After spending most of your life working and paying into Social Security, one day, you may become unable to continue working due to your age or perhaps your declining health. You may consider filing for disability benefits. Applying for disability benefits may feel intimidating and confusing. Many people are left wondering, “Do I need a lawyer for social security disability?” 

Do I Need a Lawyer for Social Security Disability?

While you are not required to hire a lawyer during the Social Security Disability application process, having legal counsel will significantly decrease your chances of being denied benefits. Many people assume that the application process is quick, easy, and only requires filling out a few forms. This is not the case when it comes to applying for disability benefits. The application process can be complex, and it requires extensive paperwork, medical records, and other personal information. Errors or omissions could impact your claim negatively and may result in a denial of benefits. If you were denied benefits, having a disability attorney to help you through the next steps will make the process much easier. 

What Is Required When Applying For Disability? 

When applying for disability, you will need to present information about your medical condition, work history, and other personal information. It is crucial to provide complete and accurate information during the application process. 

A Disability Attorney Can Help You Organize the Required Information

Compiling all of the required information on your own can be difficult and tedious. A disability attorney can assist you in organizing the correct information and ensuring it is comprehensive and satisfactory. 

Medical Information

  • Name, address, and telephone number of all treating physicians 
  • Dates and names of any medical tests you have undergone
  • Names of medications you are taking and the prescribing doctor

Personal Information

  • Your social security number
  • Your date and place of birth
  • Name and birth dates of any children who are minors
  • Your current or former spouse’s social security number and date of birth as well as the place of marriage and date of divorce or death if applicable
  • Your banking information including bank name and routing number or account number

Work Information

  • Names and addresses of employers from the current year and year prior
  • A copy of your Social Security Statement
  • The amount of money earned in the current year and previous year
  • A list of up to five jobs you have had in the last 15 years with dates of employment
  • Information regarding any workers’ compensation benefits you field or intended to file for
  • The start and end dates of any active-duty U.S. military service prior to 1968

What Happens If I Am Denied Benefits?

Finding out that you have been denied your benefits can feel frightening, but a majority of clients are denied on the application. There are many reasons why your disability claim may have been denied and it can be remedied. You may have filed the incorrect claim type, failed to show adequate medical proof, you may earn too much money, or it could be something else. If you were denied, your claim could be reevaluated during the appeals process. It is not recommended to attempt an appeal without the assistance of a knowledgeable disability attorney. Disability attorneys have experience with the Social Security claims process as well as insights into the specific requirements to get approval. 

The Law Offices of Karen Kraus Bill Can Help

Whether you are applying for the first time or need to appeal a denial, the disability attorneys at the Law Offices of Karen Kraus Bill are ready to assist you. Applying for SSDI or SSI on your own might seem straightforward at first, but you will quickly discover a lot goes into the process. Mistakes or missing information on the application can result in a denial or reduced payments. The attorneys and staff at the Law Offices of Karen Kraus Bill have filed hundreds of applications. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal insurance program used by qualified workers who can no longer work. Those who qualify and are insured under the SSDI program will receive an SSDI payment each month. So, what is the average SSDI payment qualifying participants can expect?

How Are SSDI Benefits Calculated?

The Social Security Administration has a system to calculate your benefits called the Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME) and the Primary Insurance Amount (PIS). Is it a complex formula that is difficult to use to calculate your expected benefits on your own, but the SSA can give you an estimate. 

Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME)

This is a tool the SSA uses to index your lifetime earnings. During this process, they account for up to 35 years of your working years, along with the increase in general wages that happened during those years. This is to ensure that your future payments mirror this rise. The SSA will use the years you have the highest indexed earnings and calculate the average earnings, and then round down to reach your AIME. 

Primary Insurance Amount (PIA)

The PIA is the base amount of benefits you will receive. Using the total of three fixed percentages from your AIME, the SSA will determine your PIA. As an example, someone who becomes eligible for SSDI benefits in 2021 may be calculated like this:

  • 90% of the first $996 of AIME
  • 32% of the AIME over $996 through $6,002, and
  • 15% of the AIME over $6,002

Average SSDI Payment Amounts

If you are eligible for SSDI benefits, your amount is not based on how much income you have but on your average lifetime earnings before your disability began. The average SSDI payment amount for 2021 is about $1,277. The highest monthly SSDI payment you can receive in 2021 at full retirement age is $3,148. 

