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Working While on SSDI

workSome individuals have been successful at obtaining their SSDI, then end up losing it because they attempted to go back to work. Based on this many others are reluctant to try and re-enter the work force in case it doesn’t work out and they end up being disqualified for SSDI. Individuals that have been penalized for re-entering the work force only to find out they were not able to continue should seek out the services of a disability lawyer to assist them with re-applying for this disability.

There are rules in place that govern the SSDI in respect to individuals wanting to test out the employment scene to see if they can cope. These rules indicate that an individual should be able to try working a part time or full time job and still receive their SSDI income

The trial period for doing this is a maximum of nine months but this does not have to be consecutive. It doesn’t matter how much money is earned during that period the disability payments will not be affected. There are other criteria to this area of the SSDI law and they should be fully understood before taking advantage of them. This trial work period has been put in place to encourage those with disabilities whose health status changes to attempt to go back into the work place.

The Social Security Breakdown

baby boomerIt is no secret that the Social Security program is faulty. From backlogged benefits applications to check amounts less than sufficient for providing for the elderly, there is a real problem among the Social Security agency. As you may have heard your parent’s say, it’s hard not to wonder whether the program will really be around to help the younger generations in the future.

 Dwindling System

For years people have been highlighting the need for revision in the Social Security program, but the system continues to suffer with each passing year. The biggest problem putting pressure on these funds: demographics.

The baby boomer generation is now entering retirement, which means that the largest amount of Social Security benefit recipients is about to start collecting. As more baby boomers enter retirement there will be more people receiving benefits than workers contributing to the fund. It is expected that by 2033 there will be 77 million retired Americans, compared to only 46.6 million today. That is a large increase in Social Security recipients. Further, this same generation is also likely to collect from the system much longer as the average life expectancy increases.

The baby boomer retiree generation also faces a unique problem, economic hardship. Many aging citizens are being pressured back into the workforce simply because they cannot make ends meet. From debt to failed savings, retirees these days are entering their Golden Years with owing more than they have saved. This economic hardship only makes a bad situation worse for those trying to eek by on a less than promised Social Security system.

Short-Term vs. Long-Term Disability Insurance

Disability insurance is an often overlooked form of insurance in a person’s everyday life, but it could be the most important. People spend considerable amounts of time and effort searching for the perfect health, life, auto, and home insurance, but they often time put no thought into disability insurance. This is alarming because of the fact that disability insurance actually insures your greatest asset: your income. As a disability lawyer will point out, there are two main types of disability coverage: short-term and long-term.

Short-Term Disability Insurance

Short-term insurance is designed for people who will typically be out of work for 60-180 days. A short-term disability insurance policy will usually replace 80-85% of a person’s income during the period of time they are unable to work. As a disability lawyer will let you know, employers often offer this form of insurance to their employers. Be sure to check with your employer to understand the specifics of your particular plan ahead of time.

Long-Term Disability Insurance

Long-term insurance is meant for more serious medical conditions that take longer than six months. As your disability lawyer would tell you, your long-term plan would likely only cover around 60% of your salary over the period of time you are out of work. The good news is that this type of disability insurance lasts for a much longer period of time. The coverage can go on for years, or even the rest of your life.

As a person who is in charge of caring for and providing for other people, it is important to understand what type of disability insurance coverage you have available to you. Don’t forget about your biggest asset when shopping for insurance plans.

Generation Y Ignoring Disability Insurance

A recent study on employee benefits conducted by MetLife revealed a rather shocking trend among Generation Y workers. Statistics show that only around 50% of these workers, ages 21-31, have some sort of disability insurance. This means nearly one-half of these people are financially unprotected against a debilitating injury or sickness. Why is this?

Forever Young

A possible answer is that these young people feel invincible against a debilitating sickness or injury. Pop culture has inundated the younger generation, or Generation Y, with the feeling that sickness and disability is something far off in the distance. Speak to a disability lawyer though, and they will tell you this is simply a myth. On any given day, a disability lawyer may meet with a dozen different people filing disability insurance claims. It would not be uncommon for half of those people to be in that 21-31 year old age group.

Life Happens Fast

As a disability lawyer will quickly tell anyone who listens, life comes at you fast. Disability insurance is something to think about as soon as you are responsible for supporting yourself and others with a full-time income. As Nicki Biamonte, a Financial Services Executive at MetLife, said, “A disability is not selective – it can happen to anyone, at any time. If you have people who depend on your income – or if you depend on your income – you need disability insurance.”

Speak with Your Employer

If you are one of those people without disability insurance speak with your employer about whether they offer coverage. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 70-75% of employers in the United States offer disability insurance plans. Taking advantage of these plans is a smart move for the future

Disability Insurance Has Critics

Many critics have been voicing their opinions lately on the subject of disability insurance. The Social Security program has never been without its detractors, and with 2012 seeing record costs upwards of $135 billion, those detractors are more vocal than ever. According to a reputable social security disability lawyer, the critics have a main complaint: more and more people are going on Social Security disability, people who are perfectly able to work. This is a very difficult thing to prove or disprove, says the social security disability lawyer, but he thinks it is an invalid criticism.

Disability Insurance Qualifications

The eligibility qualifications for Social Security disability insurance have been relaxed in recent years, but still remain a subject of intense debate. According to some sources, the numbers of people who are abusing SSDI could number in the millions. Furthermore, according to the detractors of the program, even those who have a valid health or disability insurance claim and become part of the program have little incentive to ever change their lifestyle and re-enter the workforce.

