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Archive for June, 2012

How to Get Social Security Benefits

social security benefitsIf you are like many Americans in their early 60s, you’re starting to think about Social Security benefits.  You want to make sure that you get back all the money you put into the system throughout your working years.  While the process isn’t too difficult, this post can help walk you through the steps so that you get all the Social Security Benefits you’re eligible for!

3 Easy Steps:

  • The first thing you’ll want to do is take the Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool (BEST) test. You can find this test on  The test doesn’t actually access any of your personal information or records, but instead provides you with information about social security benefits for someone in your situation.  Go ahead and check it out!
  • Once you’ve reached the age of 61 years and 9 months, you can officially apply for social security benefits.  Of course, you must still wait until your 62nd birthday in order to start receiving them.  Visit the Social Security website to begin the application process.  It should easily take less than a half hour to complete. If you prefer, you can always visit your local Social Security office, or call 1-800-772-1213.
  • The Social Security Administration has a helpful page about things you might consider before applying for social security benefits.  However, if you don’t see your concern anywhere on this page, talk to a social security lawyer, and you’ll certainly get your answer!

SSDI Work Incentives Program

work incentives programSSDI, or Social Security Disability Insurance, offers a work incentives program to those involved in the program.  The program is set up to encourage and assist individuals in re-entering the workforce.  SSDI is primarily a supplemental income program and does not provide the amount of income that you can receive from your job.  The work incentives program is broken up into a few different options and areas.


SSDI Work Incentives Options

The SSA government website does a great job of breaking down the work incentives program.  On the site, they claim that one of their primary priorities is to assist individuals with disabilities in claiming their independence and in taking advantage of employment opportunities.  The complete list of incentives options is very long, but we will cover a couple of the more popularly chosen options here.

SSDI offers a trial-work period.  During this time an individual may return to work for up to 9 months in order to test their abilities.  The 9 months does not have to be consecutive but cannot accumulate to more than 9 months over a period of 60 months.  During this time the individual will continue to receive their SSDI benefits.

There is also an extended period of eligibility option.  During this you may have returned to work and your SSDI benefits have stopped.  Within a period of 36 month, you can be automatically reinstated into the program if the need arises.

The Social Security Disability Incentives Program is provided to individuals to assist them in getting a step back up on life.  For more info or to discuss the program with someone it may be worth your time to consult a Social Security Attorney and/or the SSA government website.

Supplemental Security Income At A Glance

ssiSupplemental Security Income, or SSI, is a program provided by the Social Security Administration and is available to low-income individuals who are blind, disabled, or at the age of 65 years old or older.  Unlike most SSA programs, the funds for SSI are not taken from the Social Security Trust but rather from the US Treasury.  According to the SSA government website, “it provides cash to meet the basic needs for food clothing, and shelter.”

The Basics of SSI

It is important to first pre-qualify yourself before applying for Supplemental Security Income benefits.  In doing so, you will save yourself unwanted hassle and it will most definitely save you time in the end.  There are a couple of ways that you can go about this.  A tech-savvy individual may want to visit the SSA government website and use their online testing options, but this option can be difficult. It may be much easier to speak to someone in person such as a Social Security lawyer.  Educating yourself in the beginning should always be your number one priority.

Once you have determined your eligibility then it becomes time to apply for your benefits.  You must understand that you will be required to provide details to your current financial standing as well as your past.  Once again, you will want to be prepared for this by putting together your financial documents in advance.  There is a decent amount of info that is required during the application process.

If your application is accepted you will be responsible for continuing to report your income.  The SSI is a supplemental income and there is a predetermined threshold for the amount of extra income that you bring in.  It is very important that you stay up to date and current in your reporting to the SSA.

Disability Insurance At A Glance

disability insuranceOftentimes you will find Americans who have spent their entire lives working but become unable to perform the work that they once did.  It is individuals like this that find themselves looking towards Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, to assist them with their predicament.  SSDI is a tax-funded program that is managed and operated by the Social Security Administration.

Who Qualifies for SSDI?

The standards for Social Security Disability Insurance are very strict.  The first bit and most useful piece of knowledge when determining if you may be eligible for it is determining if you are physically restricted in your ability to become employed.  Those individuals who are and who have been for at least five consecutive months may be eligible.

SSDI is not for a short-term disability basis.  It is either received on a permanent basis or on a long term temporary basis: cases of at least one year in length.  It is very important to understand this simple standard as it may save you time and the headache of barking up a tree that won’t come to answer.

Unlike SSI, Social Security Disability Insurance is not based on your income.  With SSI, however, you must stay below the mandated income line in order to continue receiving this supplemental income.  Eligibility for the disability insurance is set aside for those of any income level.

Be sure to understand that it takes time when applying for such benefits.  The Social Security Administration estimates that the application process can take from 90-120 days.  When applying for benefits you should keep this under consideration and remember that it does not make an immediate impact.

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