Why Is My SSDI Payment Low?

Your benefits amount may be reduced if you receive other disability payments such as a worker’s compensation settlement. Reductions like this are referred to as “offsets.” However, most other disability benefits will not affect your average SSDI payment, such as payments from private insurance or veterans benefits. If you haven’t worked many years, if you have gaps in your work history, or if you have several years with low earnings your benefit amount may be lower than average.  

Get Help Applying for SSDI Benefits Today

Applying for SSDI benefits is a challenging task and is best handled with the assistance of a skilled disability attorney. The SSDI lawyers at the Law Offices of Karen Kraus Bill will ensure your records are in order so your application is as strong as it can be. We will help you avoid unnecessary delays and increase your chances of winning the benefits you need and deserve. Call our office today to learn more or to schedule a free evaluation. 

The coronavirus has affected people worldwide, and this widespread virus has caused the rates of unemployment in the United States to skyrocket. Due to this, the U.S. government passed the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act in 2020 and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021. These are both meant to provide direct economic assistance for Americans who have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there are some limitations on who will receive stimulus money based on income level. So what do you need to know about SSDI, SSI, and stimulus checks? 

Who Is Eligible For The COVID-19 Stimulus Check?

The 2nd stimulus check was provided in the amounts of $600 per individual, $1,200 per couple, and $600 for children. Individuals with an adjusted gross income (AGI) that falls at or below $75,000, $112,500 for heads of household, or couples who earn below $150,000 are eligible to receive the COVID-19 relief funds. Those who earn above these amounts may still receive a stimulus check, but the amounts will be reduced. 

Will SSDI or SSI Affect My Stimulus Check?

Many people are wondering, “Am I eligible for the COVID-19 stimulus check if I also receive SSDI or SSI benefits?” If you participate in the SSDI or SSI programs, the IRS claims you should automatically be eligible to receive the stimulus money. If you received money on the first or second round of payments, you should qualify for future stimulus payments. However, if you were claimed as a dependant on someone else’s tax return, that could affect your eligibility. 

Will COVID-19 Stimulus Money Affect My Disability Benefits Eligibility?

The COVID-19 stimulus check will not count as income for SSI eligibility purposes, and there is no need to report it to the Social Security Administration as income. The money is also not taxable, so it also does not count as a resource as long as you spend the full amount within 12 months of receiving it. For those receiving SSDI benefits, the stimulus check should not affect eligibility. 

What If My Income Is Lower Than When I Filed My Last Tax Return?

If you had decreased income in 2020 due to the loss of a job and/or starting disability benefits, there is a chance you may not receive the next stimulus check. However, if you filed a 2019 tax return that is above the $75,000 or $150,000 threshold, but you are under that threshold upon filing your 2020 taxes, you could get your stimulus payment in the form of a rebate with a later tax return. This is referred to as a Recovery Rebate Credit

Beware of Stimulus Check Scams

Please be aware that the IRS will not contact you for personal financial information. Many scams surround the COVID-19 relief money and people have received phone calls from someone claiming to be from the Treasury Department or the IRS. The IRS will securely mail you a letter to your last known address approximately 15 days after your money was deposited into your account or mailed as a paper check. This letter will inform you of how the payment was made, and if you did not receive your payment, you can request a replacement check from the IRS. You can also check the status of your payment through the IRS website

Contact Us Today

If you or a loved one needs legal advice about SSI, SSDI, and stimulus checks for COVID-19 relief, please reach out to the Law Offices of Karen Kraus Bill today. Our team of experienced attorneys is available to help you get the money you deserve.

Are you dealing with health issues and financial uncertainty? You’re not alone. When you’ve become unable to work due to a health condition, you may need financial assistance to pay for your livelihood. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is an available resource for those needing financial assistance due to a disability. 

