Articles Posted in Social Security Disability

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The United States Social Security Administration (SSA) has announced it will implement a 1.7 percent cost-of-living increase in 2013. The Agency stated the payment boost will result in an increase in the average monthly retirement benefit of $21 and the average monthly disability benefit of $19. This means disabled Americans will receive an average of $1,132 per month beginning next year. Additionally, the monthly benefit payment for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients will increase by $12 to $710.

The benefit increase will reportedly affect several other aspects of the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and SSI programs in 2013. The substantial gainful activity cap for both SSDI and SSI beneficiaries will increase by $30 per month for individuals who are not blind and $50 per month for those who are blind. This means disabled Americans can earn more through part-time work before their monthly benefit check is impacted. Meanwhile, the trial work period, or amount of compensation a disabled individual may earn in any nine month period prior to losing his or her disabled status, for SSDI recipients will increase by $30 per month. In 2013, the SSI student exclusion monthly limit will also increase by $30 and the annual limit will increase by $120.

The federal SSI program was added to the nation’s Social Security program in 1972 in order to provide additional income to blind, disabled, and aged Americans based on financial need. To qualify for SSI, an individual may not have more than $2,000 in assets, and a couple may not have more than $3,000 in assets. In addition to financial compensation, disabled individuals who receive benefits pursuant to the SSI program may receive job counseling and training at no cost.

The SSDI program offers financial support to injured or disabled Americans who are unable to work for at least one year. In addition, SSDI beneficiaries are entitled to receive federal health care benefits like Medicare or Medicaid. Before a disabled individual may collect SSDI benefits, however, he or she must have earned wages at some point. Unfortunately, applying for SSDI benefits can be both frustrating and time consuming. If you have a physical or mental disability that has left you unable to work, you should discuss your situation with an experienced Texas social security disability lawyer today.

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Federal Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) offers financial support to disabled Americans who are expected to be unable to work for at least one year. SSDI beneficiaries are also entitled to receive federally funded health care benefits like Medicare or Medicaid. In order to collect SSDI benefits, an individual must have worked at some point in their lifetime. Unfortunately, applying for SSDI benefits can be difficult for many Americans.

Roberta Roque, an Advocate Supervisor at Disability Rights Texas, believes the SSDI application process is often tough for many citizens. She said confusion can result in multiple applications, an increased number of appeals, and ultimately, a delay in benefit approval for disabled Americans. She also stated regulations and policies are written in a way that often confuses applicants.

According to Charlie Brittian, a Project Manager at the Social Security regional office in Dallas, many disabled Americans believe all initial SSDI applications are denied. Meanwhile, Roque said applicants with mental health issues often feel their SSDI applications are denied because their disabilities are not physically apparent. Brittain, however, believes most SSDI benefit denials are the result of incomplete medical files because the nation’s Social Security Administration (SSA) does not actually make disability determinations. Instead, state Disability Determination Services offices receive medical records and make disability decisions. Unfortunately, state agency employees never meet SSDI applicants and if records requests are not fulfilled after a certain amount of time, an application is eventually denied. Brittain recommends applicants contact medical providers in order to ensure medical documentation for any disability is submitted in a timely manner. In extremely limited instances, the SSA will also incur the costs of a medical examination.

An SSDI applicant has 60 days to file an appeal following any denial. If an appeal is not timely filed, the application process must begin anew. Instead of appealing a denial, however, many applicants simply apply again. Each time the process is begun, it takes at least three months for an application decision. If an applicant files an appeal and it is denied, however, the applicant may request a hearing. A hearing generally occurs about six months after the denial of any SSDI appeal in the State of Texas. Overall, the entire process can easily take one year from start to finish. Regrettably, many disabled applicants simply become frustrated and give up.

Many Americans believe social security benefits are only available to those who have reached retirement. SSDI was established to provide monetary assistance to injured or disabled Americans who are unable to work for at least 12 months. If you have a mental or physical disability that has left you unable to work, you are urged to discuss your condition with an experienced Texas social security disability lawyer today.

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