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Archive for September, 2012

Social Security and Getting Back To Work

It may seem odd to think of those receiving Social Security Disability Insurance would be worried about getting back to work. Although it is true that recipients of disability insurance are qualified for benefits because they are deemed ineligible to work, there may come a time that they do become able to work again. In order to avoid having recipients worry about losing their benefits right away, the Social Security Administration has set up two programs to help make the transition back into the workforce easier.

Encouraging Independence

The SSA has created a Work Incentives Program that allows disability recipients the chance to work while still obtaining benefits. The program provides continued cash benefits for up to nine months during the trial work period, regardless of how much income is earned. Medicare benefits are also continued for up 93 months after the successful completion of the trial work period. The Work Incentives Program also provides vocational training and educational; as well as transportation assistance related to the recipients job as long as they are working.

The Ticket To Work Program provides resources for those looking to enter, or reenter the workforce while receiving benefits. The program offers resources like vocational training, education, career counseling and job placement services. The goal is to help beneficiaries become more independent without the worry of losing their cash benefits while they try their hand at working.

Disability Insurance Qualifications

Social Security Disability Insurance is a source of income for many Americans. Although the general thought is that disability benefits are provided to those who cannot work, the eligibility standards go far beyond that. In fact, qualifying for disability insurance can be quite difficult.

The Basics

When looking to apply for disability insurance there are several aspects that must be in line before benefits are approved. First, it must be determined that you are suffering a medical condition or illness that prevents you from working. Your inability to work may be temporary or long-term, but the real determination must be made by a legitimate physician that your condition impedes your ability to work for the next year or more. In other words, if you can make a living by modifying a job, working from home or online, you most likely will not be considered for benefits.

Not only must you  have a legitimate condition, diagnosed by a physician, but you must also have a traceable work history. Your prior work history must demonstrate that you have paid FICA taxes into the system. Not having a work history or not an adequate amount of FICA taxes can disqualify you from receiving benefits. The reason is that SSDI funds come directly from employment taxes. If you haven’t worked or paid taxes, you can’t claim the benefits. The general rule regarding work history is having worked and paid taxes for the last 5 of 10 years before applying for benefits.

The disability insurance process can be confusing and is highly individualized. If you are looking to apply for benefits, consult with a disability attorney to review your case and help you determine your eligibility or apply.

Double Dipping Draining Disability Insurance

disabilityThe fate of Social Security programs has been up in the air for quite some time. As time goes on, more and more uncertainly arises as to whether funds will be available for our aging generations and those unable to work. One of the more recent culprits draining a struggling system is doubling dipping into the disability insurance and unemployment benefit systems.

Double Dippers

The Government Accountability Office released a report in July that indicates there is some level of program abuse going on within the Social Security Administration. Calling for reform, the GAO has found that there is a significant number of “double dippers” who collect benefits from both unemployment insurance and disability insurance. While both are designed to help those without jobs, the target populations are vastly different. The question becomes,  how is it that two different categories of people qualify for both programs? The short answer: they shouldn’t.

Considering the fact that those receiving unemployment insurance are required to be looking for employment as a condition of their assistance and those receiving disability insurance are deemed to be unable to work, it is clear that eligibility for one program would disqualify a person from the other. Not only is double dipping robbing some from the benefits they deserve now, it is predicted that the system will be out of money two years sooner than previously expected. Now estimated to be out of funds by 2016, the disability insurance fund must find a way to eliminate double dippers and regain control over funds for the future.



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