What is SSDI?

SSDI is considered an “entitlement program,” meaning it is available to those who have paid into social security and earned enough credits. By making their contribution to the Social Security fund, recipients of SSDI are considered “insured”. The Social Security Administration provides benefits to those who cannot work enough due to certain medical conditions

Who Can Qualify for SSDI?

SSDI is available for those individuals who are unable to work due to a physical or mental disability. There are a variety of impairments that qualify under SSDI. Some of them include disorders affecting the cardiovascular system or musculoskeletal system as well as neurological disorders and cancer. To be considered a candidate for SSDI, a person should be under the age of 65 and have earned a specific number of work credits, working at least 5 out of the last 10 years. 

How Much Money Can You Make And Still Get SSDI?

SSDI Income Limits

In general, SSDI recipients are unable to perform what the Social Security Administration refers to as “substantial gainful activity” (SGA). Substantial gainful activity means you can work enough to make more than $1,310 per month in 2021 or $2,190 if you’re blind. In general, SSDI payments will stop if you are earning more than those amounts. 

Working and SSDI Benefits

There are some exceptions to the SSDI income limitations. SSDI recipients can perform a trial work period during which they may be able to make more than the SGA amount and maintain SSDI benefits. Sometimes, during a one-month trial period, SSDI recipients can test their ability to work and continue to receive full benefits even if the amount earned exceeds SGA. 

Ticket to Work Program

Those who are looking to work toward financial independence and are also receiving SSDI benefits can sign up for the SSA’s Ticket to Work program. This program supports those ages 18 to 64 who want to work but are also Social Security disability beneficiaries. The program waives SGA earning limits, so recipients can go through the program and complete trial work while still receiving benefits. If a participant gets a job through the program, SSDI benefits will stop if the amount earned exceeds the SGA amount. 

Ready to Apply for SSDI?

If you think you might qualify for SSDI benefits and are ready to apply, contact the Law Offices of Karen Kraus Bill help. Our team of experienced disability attorneys is ready to assist you throughout the process. If you are unsure whether or not you will qualify for SSDI, we are happy to discuss your options and answer your questions. The Law Offices of Karen Kraus Bill can also help if you were previously denied SSDI benefits. Contact us today for more information or to schedule a free consultation

Many people qualifying for disability have one big question about the income they are going to be receiving. Is SSDI taxable? The question is not so simple to answer as it can vary based on your specific situation and location. Here is a breakdown of how taxable your SSDI may be.

Before receiving SSDI benefits, there are two major factors that must be in play to qualify for benefits. The first is the definition by which the government deems someone qualified to receive benefits:

First, the SSA says, “Your condition must significantly limit your ability to do basic work such as lifting, standing, walking, sitting, and remembering—for at least 12 months.” The condition must prevent you from doing the kind of work you did previously, and based on your age, education, experience, and transferable skills, you are unable to perform other work.

Additionally, you must have a pre-qualifying disability from the SSA’s Approved List and make less than $1310 in monthly wages.

SSDI has supported Americans since Social Security came into existence during the New Deal acts of the 1930s.

When do you pay Federal Tax for SSDI?

Generally, SSDI income is not taxable unless your federal taxable income is above a certain threshold. Currently, as of December 2020, the threshold for a single income amount that is not taxable is $25,000 and $32,000 when married and filing jointly.

State Tax Possibilities for SSDI

The above rules stand for federal taxation of SSDI, but what about State taxes? Historically, states have not taxed Social Security Income, including disability income. However, in recent years, some states have began implementing state-specific policies on how social security income is taxed. The following 13 states have their own policies in place:

  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Kansas
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • Rhode Island
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • West Virginia

The state regulations on social security income often mirror the Federal regulations and simply add a state-specific layer to the way your income is taxed, but in some states, the regulations and ruling can differ slightly.

How Are SSDI Taxes Calculated?

Your reported income for taxes does not necessarily include the entirety of your disability income. The way this is calculated is based on your other sources of income and a portion of your social security income. If your calculated total is below the threshold set in your state or federally, you will not receive any taxes on your disability income. Additionally, this means that if your disability benefits are increased for any reason, you would potentially get taxed on a portion of that increase.

