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Archive for May, 2013

How to Appeal Social Security Disability Denial

Even if you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, chances are that your application could be denied. In fact, it’s estimated that approximately 65 percent of claims are denied each year. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration wants to ensure that everyone who deserves disability benefits has the opportunity to get them, so they allow appeals to counter the SSA’s original decision. If you were denied for disability benefits and want to file an appeal, you have 60 days to do so upon receiving your letter from the SSA. If you were denied the first time, it’s crucial to trust the counsel and advice of a Social Security Disability lawyer to get the benefits you deserve.

How the Social Security Disability Appeal Process Works

Going through the appeals process with a Social Security Disability lawyer is not only easier, but has a greater chance of succeeding. Since you don’t have an unlimited number of appeals, doing it thoroughly with an attorney is crucial for success. During the appeals process, you’ll go through four levels including reconsideration, a hearing, review by the Appeals Council, and a final review by a Federal Court. A social Security Disability lawyer will prepare your case to withstand scrutiny during all four levels of the appeals process.

1. Reconsideration. This stage reviews your original application as well as the appeal to understand why you believe you still deserve disability benefits. A good Social Security Disability lawyer will look at your original application and fill in the gaps for the appeal.
2. Hearing. You may have to go to a hearing with an administrative law judge to clarify more about your application and disability status. You’ll have to be able to prove that you deserve disability benefits, so be prepared to bring witnesses such as medical experts to help your case. However, this is not always required.
3. Appeals Council. During the hearing, the administrative judge can deny your appeal, but the appeals council allows you to ask for a review. Again, working with a Social Security Disability lawyer is vital at this stage as well as the next.
4. Federal Court. If the appeals process doesn’t work, you and your lawyer can file a lawsuit through federal court to get your case proven.

Disability Insurance Terms to Consider

With the Social Security Administration revealing that up to 30 percent of Americans could become disabled throughout their working lives, no wonder more and more people are considering disability insurance! However, to get the best disability benefits possible if something should happen, it’s important to consider all the terms in your disability insurance policy. Unlike insurance for life or material belongings, disability insurance provides recurring benefits, which impacts the way you should consider a policy’s terms.

How Disability Insurance Policy Terms Affect Benefits

Since nothing can impact your life more than losing the ability to earn a living, it’s important to know the exact disability benefits that come from the policies of your disability insurance. Whether you already have a policy or are shopping for coverage for the first time, it’s crucial to fully examine the specific terms. These include:

· Duration. When it comes to disability insurance coverage, there are both short-term and long-term considerations. Short-term coverage will cover your income if you can’t work for a relatively short period of time where as long-term coverage is for more serious disabilities that impact your ability to work throughout your life.
· Types. Disability insurance is available in both group and individual plans. Typically, group plans are reserved for the workplace and are only good as long as you stay with that particular employer. If financial matters are making it difficult for you to afford both disability and life insurance, then a group plan might be a good option for you to save money.
· Limits. Remember, disability benefits are almost never going to compensate you as well as your job will. With that being said, the danger comes when you pay high premiums for disability insurance that you are never going to use. Thus, it’s important that you weigh the dangers of your job (is it physical, labor-based work?) and use those parameters to determine the risk of injury and potentially needing disability benefits in the future.
· Social security. If you’re receiving social security disability benefits, then group insurance policy payments will likely be reduced.

4 Things that Stop Social Security Disability

Once you finally get the disability benefits that you deserve, it’s likely you’ll receive the benefit check for years to come, to ensure that you can maintain your standard of living. However, certain circumstances can stop you from receiving social security disability benefits even if you were previously approved. To understand exactly what can make disability benefits stop, it’s important to remember that there are two types of benefits: Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income. Medical improvements can cause both SSD and SSI benefits to stop, but many more circumstances can end your Social Security Disability benefits.

What Causes Social Security Disability Benefits to Stop

Every three to seven years, the Social Security Administration reviews medical or psychiatric conditions to determine whether or not a person is still disabled. If enough improvement is noted to end disability, the benefits can stop, but other factors can end SSD benefits. These include:

1. Employment. If you decide to return to work, the Social Security Administration will have to determine whether or not you are participating in “substantial gainful activity.” This isn’t to say that you can’t work and still not get benefits, but your job responsibilities and earning will be taken into consideration. If you participate in substantial gainful activity through employment for 9 months, you will no longer be considered disabled or qualify for the related benefits.
2. Age. Since Social Security retirement funds cannot be used in conjunction with Social Security Disability benefits, the benefits will stop once you reach retirement age. You’ll still receive payment to ensure you can live, but this time they will come from retirement benefits, not disability.
3. Criminalization. If you are convicted of a crime and must serve time in a prison or other institution, your SSD benefits will be halted until you are released. However, if you are convicted of a felony, the benefits could end permanently.
4. Income. Other factors such as your spouse’s income, free food and shelter, return on investments, and much more could mean that you’re earning too much money to qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits even if you’re not working.

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