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Archive for July, 2011

Are You Mistakenly Recorded As Deceased?

social security and deathBelieve it or not, the Social Security Administration has listed quite a large amount of Americans as wrongfully dead.  Social Security numbers are issued to everybody at birth who is an American citizen, and after any individual dies, they need to be reported to the Social Security Administration.  Generally speaking, this works out fine and it helps keep track of who is receiving what benefits, be they Supplemental Security Income, Social Security Disability Insurance, or just plain Social Security benefits that are the entitlement of any retired American.

No Time For Mistakes

However, given the size of the Social Security Administration and the fact that there are over 350 million Americans at this point means that mistakes are going to be made.  It might sound somewhat amusing if the Social Security Administration thinks that you are dead, but the fact of the matter is that this can cause you any number of problems, from losing benefits to even losing housing.  A woman in Arizona was actually refused an apartment when it was revealed that her Social Security number listed her as dead – she had to get a letter from a doctor proving that she was, indeed, alive.

If you happen to be on the list of those who are dead – which is called the Death Master File by the Social Security Administration – be sure to contact the Administration right away to fix the problem.  Failure to do so can result in termination of benefits.  You can contact the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213, or go to their website at for more information.

If I get Supplemental Security Income, Can I get Social Security?

ssi payIt depends.  Generally speaking, most people who are receiving Supplemental Security Income can also get Social Security benefits provided that they are ages 62 or older and have paid into the system long enough.  A lot of whether or not you are additionally eligible for Social Security depends on the exact circumstances of you receiving Supplemental Security Income.  If you are an individual who has never worked due to an illness or permanent injury, then you are likely not eligible for Social Security because you have never paid into the system.

I’ve Worked, Now What?

For those who have spent time in the workforce and are now receiving Supplemental Security Income due to an inability to work and are above the retirement age, there is a chance that you could be eligible for Social Security benefits in addition to the Supplemental Security Income.  However, be aware that as a single individual your income cannot be greater than 2,000 dollars a month if you wish to remain eligible for Supplemental Security Income.  In the event that Social Security benefits put you over that threshold (or if you are married, the threshold is 3,000 dollars per month) then you will no longer be able to receive Supplemental Security Income payments.

In the event that you think you may be eligible for Social Security benefits in addition to Supplemental Security Income, be sure to contact the Social Security Administration.  You can reach them either through their website at, or by phone at 800-772-1213.  You can speak with a representative and figure out your specific circumstances from there.

Debt Ceiling Debates Put Social Security Benefits At Risk

The debt ceiling debates that are currently going on in Congress stand to do a lot of damage to those who are dependent on Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income – even those who are receiving regular Social Security benefits might see their payments at risk.

social security and debtWhat Does The Future Hold?

In the event that the government does not raise the debt ceiling, many fear that there won’t be enough money in government coffers to make payments out to the recipients of any of these programs.  With so many people entirely dependent on their benefits to help them create a life despite their illness and permanent injuries, this could spell disaster to many of the less-privileged recipients of these programs.

The only solution to the manner in a timely sense is to raise the debt ceiling.  If Congress elects not to do so, there will be a severe tightening of government purse strings, and those who rely on social services will find themselves out in the dark.  If you or somebody that you know is reliant on (or even just receiving) Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income, be sure to contact your Congressman or woman and tell them about how important raising the debt ceiling is to your life and livelihood; or how important it is to the lives and livelihood of those who you love.  Balancing the debt is of great importance, but so is ensuring that millions of American citizens aren’t left out in the cold due to the mistakes of those in power.

Are You “Insured” With Social Security Disability Insurance?

The two main government programs for those who are looking to receive assistance from the government due to disability are Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income.  While both programs deal with the receiving of benefits and both programs have the same application process, they are very different.

SSDI What’s The Difference?

