As regular readers of SS&Y are aware, the Social Security Administration administers 2 trust funds. The Old Age Survivors Insurance (OAS’) fund pays retirement benefits. The Disability Insurance fund (DI) pays disability benefits. When Congress passed and President Obama signed the Bipartisan Budget Act in November of 2015 to reallocate current contributions between the OASI…
The Social Security Administration has announced there will be no Cost of Living Adjustment in 2016 for the nearly 65 million Americans drawing Social Security disability, retirement or SSI benefits. This is because there was no inflation between the third quarter of 2014 and 2015 as measured by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage…
Spring-Summer 2015 Newsletter SSDI Insolvency Looms We’ve known it’s been coming for some time and now it’s on our doorstep. Unless Congress acts the Social Security Disability Insurance Trust Fund (DI Trust Fund) will become insolvent late next year and unable to pay full benefits any longer. Millions of Americans who rely on their disability checks for most, if not all,…
Fall 2014 Newsletter OBAMACARE UPDATE On October 1st it will have been a year since enrollment began in the Affordable Care Act national health insurance program known as Obamacare. The difficulties in the early weeks and months have been well documented. But where are we a year later… Read the Newsletter in PDF format. Read the Newsletter in PDF…
When most people think of Social Security they think of retirement benefits. Full retirement age is currently 66 years of age, but will be advancing in the coming years. Early retirement benefits can be obtained as soon as age 62, however, there is 20% reduction for drawing benefits that early and the reduced amount lasts for life, regardless of how long one lives. So other than the yearly cost of living increase recipients of early Social Security benefits don’t see an increase in their benefits when they reach full retirement age.
Many people are not aware that Social Security has other programs, as well. Disabled persons can draw Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), if they are disabled within Social Security’s rules. These rules cover financial and earnings situations as well as disability status.
To draw DIB benefits a disabled individual must have paid into the Social Security system through payroll taxes in 20 of the 40 quarters of the 10 years prior to becoming disabled. There are no other financial requirements. Assets, other income and spousal assets or income are not considered.
SSI is a welfare program in addition to being a disability income program. Recipients cannot have more than $2,000 in non-exempt assets, nor other significant income. Exempt assets included the basics: a home, a car, clothing and furniture. Significant spousal income can disqualify a disabled person.
Once the non-disability requirements are met Social Security evaluates the Claimant’s medical status. Certain illnesses and injuries qualify for automatic payment under what is called the Listing of Impairments. If the disability does meet or equal a listed impairment, an analysis is performed of the Claimant’s functional status, as well as their age, education and work experience.
Up until 50 years of age a person must be disabled from all jobs, regardless of age education and work experience. It gets easier to qualify for DIB or SSI once a Claimant reaches 50, and easier still at age 55 and age 60.
In rough terms, a person over 50 years of age with a physical, unskilled work history, such as a laborer, is deemed to be disabled if he or she is restricted to sedentary work. Sedentary work is described as the ability to sit 6 of 8 hours, walk or stand 2 of 8 hours and the ability to lift 10 lbs. frequently and 20 lbs. occasionally.
At 55 years of age a person with a physical, unskilled work history is deemed disabled if he or she is restricted to light work, described as the ability to sit 2 of 8 hours and walk or stand 6 of 8 hours and the ability to lift 10 lbs. frequently and 20 lbs. occasionally.
The rules for persons with semi-skilled or skilled work histories are more complicated, as are the rules for persons over 60 years of age.
A person receiving DIB for 24 months is eligible for Medicare Part A benefits w/o charge and Part B benefits with a small premium of $104.90 in 2014.
Medicare Part A benefits cover hospitalizations. 80% of everything is covered with a 20% co-pay. Part B covers treatment not rendered in an inpatient setting. Part B also covers 80% with a 20% co-pay. However, outpatient prescription medications are not covered by Part B. Medicare Part D covers outpatient prescriptions, however, there is a premium for Medicare Part D, based upon the particular drugs prescribed.
There are also special requirements for disabled widows over the age of 50.
Attorney fees are contingent on winning your claim, whether DIB or SSI, and the fee is limited to 25% or $6,000, whichever is less.
If you think you qualify for any of these benefits do not hesitate to call William M. Crawforth, P.C. for a free phone consultation.