The short answer to this question is simple: as soon as you possibly can.
Here’s the slightly longer answer:
Due to the extremely large backlog of disability claims and the complexity of the claims process, it is best to get your application for benefits in just as soon as you know you need them. Two out of three claims are denied during the initial screening stage, and fighting a denied claim can take months or even years. The sad truth is that you might be waiting a while to get the support you are owed, so the sooner you start, the sooner your benefits will arrive.
When to Get Started
You should begin working on your Social Security disability claim as soon as you:
- Know that you have a serious disability that will affect you for more than a year or that is fatal.
- Know that this disability will affect your ability to work and earn a living.
- Are familiar with the claims process and know how to avoid the common mistakes of filing a claim.
While there is a six month waiting period before Social Security disability benefits begin, you do not need to wait six months to apply for benefits.
How to Get Started
Before you file a Social Security disability application, it is important to take the time to file the application correctly. This may include learning about the process in our FREE book Social Security Disability: What You Need to Know, collecting medical evidence, and talking directly with an experienced Social Security disability lawyer. Our law firm has more board certified Social Security disability lawyers than any law firm in the United States. Yet, hiring us won’t cost you any more than hiring a non-attorney advocate. Call us today and schedule a meeting to learn more about your rights and about how to get the Social Security disability benefits you deserve.
Often, a disability impacts more than just your ability to work. It could also impact your ability to manage your money or to pay your bills on time, for example. In these cases, the Social Security Administration allows Social Security disability representatives to have a representative payee appointed.
What Is a Representative Payee?
A representative payee will receive a Social Security disability recipient’s monthly benefits and use that money for the benefit of the Social Security disability recipient. Specifically, the representative payee will use the money from the disability payments to pay for the Social Security disability recipient’s rent, mortgage, utilities, food, clothing, personal care and home care items, medical expenses, and to cover any other necessary expenses. Extra money can be used on entertainment, education, or home improvements for the person with the disability or can go into a savings account for the benefit of the person with a disability. A payee should never use the disability payments for something other than the benefit of the Social Security recipient.
Who Is the Representative Payee?
A payee is usually a family member, partner, close friend, or loved one. However, payees are sometimes a nursing home, an adult care facility, or another institution.
If you think your loved one needs a representative payee and you are willing to serve in that role, you should:
- Speak with your loved one about his needs and whether he would like assistance with his finances and care.
- Call the Social Security Administration or stop by a local office and let them know about the situation.
- Collect a note from your loved one’s doctor as well as important personal information, such as a Social Security number.
- Let the Social Security Administration know if any changes take place that would require a change in payments, such as a deteriorating health condition, a new source of income or employment, or the death of your loved one.
Do you have questions about acquiring Social Security disability benefits or selecting a representative payee? Contact our experienced Social Security disability lawyers today to schedule an initial consultation and to get the advice you need to move forward.
Yes. U.S. veterans may work part time or full time and still receive veterans’ disability benefits for a service-connected injury or health issue. This is true no matter how much you earn at work.
Unlike other types of disability benefits, VA disability is not based on your income or your ability to work. Instead, it is based on your service to your country and the sacrifice to your health you made doing your duty. Many veterans across the country are gainfully employed while also receiving disability benefits from their time in the service, and both their veterans’ disability benefits and their work are important to them.
However, There Is an Exception to the Rule
While many veterans may work and recover disability benefits, it is important to be aware of an important exception to the general rule that could apply to you.
If you are eligible for Individual Unemployability—a veterans’ compensation program that allows you to receive a 100 percent disability rating because you are not able to work—your payment is contingent on the fact that you cannot supplement your disability benefits with an income. Veterans who qualify for Individual Unemployability benefits may only receive these benefits if they do not engage in substantially gainful employment. Thus, if you qualify for Individual Unemployability benefits, your veterans’ disability payment may be connected to your ability to work.
You Deserve Personal Advice
You have suffered a significant and life-changing health condition while serving our country. Now, you deserve to fully understand the benefits you have earned and to receive full and fair benefits as soon as possible.
Like most government programs, veterans’ disability can be confusing, but the benefits can be important. We encourage you to learn more about your benefits and about your right to work by contacting an experienced veterans’ disability lawyer today via this website or by phone.
In 2015 (the most recent year for which statistics are available), 15 million people, or 10.1 percent of the American workforce, was self-employed. Texas was right in line with the national average with 10% of the workers in this state being self-employed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
If you are self-employed or work as an independent contractor or freelancer, do you still qualify for Social Security disability benefits? And what happens if you suffer from an injury, illness, or health condition that prevents you from continuing to work for an extended period of time?
Is Social Security Disability an Option for You?
Whether or not you are eligible for Social Security disability payments when you are self-employed depends on several factors, including:
- How long you have been in the workforce.
