision to return to work is a difficult one and varies from client to client. When clients come to me for guidance, they are confused and unsure how to move forward. I help them understand all that is at risk and all that they have to gain in the decision of whether or not to return to work. It is my job—and the job of my colleagues at Oxner + Permar—to help you feel knowledgeable and confident about all of the steps involved in your Social Security disability claim.

Living the High Life on Disability

Social Security Disability

Afternoon naps, limited household chores, and unscheduled days lounging around the house. Looking from the outside, being a Social Security Disability (SSD) recipient seems a like a great deal. Receive income without working? Fantastic!

What some people do not know is that those afternoon naps may be required because of chronic fatigue or negative side-effects of a prescribed medication. Household chores are limited because the disabled person is physically unable to bend/stoop/push/pull/lift without excruciating pain. Lastly, staying at home may be the only option if driving causes intense pain or being in social situations induces paralyzing panic attacks.

Some people believe the current SSD program encourages able-bodied people to stay out of work. While this dream-world might be true for a very small percentage of cases, if we look a little closer, a different picture begins to appear.

As of November 2015, the average monthly benefit for a Disability recipient was $1,165.76. That makes for a yearly income of $13,989.12, which is only $2,219.12 above the 2015 Poverty Guideline for a one-person household. Looking at these numbers, it becomes clear that Disability payments do not provide for luxury goods.

Just in case you’re curious – in 2014 the average able-bodied American’s salary was $46,481.52 a year.

Aside from the limited financial aspects, it is also important to remember that the majority of individuals receiving Disability payments are battling severe medical problems. Health dominates their thoughts, controls their actions, and affects their relationships with family, friends, and loved ones.

Lastly, did you know that 1 out of every 5 males and 1 out of every 7 females on Disability will die within 5 years of getting approved? This dire statistic supports the idea that those individuals would not have been active within the workforce, regardless of if they were on disability or not.

The Social Security Administration’s Monthly Statistical Snapshot can be found at: http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/quickfacts/stat_snapshot/

Social Security Disability and Unemployment

Social Security Disability

When we speak with new clients my office goes through a list of questions that, at first glance, seem unrelated to a disability claim. Have you received unemployment? What is your education level? What do you do on a typical day? We don’t do this boring version of the “20 Questions Game” to be nosy or wastea client’s time. Instead, the answers to these questions can sometimes make or break a claim.

Unemployment:

Receiving unemployment benefits after the date you say you became disabled (“alleged onset date”) can be big issue. There is a conflict between saying “I am disabled” while certifying for unemployment. In order to receive Unemployment benefits the worker has to be *able* to work and *actively seek new employment.* Certifying that those statements are true for Unemployment while alleging, at the same time, that a person is disabled and *unable to work* doesn’t always add up.

There are long delays associated with disability applications and appeals; how are claimants supposed to survive when they cannot work? This is a tough question the Social Security Administration does not clearly address. In 2006 the SSA’s Chief Administrative Law Judge, Honorable Frank Cristaudo, issued a memorandum that stated that receiving Unemployment benefits did not make a aclaimant ineligible for SSD benefits. However, in 2011, a federal court case, Roberts v. Astrue, affirmed that a Judge was correct in using an application for Unemployment against the claimant.

Social Security judges are not consistent with how they approach unemployment. Some do not focus on the issue and leave it up to the State of North Carolina. Others will not award benefits for the time period when a claimant received unemployment; an amended onset date may be required.  Changing the onset date may impact the amount of retroactive benefits (“back-pay”) and the date of Medicare eligibility.

In short, when it comes to Unemployment, honesty is the best policy. If you decide to apply for Unemployment be truthful about your Disability application status. Also be sure your SSA Disability representative knows if you received unemployment benefits.