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Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance is often anything but a smooth, quick process. The reality is that only about 30 percent of SSDI applications are approved on the first turn. Those cases often involve those who are the sickest and whose claims are very straightforward. If there is any question whatsoever about the viability of your claim, it’s likely you’ll be denied. That sets the stage for an appeals process, which in all truth, can take many months and possibly even years. man

The circumstances of every case will be different, but we generally encourage people to go ahead and pursue an SSDI appeal because their chances of prevailing in those later stages are much higher.

That said, of course, if you can avoid a denial in the first place, that’s the ideal situation. That’s why we stress the importance of hiring an SSDI attorney right from the beginning. That way, you are certain that your paperwork is properly filed, it’s completed on time, it has all the necessary information and it is delivered to the correct Social Security Administration agent for appropriate review. If there are circumstances that warrant an expedited process, your attorney can help facilitate that for you as well.  Continue reading →

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A woman recently wrote to an columnist who offers advice on Social Security matters, and lamented the fact that they were probably not eligible for SSDI benefits due to their retirement nest egg that was about $250,000. She noted she was 60 and had no choice but to quit her job due to an array of medical ailments. She was considering applying for SSDI, but assumed her husband’s income and their savings would disqualify her. cane

The columnist rightly noted the writer had fallen prey to the same misunderstanding that so many do when discussing Social Security Disability Insurance, which is to assume that it is a type of welfare program, and that therefore applicants have to meet certain income requirements.

“If Bill Gates became disabled tomorrow, he could file for Social Security disability benefits,” the columnist wrote, noting that even the billionaire wouldn’t be exempt under the current guidelines. It has to do with the SSDI is structured – and it does differ from Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, which is a type of welfare program.  Continue reading →

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If you are confronted with an illness, injury or other condition that leaves you so severely impaired that you are no longer able to work, you may have considered the possibility of applying for Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI. This federal program exists to extend financial protection in the long-term for adults who have worked and paid into the program. coffeebook

However, many people are deterred from applying in the first place – or put if off as long as possible – because they’ve heard the horror stories. They’ve heard of the mounts of paperwork, the seemingly systematic denials and the long waiting periods.

There is some truth to these stories, but there is also a fair amount of fiction floating around. Continue reading →

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Up until very recently, recipients of SSI benefits – or Supplemental Security Income – were not allowed to build any sort of savings account beyond $2,000. Many have long argued this is a grave disservice, particularly for those individuals who are able to work to some degree.piggy bank

But as The New York Times recently reported, recipients risked losing their much-needed benefits if they started to compile even a meager savings beyond that $2,000. Take, for example, the 27-year-old man with Down syndrome profiled. He works two jobs – one folding towels at a local gym and another taking tickets at a nearby movie theater. However, he was never allowed to keep more than $2,000 in the bank at any given time, otherwise he’d lose the SSI benefits on which he heavily relied.

Now, a new kind of savings account is giving this young man and others an opportunity to begin saving more cash. It’s called an ABLE account, and it allows people with disabilities and their families to save up to $14,000 annually – without losing any benefits. Continue reading →

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With promises by the new president to scrap the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” there is a high likelihood that the number of people seeking Social Security Disability Insurance benefits will grow at an even higher rate than they would otherwise.doctor

It is true that the number of people receiving SSDI increased from 2.5 percent of Americans in 1990 to 5 percent in 2015. However, there are several reasons for that, among them the fact there are more women in the workforce and also older workers who are living longer but are more likely to suffer long-term disability.

But the ACA had two main provisions that helped to reduce the rolls to less than what they would otherwise be. One of those was the provision that forbid insurers from refusing customers on the basis of pre-existing conditions or charging them higher rates. The second provision allowed those with a low income to receive lower premiums. Continue reading →

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The SSDI backlog is likely to worsen, even as there already exists an extensive wait for processing Social Security Disability Insurance claims, a new Bloomberg report speculates.woman-300x200

As it now stands, a typical appeal for an SSDI denial takes more than a year to be heard by an administrative law judge.

The president of the ALJ union told Bloomberg that people waiting to have their SSDI appeals heard are “desperate.” This is not an exaggeration, particularly when you consider that people are continuing to get older and sicker, in addition to more people incurring new injuries. Continue reading →

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There are already a few options on the market in terms of self-driving cars, but we are really not quite there yet.  As of now, you could buy a Tesla, if you can afford and want an expensive electric car, and that features an advanced form of cruise control that uses cameras to control the car to prevent accidents.  The car will speed up and slow down to avoid other cars and can change lanes.  However, the system is not meant to fully replace the need for a human driver at this point.

carOn the other hand, Google is working on a fully automatic driving system that it will eventually lease to car manufacturers uses a more complicated LIDAR (laser and radar) system to navigate.  The goal being that an ordinary consumer can afford the system and can simply put in a destination and let the car do the rest.  This is much closer to what we have seen in variety of 1990s science fiction action movies like “Demolition Man” and “Total Recall.”  However, we are still a few years a way from seeing this technology widely used, according to Google. Continue reading →

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Over the past several months, we have been hearing a lot about an executive order signed by former president Barack Obama that allowed the FBI’s Brady background check system from having access to the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) roles.   The theory behind this executive order was that too many people with mental health issues were being allowed to purchase guns, and some of these people were using these guns in active shooter situations where innocent people were being killed.

pillUnder the executive order, if a person is receiving Social Security Disability Insurance for a mental health condition, as many people are, the background check system will be made aware of it and can deny the potential gun buyer the right to purchase the firearm on the application.  This was largely supported by Democrats, who are in favor of gun control measures, and opposed by GOP members, who typically favor not placing many or even any limits on the right to purchase firearms. Continue reading →

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In the past several months, we have heard a lot about the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  While most Americans are familiar with the Second Amendment and likely have strong feelings about it on one side of the issue or the other, many may not be aware of how the gun control debate has affected those who are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.  More specifically, SSDI or SSI beneficiaries who are receiving benefits at least in part because of a mental health condition such as major depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or various other mental health conditions are affected.

annual reportsOne of the things President Barack Obama did before leaving office was to enact an order that allowed the federal background Brady check system access to the disability rosters at the United States Social Security Administration (SSA).  Again, we are focusing on claimants who received disability benefits at least in part due to a mental health condition. Continue reading →

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There are various programs that the United States Social Security Administration (SSA) administers.  The largest part of the agency’s budget involves the Old Age and Retirement program.  These are the benefits that are available when you reach a certain age.  This age was once 60, but those days are long gone, and the age for full benefits keeps increasing as time passes and Congress looks for more ways to save money by paying out less in benefits.

gavelIn addition to the old age program, there is also the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits program.  When most people think or talk about Social Security disability benefits, they are talking about SSDI benefits. Continue reading →