All of this can be confusing to navigate. This is one of the many reasons people often seek council with an experienced attorney to help them make sure they take the best route possible for their specific needs.

Need Help Navigating SSDI and Taxes?

Many of the questions people have about the income they receive can blur the lines of legal support and accounting support. Let our experienced social security disability lawyers help! Our attorneys have specialized in Social Security Disability Income and SSI legal services for over 30 years and we are prepared to help you through the process! Schedule a free consultation with one of the experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Karen Kraus Bill.

It was never your plan to stop working before retirement. You’ve worked hard your entire life, but an unexpected medical condition keeps you from working now. Should you apply for SSDI benefits? The Social Security Administration has an updated list of medical conditions that are considered severe enough to prevent a person from working. So, what are the SSDI qualifying conditions? 

Conditions that Qualify Under SSDI

The Social Security Administration has a list of impairments for each major body system that may support an individual’s qualification for SSDI. These conditions are considered severe enough to prevent a person from having gainful employment to support themselves or their family. Many of the conditions listed are either permanent, have a specific duration, or are progressive illnesses. For all other listings, there must be evidence to support the condition is severe and will last for a period of at least 12 continuous months. 

SSDI Qualifying Conditions for Adults 18 and Over

Part A of the Listing of Impairments from the Social Security Administration covers adults that are 18 or older. The conditions include disorders affecting:

  • The Musculoskeletal System: These may result from hereditary, congenital, or acquired pathological processes as a result of inflammatory, infections, traumatic or developmental events or degenerative processes. 
  • Special Senses and Speech: This can include visual disorders such as blindness and requires measuring an individual’s visual fields. 
  • Respiratory Disorders: This can include disorders such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pulmonary fibrosis, pneumoconiosis, asthma, bronchiectasis, cystic fibrosis, chronic pulmonary hypertension, and lung transplantation. 
  •  Cardiovascular System: Impairment in this category may result from chronic heart failure or ventricular dysfunction, discomfort or pain due to myocardial ischemia, syncope or near syncope, or central cyanosis. 
  • Digestive System: Disorders can include liver dysfunction, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, short bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, and malnutrition. 
  • Genitourinary Disorders: Examples can consist of chronic glomerulonephritis, hypertensive nephropathy, diabetic nephropathy, chronic obstructive uropathy, and hereditary nephropathies.
  • Hematological Disorders: Includes disorders that disrupt the normal development and function of red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and clotting-factor proteins such as bone marrow failure, disorders of thrombosis and hemostasis, and hemolytic anemia. 
  • Skin Disorders: These may include disorders affecting the skin such as ichthyosis, bullous diseases, hidradenitis suppurativa, chronic infections of the skin or mucous membranes, burns, dermatitis, and genetic photosensitivity disorders.
  • Endocrine Disorders: This can include disorders affecting the pituitary gland, thyroid gland, parathyroid gland, adrenal gland, pancreatic gland, and more. 
  • Congenital Disorders that Affect Multiple Body Systems: This included non-mosaic Down syndrome.
  • Neurological Disorders: This can include epilepsy, amyotrophic sclerosis, coma or persistent vegetative states, or early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. 
  • Mental Disorders: There are 11 categories of mental disorders including schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorder, neurodevelopmental disorders, and more. 
  • Cancer: This includes all cancers, except for certain cancers associated with an HIV infection. 
  • Immune System: Include immune dysfunction due to impaired cell-mediated immunity, issues with antibody production, and more. 

Visit the SSA website to see the full description of each disorder.