For Social Security Disability Insurance, you need to have a level of “insurance” that those who are receiving Supplemental Security Income do not have.  Of course, this is not “insurance” in the traditional sense of the word, but more that you have spent at least a portion of your life paying taxes as a member of the workforce.  Those who receive Social Security Disability Insurance typically have been fully well at some point in their lives, but then were stricken with illness or injury to the point where they could no longer function as a normal part of the workforce.  Due to the fact that all income is taxed, these individuals have “insured” themselves and thus have access to Social Security Disability Insurance.  Much of the money that individuals who receive Social Security Disability Insurance get is proportional to the amount of taxes that they have paid into the system over the course of their working life.

Those who receive Supplemental Security Income, on the other hand, tend to have been unable to work for their entire lives.  These individuals are not “insured” under Social Security Disability Insurance and thus are ineligible for the program.  Conversely, if you have worked for the majority of your life, you are “insured” and this are ineligible for Supplemental Security income.  Know your “insurance” status before applying to either of these programs!

How Are Supplemental Security Income Benefits Calculated?

Supplemental Security Benefits

In general, there is a lot more attention paid to Social Security Disability Insurance than Supplemental Security Income, and this is for a singular reason: generally speaking, there are more people who are eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance as compared to Supplemental Security Income, given that Supplemental Security Income is only for those 65 or older, or who have never been able to work due to severe illness or permanent injury.

Getting Your Money

The process for applying to either one of these programs is quite long and drawn out – in addition to this, there is a six period lag time between getting approved for benefits and actually receiving them.  To put this in perspective, if you end up getting approved for benefits in January, you won’t actually receive a check until August.  If this seems like more than six months, you’d be correct – Supplemental Security Income pays at the end of each month, so getting paid in August would be your benefits for July.

But even after all of this: what is the average payment for an individual getting Supplemental Security Income?  Well, in 2009 the basic federal benefit rate was 674.00 per month, and then was reduced by increments depending on how much individual income the recipient had outside of Supplemental Security Income.  Clearly, this is not a huge number, and those who are dependent on Supplemental Security Income are expected to have additional income somewhere else.  But the base rate is 674.00 in benefits per month, so budget carefully!

The Expansion of Mental Disorders and Social Security Disability Insurance

Mental Illness and social securityOver the past fifty years, there has been a constant rise of the number of individuals who are eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income due to mental disorders.

It has been a curious subject for most researchers, given that the number of adult individuals who now qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance due to mental issues has increased nearly two and a half times between 1987 and 2007.  According to these statistics, one in seventy six Americans now qualifies for Social Security Disability Insurance due to mental disability, as compared to one in one hundred and eighty four Americans back in 1987.

Growing Concern

What might be more startling is the fact that the rates have also been permutated for children: in the same two decade span, the amount of children who are considered mentally disabled has risen thirty five times.  Mental illness is now the leading cause of disability in children.

There has been considerable debate on these numbers ever since they have come out.  Many individuals are now alleging that many perfectly normal people are now considered to have a mental disorder due to the reach and power of big pharma, who benefits more when there are people needing drugs to combat psychiatric conditions.  There is a Social Security Disability Insurance bent to this as well: the more people who are applying for Social Security Disability Insurance, the fewer that will get it if there are an overwhelming number of applications from those who are mentally disabled.  It’s a difficult subject, and many experts are waiting with interest to see how the numbers will stack up over the next few years.

Special Social Security Disability Insurance for Veterans

Disability for veterans

Those who have injured themselves permanently while serving the country deserve special support from government programs.  While there are a myriad of projects and programs available through the Department of Veteran Affairs, if you have sustained a debilitating injury while in service to the country that you cannot recover from, there is also Social Security Disability Insurance to consider.

Social Security Disability Insurance is not a part of the Department of Veteran Affairs; rather, it is an adjunct of the Social Security Administration.  This is good because it mans that it is available to you no matter what stage of life you are in, but it also means that it encompasses all Americans, not just the military, so the wait is often longer.

What Does It Provide?