- Whether or not you have reported your income to the government.
- Whether you have paid your Social Security taxes.
- Whether you have a qualifying disability that is expected to last longer than a year (or that is fatal).
When you are employed by another entity, your Social Security taxes are usually taken out of your paycheck. When you are self-employed, you are responsible for reporting your income and paying your Social Security taxes. As long as you pay in to the system, you have the same right to Social Security disability benefits as workers who are employed by others.
What If You Are Still Doing Some Work?
For people who are employed by others, the Social Security Administration uses a specific dollar amount to determine if they are engaged in substantial gainful activity and, therefore, able to work. The same rules do not apply to the self-employed, however. Instead, the Social Security Administration will perform a countable income test to determine if you engage in substantial gainful activity.
You are entitled to a trial work period, however, just like people who are employed by others.
Do you have questions about self-employment and disability benefits? Call our experienced Social Security disability lawyers today for more information and download a FREE copy of our report, Social Security Disability: What You Need to Know.
If you are receiving Social Security disability benefits based on your own work history, your divorce will have no bearing on your eligibility for Social Security disability benefits. These disability benefits depend upon your work history and your contribution to the Social Security fund, not your family or your income. Thus, if you were eligible for Social Security disabilitybenefits when you were married, you will remain eligible for such payments after your divorce.
But Will Your Payments Change?
The calculation of your payments will not change, and if you divorce without any alimony or child support obligations, the amount you receive will not change. However, if you are required to pay alimony or child support, your Social Security disability payments may be garnished to satisfy those legal obligations.
What if You Were Eligible as a Dependent Based on Your Spouse’s Work History?
In limited circumstances, the Social Security Administration allows spouses of workers eligible for Social Security disability to also collect benefits. Generally, a spouse may be eligible for Social Security disability if the spouse is:
- Aged 62 or older
- Caring for a minor child under the age of 16
- Caring for a disabled child
After a divorce, you may continue to receive Social Security disability benefits as an ex-spouse if:
- You were married for at least 10 years.
- You are aged 62 or older.
- You have not remarried.
- You are not entitled to a bigger Social Security payment on your own.
If your children are receiving Social Security disability dependent benefits, your divorce is unlikely to impact those benefits.
Other Social Security programs, including supplemental security income, have different rules about how divorce impacts payments. Thus, it is important to know exactly how your benefits, and those of your family members, will be impacted by a divorce. To find out more, please contact Morgan & Weisbrod today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Social Security disability lawyer.
If you receive Social Security disability benefits, those benefits may be taxable. Social Security disability is not a need-based program. Therefore, there are often significant differences in recipients’ taxable income even if they are not working due to a disability, and some people end up paying taxes while others do not.
According to the Social Security Administration, approximately 33% of Social Security disability recipients pay taxes on their benefits.
Your responsibility to pay taxes—and the amount of those taxes—depends on your total income as well as the income of your spouse. According to the Social Security Administration:
- If your annual income is more than $25,000 and you file your taxes as an individual, you may have to pay taxes on Social Security disability benefits.
- If your annual income is more than $32,000 and you file your taxes jointly with your spouse, you may have to pay taxes on Social Security disability benefits.
Income could include wages, interest earned, or dividends. The percentage of your benefits that are taxed will depend on the amount of income you must declare on your tax returns. Your tax rate on Social Security disability benefits will be the same as it is on your other types of income.
If you reside in Texas, your Social Security disability benefits will not be subject to a state income tax because the state does not currently impose a state income tax.
It is very important that you list your Social Security benefits as well as all other sources of income when you pay taxes. If you have questions about your Social Security benefits and your taxes, be sure to speak with a tax advisor or accountant. If you have questions about your Social Security disability claim, we encourage you to contact our experienced Social Security disability attorneys for more information.
If you qualify for both Social Security disability benefits and Supplemental Security Income benefits, you can receive payments from both programs at the same time. However, your total payment from both programs cannot exceed the maximum monthly amount currently allowed to SSI beneficiaries.
Are You Eligible?
You may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits if you have a significant recent work history, if you have contributed payments to the Social Security fund, and if you are disabled as that term is defined by the Social Security Administration.
You may be eligible for SSI benefits if you have little or no income and few resources—and if you are either disabled or you are over the age of 65. However, the amount that you can collect is limited to the SSI maximum payment. For example, if the maximum payment is $700, you could receive a combination of disability payments from the two programs, but no more than that amount regardless of your disability or other factors.
Navigating the two disability programs offered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) can be difficult and overwhelming, especially if you are also struggling with serious health conditions. However, in order to recover benefits from either program you are going to have to complete the application process that is unique to that program and have it approved by the Social Security Administration. This can be difficult and many initial applications are denied.