SSDI Qualifying Conditions for Children Under 18

Part B of the Listing of Impairments from the Social Security Administration covers children under 18 years old. The conditions included are:

  • Low Birth Weight and Failure to Thrive: Low birth weight is evaluated in children from birth to age 1 and failure to thrive from birth to age 3. 
  • Musculoskeletal System: Defined as the inability to ambulate effectively or perform fine and gross movements effectively.
  • Special Senses and Speech: Visual disorders, including blindness.
  • Respiratory Disorders: Includes chronic lung disease of infancy, asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, or cystic fibrosis. 
  • Cardiovascular System: Impairment in this category may result from chronic heart failure or ventricular dysfunction, discomfort or pain due to myocardial ischemia, syncope or near syncope, or central cyanosis. 
  • Digestive System: Disorders can include liver dysfunction, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, short bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, and malnutrition. 
  • Genitourinary Disorders: Includes diabetic neuropathy, hypertensive neuropathy, chronic glomerulonephritis, chronic obstructive uropathy, and hereditary nephropathies. 
  • Hematological Disorders: Includes disorders that disrupt the normal development and function of red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and clotting-factor proteins such as bone marrow failure, disorders of thrombosis and hemostasis, and hemolytic anemia. 
  • Skin Disorders: Impairments under this category can include dermatitis, hidradenitis, ichthyosis, suppurativa, burns, genetic photosensitivity disorders, or infections of the skin or mucous membranes.
  • Endocrine Disorders: This can include disorders affecting the pituitary gland, thyroid gland, parathyroid gland, adrenal gland, pancreatic gland, and more.
  • Congenital Disorders that Affect Multiple Body Systems: Includes non-mosaic Down syndromes.
  • Neurological Disorders: Includes epilepsy, coma, or persistent vegetative states as well as neurological disorders that cause bulbar and neuromuscular dysfunction, disorganization of motor function, or communication impairment. 
  • Mental Disorders: Can include intellectual disorders, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders, developmental disorders in infants and toddlers, autism spectrum disorders, and more. 
  • Cancer: All cancers are evaluated except for those associated with an HIV infection. 
  • Immune System Disorders: Include immune dysfunction due to impaired cell-mediated immunity, issues with antibody production, and more. 

Visit the SSA website to see the full description of each disorder.

Ready to Apply for SSDI Benefits?

There are other factors that are considered when the Social Security Administration determines whether you qualify for SSDI benefits. If you think you may be eligible for SSDI, the Law Offices of Karen Kraus Bill can help. Having practiced disability law for more than 30 years, we are experienced lawyers for social security disability – ready to assist you with every step of the application process. If you were previously denied SSDI benefits, our experienced attorneys can also help you with the appeal process. Contact us today for a free consultation

Suppose you’ve spent most of your life working hard and paying into Social Security and are now unable to continue due to your age or a decline in your health. In that case, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). There are many qualifying factors that determine if you are eligible for SSDI, such as whether you can continue working, how severe your condition is, and whether you can do another type of work, to name a few. If you believe you qualify, the next step is to apply for SSDI benefits. Once you’re ready to apply, you might be wondering, “should I apply for SSDI on my own?” Acquiring assistance from an experienced disability attorney can make the process easier and increase your chances of being approved. 

What Is Involved In The SSDI Application Process?

Though it may appear as though applying for SSDI is as simple as filling out a few forms, there is much more that goes into the application process. There is an extensive amount of paperwork and communication with the Social Security Administration required for a successful outcome. Additionally, your medical evidence must be obtained and evaluated. 

Information Needed to Apply for SSDI Benefits

To apply for SSDI benefits, information regarding you, your medical condition, and your work history will be needed. 

Personal Information

Applying for SSDI benefits may require personal information such as:

  • Your date and place of birth
  • Your social security number
  • Your current or former spouse’s social security number and date of birth as well as the place of marriage and date of divorce or death if applicable
  • Name and birth dates of any children who are minors
  • Your banking information including bank name and routing number or account number

Medical Information

Medical information needed when applying for SSDI may include:

  • Name, address, and telephone number of someone who knows details about your medical condition to assist with application process
  • Names of medications you are taking and the prescribing doctor
  • Dates and names of any medical tests you have undergone 
  • Dates of treatments you have had along with names, addresses, phone numbers, and patient ID of the corresponding doctors or medical facility in which the care took place

Work Information

Your work history will play a part in determining your eligibility. Information needed may include:

  • Names and addresses of employers from the current year and year prior
  • The amount of money earned in the current year and previous year
  • A list of up to five jobs you have had in the last 15 years with dates of employment
  • A copy of your Social Security Statement
  • The start and end dates of any active-duty U.S. military service prior to 1968
  • Information regarding any workers’ compensation benefits you field or intended to file for

Benefits of Hiring a Disability Attorney to Apply for SSDI

When you choose to hire a disability attorney to assist you in the SSDI application process, you increase the likelihood that your application will be approved. A disability attorney is familiar with the Social Security Administration and the rules that pertain to SSDI applicants. They are also available to assist you in the long process of acquiring the necessary documents to help prove your eligibility. An experienced staff member will complete your application and review your information while checking for missing details or inconsistencies that could affect your approval. Errors and omissions may negatively impact your claim and could result in being denied SSDI benefits. If this happens, you can file an appeal, but this may cause a delay in receiving your benefits. 

Get Help Applying for SSDI Benefits

The disability attorneys at the Law Offices of Karen Kraus Bill understand the SSDI application process and want to make it as easy as possible for you. Having practiced disability law for more than 30 years, we are experienced lawyers for social security disability – ready to assist you with every step of the application process. Many people assume it is easy to be awarded benefits, but it’s not that simple. Applying for SSDI benefits is a complicated legal process that you shouldn’t have to navigate alone. Contact us today for a free consultation with one of our disability attorneys. 

You’ve worked hard all your life, but now you’re unable to continue working due to your declining health, or maybe you’ve reached an age where you simply can’t anymore. You might be wondering if you are eligible for Social Security disability benefits. Which type of claim is right for you? Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are disability benefit programs run by the Social Security Administration. The differences between these two programs can be confusing, so let’s discuss the major distinctions.

Social Security Disability Insurance

Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, is considered an “entitlement program” that is generally available to anyone who has paid into the Social Security system for the last ten years. These recipients are considered “insured” because they have made their contribution to the Social Security trust fund through paying FICA Social Security taxes. SSDI provides benefits to people who cannot work enough due to certain medical conditions or disabilities. The amount of SSDI payments vary based on the beneficiary’s earnings record. SSDI recipients are eligible for medicare.

Who Can Apply for SSDI?

To be a candidate for SSDI, a person must have earned a particular number of work credits and be under the age of 65. Generally, an eligible individual would need to have worked at least five out of the last ten years. Federal law has strict definitions of disability, stating that the medical condition causing the disability be one that is expected to last one year or more, or potentially result in death. People with short-term or partial disabilities would not qualify. 

Supplemental Security Income

Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, is considered a “needs-based program,” meaning it is strictly for low-income American citizens and is funded by general taxes rather than from the Social Security trust fund. The standard federal SSI payment is a set amount that changes yearly based on the Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLA). Additionally, most people who receive SSI will immediately qualify for benefits through Medicaid. 

Who Can Apply for SSI?

To meet the requirements for SSI, a person must have a very limited income and less than $2,000 in assets, or less than $3,000 for a couple. Most people who would qualify for SSI would also qualify for food stamps. Individuals over the age of 65 can qualify for SSI (regardless of their medical condition) if the income requirements are met. A person of any age, even children, can apply for SSI if they are disabled and have limited to no resources or income. 

Get Help Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits

It can be risky to apply for SSDI or SSI on your own. Many applications are initially denied due to mistakes or misinformation, unsuccessful attempts to collect medical evidence, and/or a failure to cooperate with the Social Security Administration. If your disability benefits application has been denied, we can help. There is a small window of time to appeal your denial, and statistics show you are more likely to get approved with the assistance of an attorney who is familiar with disability law.

Call Karen Kraus Bill

The Law Offices of Karen Kraus Bill has extensive experience handling disability law cases for SSDI or SSI. It is beneficial to have a skilled attorney on your side to help you get all of the necessary records in order to create the strongest application possible. We can also represent you during the appeals process if you were previously denied. We are ready to focus on winning your disability case so you can continue to take care of your health. Contact us today!