In addition, if you are receiving active duty pay, that does not necessarily disqualify you from getting Social Security Disability Insurance.  Military pay is considered irrelevant in this case; whether or not you get Social Security Disability Insurance is based more on your ability to work.  Also, you may be eligible for expedited processing of your Social Security Disability Insurance application as a veteran.  This can be a huge boon when it comes to trying to get money to cover your expenses while living with a disability, as often the average wait time for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits from date of application submission is 500 days.  Being a veteran will help you make this process move faster and get you the disability benefits that you require sooner.

A Compassionate Allowance For Hearts

It’s no secret that heart disease is the number one killer of Americans.  In addition to the large number of people who succumb to heart disease each year, there are millions who are struck so severely that they are no longer able to work.  Should this happen to you or somebody you love, you may be considering applying for Social Security Disability Insurance.  This is a government program that hands out benefits based off of how long the worker previously put into the system.  The average payout is 1,500 dollars per month.

Heart Disease and Disability How Do You Get Benefits?

However, getting the benefits is not easy.  In order to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance, the filer has to prove his or her condition, as well as provide a host of legal and governmental documents.  Even then, should an individual be considered qualified for Social Security Disability Insurance, there is still a wait period of six months before the money starts to arrive.  That is, if you get approved for benefits in January, you won’t see money until August.

There is good news on the horizon, though: the Social Security Administration is considering putting heart disease on the list of conditions that qualify for a “compassionate allowance,” which allows the benefits to be delivered faster due to the severity of condition.  Generally, this list includes various kinds of cancers, leukemia, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.  This is good news for those who are currently suffering from heart disease and those who know individuals who are; it’s always nice to hear that the government still has a heart!

The Check’s In The Mail?

Those who are applying for disability benefits know that there are two main programs that you can apply for with the government.  The first is Social Security Disability Insurance.  This program is intended for those who have already participated as a part of the American workforce for some time and now suddenly find themselves unable to participate at the level they were prior due to an unforeseen and permanently debilitating injury or illness.  These individuals get their benefits based of off how much they have already paid into the system – that is, the longer that you have worked and the longer that you have paid taxes, the higher your payouts will be. Supplemental Security Income, on the other hand, is for those who have never been able to work due to a permanent disability.

Social Security Check When Do I Get Paid?

Whichever one you qualify for, be aware that the payments for both programs come at different times during the month.  If you are a recipient of Supplemental Security Income, you will be receiving your payment on the first day of the month, no matter what month it happens to be.  For those who are getting Social Security Disability Insurance, the story is a little different: they can be received on the 3rd of the month, or the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th Wednesday of the month, depending on when your birthday is.  If nothing else, this makes it very easy to determine what kind of benefits that you or your loved ones might be receiving, even if you’re unsure – if the check comes on the first like clockwork, it’s Supplemental Security Income.  If the check comes at any other time, it’s Social Security Disability Insurance!

Watch Out For Fraud

social security scamThose who are applying for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income are often among those who have the lowest income in the nation.  After all, an inability to work does not do wonders for one’s cashflow.  However, even though this may be the case, it doesn’t mean that fraud isn’t a real risk when trying to get Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income.

Benefits Scams

Nowhere is this truer right now than in Canton, Ohio, where hundreds of local recipients of both Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income were targets of a stimulus scam between January and April of 2011.  Due to this case, victims are facing problems with receiving further benefits, and some might be in danger of losing their homes.  Additionally, there are some victims of the scam that are now finding themselves in hot water with the IRS.

A local organization to Canton called Community Legal Aid will be hosting several informational sessions in the upcoming week to help those who have been frauded.  While receiving Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income does not necessarily mean receiving a lot of money, it’s important to understand that not everybody who is talking about the disability industry is reliable or trustworthy.  Be careful with your money and your benefits – it’s already difficult enough to get them in the first place, without the worry that they might be taken away due to fraudsters!  Keep your benefits close at hand, and be suspicious of anybody who says that they know how to enhance them.

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