In fact, nearly five percent of the working age population of America is currently claiming some sort of Social Security benefit, with the numbers seeing exponential growth in recent years. Detractors claim this is due to the serious defects in the organization of the program and its benefits, resulting in millions of unqualified individuals receiving government handouts. These critics urge reform for the current laws and seek to decrease the number of people receiving benefits, people who could and/or should otherwise be able to earn their own incomes.

Social Security To Expand Fast-Track Claims

To ease the burden of being stricken with a debilitating condition, the Social Security Administration placed an additional 35 Compassionate Allowances conditions in effect, bringing the total number of conditions in the expedited disability process to 200. Compassionate Allowances are a way to quickly identify diseases and other medical conditions that meet the Social Security standards for serious illness disability benefits.

Benefits Decision Milestone

These conditions include certain cancers, adult brain disorders, early-onset Lou Gehrig’s disease and a number of rare disorders that affect children. Since the Compassionate Allowances program was started 200,000 people have received expedited benefits. The fast-track program ensures that those with the most serious cases receive their benefit decisions within 10-15 days now instead of taking months or years. The program is also designed to ease the workload of an agency that has been swamped by disability claims since the economic recession a few years ago. Disability claims are up by more than 20 percent from 2008. High demand during the down economy has made it difficult for Social Security to reduce disability claims backlogs and wait times for decisions. About 3.2 million people have applied for disability benefits this year, up from 2.6 million in 2008, the agency said.

The Compassionate Allowances program was started in 2008, about a year after the agency did an internal review of how it handled initial applications from people with a handful of serious or rare conditions. By definition, these conditions are so severe that Social Security does not need to extensively develop the applicant’s history to make a decision.  As a result, Social Security shortened this part of the application process for people who have a condition on the list.

Social Security has held seven public hearings and worked with experts to develop the list of Compassionate Allowances conditions.  The hearings also have helped the agency identify ways to improve the disability process for applicants with Compassionate Allowances conditions. For more information on the Compassionate Allowances initiative, please visit


Disability Insurance and Veterans

For many Americans suffering disability and illness, the Social Security Disability Insurance program can be their only lifeline to financial help. However, the program is backlogged with applicants and many people spend a year or more on a waiting list for approval. Even then thousands are denied disability benefits. For veterans, this scenario is all too familiar as many sit for months hoping their benefits will come through.

Slow Services

Veterans can receive benefits under either of two programs, SSDI and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Disability Compensation Program. In most cases, veterans choose the VA program as it tends to have an higher acceptance rate and increase benefit funds than does SSDI. However, a recent report suggests that nearly 900,000 veterans with disabilities are currently awaiting approval for benefits.

A report released by Allsup documents that the VA disability program is severely backlogged, indicating that the recent surge in applications is to blame. At the end of 2011, 3.4 million veterans were receiving disability benefits under the VA program. There has been a 50% increase in applications since the end of 2008. In 2012, the VA program processed more than 1 million disability claims of veterans.  The average wait time is reported to be 259 days from the time of application to the time of decision.

In order to rectify these issues, the Department of Veterans Affairs is urging veterans to take additional steps, including:

  • Seeking help with determining eligibility prior to filing.
  • Obtain a doctor’s agreement on the nature of the current disability, to be submitted with the application.
  • Have organized documentation of diagnosis, treatment and prognosis of the current disability in hand.
  • File as soon as possible.

For more information, visit:


Job Fair For The Disabled

Social Security programs are available to help fund living expenses, but disability benefits only go so far. As part of the initiative to promote independence and quality of life, the State of Texas Department of Rehabilitative Services is conducting a job fair to help people with disabilities find employment.

Transitional Moves

October is National Disability Employment Month, which was designed to promote awareness and opportunity. “Employers who ensure that inclusive workplace policies and practices are woven into the fabric and culture of the organization create an environment that encourages all workers – including those of us with disabilities – to work to their full capacity and contribute fully to the organization’s success,” said Kathy Martinez, assistant secretary of labor for disability employment.

People with disabilities are often left on the back burner in education and the workforce. For many, this leads to a lesser quality of life. However, the purpose of the DARS office in Texas is to change the opportunities available to those living with disabilities. Therefore, a job fair has been organized to help Houston high school students with disabilities find employment  and get in touch with resources to help them expand their skill sets.

The job fair is planned for October 29 and 30th, at Bethel’s Place Empowerment Center in Houston, located at 12660 Sandpiper Drive.

More Bad News For Social Security Benefits

As election time nears, the discussion over the fate of Social Security benefits deepens. While it is unclear as to whether funds will be available in the next several years, one important fact has surfaced; the cost-of-living adjustment for 2013 is expected to be meager, at best.

Economic Woes

The recession has hit the wallets of all Americans hard, but those who live on fixed incomes are finding it more challenging each year to make ends meet. Recent reports are suggesting the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) won’t be increasing as much as expected. This time last year, it was announced that a 3.6 percent increase would be given to benefit recipients to help accommodate the ever rising costs of daily living expenses. This year, the increase will only be 1.4 percent, not nearly enough to help combat costs for seniors.

The Medicare Part B premium rates are also expected to rise next year, eating up much of the 1.4 percent COLA amount. Last year, Part B expenses rose by $3.50 per month, taking up 0.3 percent of the COLA amount; whereas Part B expenses could rise by as much as $9.20 a month next year, a large portion of such a small COLA increase. Final word on the COLA and Part B amounts is expected to be released later in October, after the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its final analysis of inflation for the year.


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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