Don’t Do it Alone
The experienced disability attorneys at Morgan & Weisbrod can help you understand what benefits you are eligible for and what to do in case you are wrongfully denied benefits. We will fight for your rights and help you get the maximum amount of benefits to which you are legally entitled. To find out more, please schedule a confidential initial consultation by reaching out to us via this website or by phone at any time.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) does not allow people to collect Social Security disability benefits and Social Security retirement benefits at the same time. If you are currently collecting Social Security disability and you are about to reach retirement age, you should know what is about to happen and be prepared for the coming change in benefits.
When you reach retirement age you will begin to collect retirement benefits from the SSA instead of disability benefits. Generally, if your health condition does not change, you will receive Social Security disability benefits until the age of 65 and then your retirement benefits will begin.
Is This a Problem?
No. Once you are of retirement age and receiving Social Security retirement benefits you should not receive less than you were receiving while you were eligible for Social Security disability. Additionally, you will not be subject to periodic disability reviews. The government will not be trying to prove that you can go to work and that, therefore, you are ineligible for benefits. As long as you have paid into the Social Security system, you are entitled to retirement benefits, regardless of your physical condition.
Are You Having Trouble Getting the Benefits You Deserve?
If you have questions about Social Security disability benefits, Social Security retirement benefits, or your denied disability claim, we encourage you to contact our experienced Social Security disability attorneys for more information about your rights. If you are in your early 60s, but not yet at retirement age, then it is especially important to be aware of your rights and to pursue the Social Security benefits that are right for you.
At Morgan & Weisbrod, our Texas disability benefits attorneys can answer your legal questions and get you the benefits you need and deserve. Contact us today via this website or by phone to schedule a no-obligation appointment about your rights.
You may have an idea in your head about what it means to be disabled, but there is not one single definition that is used consistently. Generally speaking, a disability is a mental or physical impairment that limits peoples’ daily activities—such as the ability to work or to move. Even partial or temporary disabilities can be life changing.
However, the Social Security Administration (SSA) does not include partial or temporary disabilities in its definition of the word “disability”. Instead, Social Security disability benefits are only awarded to people who are permanently and completely disabled.
What Does the SSA Mean?
According to the SSA, you have a disability that could qualify you for Social Security disability benefits if you:
- Have a mental or physical health condition that will either last for longer than one year or that will result in death.
- Have a health condition that does not allow you to do the work you did before you became disabled.
- Cannot do other work because of your health condition.
Even if you know that you are disabled and cannot work, you must still prove to the SSA that your condition falls under their strict definition of disability. You can accomplish this by presenting your medical records and other evidence during the application process.
The majority of initial applications are denied. Many of these applications are denied because there is an error on the application or the supporting documentation that prevents the applicant from proving that he is disabled according to the SSA’s unique and strict definition of that word.
Don’t Let This Happen to You
If you are truly disabled—according to the SSA’s definition of disability—you deserve the benefits you’ve worked for and earned. Thus, we encourage you to contact our experienced lawyers today. Do not wait and try to fill out your application on your own. Instead, save yourself the hassle of completing the application and potentially needing to appeal a denied claim. Contact us today for a confidential consultation about your rights and to find out more about how we can help you get the benefits you deserve.
The short answer is that once you qualify for Social Security disability benefits, you will continue to receive Social Security disability payments until you reach retirement age, until you become employed, or until you become healthy enough to work. Learn more about each of the factors that could stop your Social Security disability benefits below.
Why Do Social Security Disability Benefits End at Retirement Age?
If you reach the age of 65 and are still suffering from a disability, you will stop receiving Social Security disability payments and begin receiving Social Security retirement payments. You cannot receive both types of Social Security benefits simultaneously.
How Will the Social Security Administration Know if I Go Back to Work?
If you believe you are well enough to return to the workforce, or if you begin substantial gainful activity (SGA), then you must contact the Social Security Administration so that they can review your case and change your disability benefits accordingly. If you are unsure if you are well enough to work, or if you would like to return to the workforce for a trial period, call your local Social Security office to speak with someone about your case or talk to your own disability lawyer.
How Will the Social Security Administration Know If You Are Healthy Enough to Work?
Depending on your health condition, the Social Security Administration will review your medical information and your case periodically to determine whether or not you still qualify for Social Security disability. This could be as often as every few months or as rarely as every seven years. If the Social Security Administration believes that you are healthy enough to work, your benefits may end.
You don’t want benefits to end if you are still entitled to benefits. It is easier to prevent a break in your payments by proving why benefits should not end than it is to begin the entire eligibility process over again. Accordingly, if you are concerned about your Social Security disability benefits stopping, we encourage you to contact the experienced lawyers at Morgan & Weisbrod via this website or by phone to schedule an initial meeting about your rights.