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Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are two programs that are administered by the Social Security Administration to provide benefits to eligible applicants. There are currently millions of Americans that rely on these programs every day. SSDI and SSI are two important programs that supply assistance to certain people that have a disablement, impairment, or limited income and resources.

Also known as SSD, Social Security Disability Insurance administers benefits to people that become disabled before they reach retirement age. As defined by the Social Security Administration (SSA), Social Security Disability Insurance is a federal program that provides benefits to people that are “insured”. This means that the person has worked for a specific amount of time and has paid Social Security on their payroll. The number of years that a person worked before they became disabled is also taken into consideration. In addition, the applicant must provide valid evidence of their disablement that is confirmed by medical professionals and that it complies with the Social Security Administration’s definition of the disability.

Supplemental Security Income provides assisted benefits to people who are over the age of 65 or have impairments, such as blindness, and disablements. Contrary to SSDI, this program is based on limited income and resources. Supplemental Security Income can help people receive Medicaid to help pay for medical expenses. In some circumstances, applicants can also qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). As referred to as “food stamps”, SNAP grants benefits to individuals or families in order to pay for their food expenses. Created to assist people with limited income and resources, SSI provides monthly payments in order for people to receive daily necessities, including food, water, and shelter.

The first step to receiving Social Security Disability benefits is to complete an application. It will indicate whether or not your disability is applicable with the Social Security Administration’s Blue book. Once the SSA determines if your case qualifies you for disability benefits, you can potentially receive compensation based on how your disability affects normal functions, such as working. The application will require an individual to provide sufficient evidence to the SSA about their disability and how it restricts them from working and preforming daily functions.

It is recommended for a person to file for Social Security Disability (SSD) as soon as their disablement is diagnosed by a medical professional. People can apply by either completing an application online or calling Social Security directly to schedule a phone consultation. If you are eligible, there is a 5-month waiting period in order for the SSA to decide if your disability allows you to receive compensation. Once you are approved for benefits, disability benefits will not start until the disability has occurred for six full months. This process will help to prove that a person’s disablement restricts them from functioning normally and that it is not a short-term disability.

When completing the Social Security Disability application, the SSA requires that the person provides sufficient and adequate information in order to increase their chance at receiving benefits. As listed on the Social Security Administration’s website, the applicant must provide their Social Security number, proof of their age, contact information, such as names, addresses, and phone numbers, the dates that they received treatment from medical officials, names and prescriptions of current and past medications, verified medical records, laboratory and test results, a summary of their work history, and their recent W-2 form or a copy of their federal tax return. If someone is applying for Social Security Disability benefits for a family member, they will need to provide the Social Security numbers and proof of their ages for each person. The SSA will also need proof of current and prior marriages, if the person is applicable to this situation. Providing all the necessary information and documentation will ensure that applicants have the greatest potential to be approved for Social Security Disability benefits.

Social Security applicants are able to both apply for benefit programs in person and online. There are many opportunities for Social Security that are accessible online. People can apply for retirement, disability, and Medicare benefits. Participants are also able to estimate their future benefits, check the status of their claims, and create a my Social Security account. Having online access to Social Security information and materials is very beneficial to participants. It enables people to apply, update, and review their Social Security information without going to a Social Security office.

Creating a my Social Security account is safe and secure, and the sign-up process is easy. To create an account, people must provide information, such as their email address, Social Security number, United States mailing address, and age of at least 18 years old. It is important to note that it is impossible to create an account on behalf of another person. By having a Social Security account, people are able to have direct access to their Social Security information and check the status of their benefits. In addition, people are able to check their benefit and payment information, updating personal information, create or revise a direct deposit, and report wages. Statements can come in the mail, but participants are also able to easily view their statements on their account. Since 2013, Social Security supplies benefits to participants using a direct deposit system. Older beneficiaries are also able to receive their payments electronically by updating their information in their my Social Security account. When filing for taxes, individuals will be required to present their Social Security documents. Form 1099 provides documentation of all the Social Security benefits that a person earned in the past year. Also, award letters are important as well. They include information about claims for benefits. Both documents can be accessed by my Social Security accounts.

Applicants are also able to apply for Social Security benefits. On the Social Security Administration’s website, applications are available online for retirement, disability, and Medicare benefits. Along with the completed requirements and documents, applicants can complete and submit their application online. While waiting to receive the result of the application, people can look at the status of their application on their my Social Security account. Appeals can also be completed online. For example, if a disabled individual was denied benefits, they are able to request an appeal online.

Times are changing, and Social Security is implementing their own changes. Beginning in 2021, the Social Security Administration(SSA) is extending a new electronic verification system for Social Security numbers (SSN). The electronic Consent Based Social Security Number Verification Service (eCBSV) is currently available for certain participants to distribute to selected customers. The Administration plans to provide this system to more participants in 2021.

The commissioner of Social Security, Andrew Saul, claims that eCBSV “is an important online service that helps us provide participants and their customers with fast, secure and more efficient SSN verifications”. He also stated that the “new electronic SSN verification service helps reduce synthetic identity fraud by comparing agency records with data provided electronically by approved participants”. In other words, the eCBSC will become a safer and more convenient way to verify important personal information of Social Security members, including their Social Security number, name, and birth date. This method will be able to correctly identify and match an individual’s personal information with their Social Security records.

In order to use the electronic system, the Social Security Administration states that Social Security will require the person to provide written consent, which will disclose their Social Security number verification to their participating company. The SSA writes on their website that eCBVS will then return a matching verification of either “Yes” or “No”. They also note that the electronic verification will not verify someone’s identify. Eligibility requirements for the electronic Consent Based Social Security Number Verification Service are listed on the SSA’s website. They require that qualified companies are permitted entities and that they have an implemented employer identification number (EIN). An EIN identifies a business entity, and it is sometimes referred to as a Social Security number for businesses. Financial companies can provide eCBVS in partnership with Social Security, or they can select another source, such as a service provider, to conduct the transactions through the business.

More than 64 million people receive Social Security benefits in the United States each year. With a 1.3 percent increase in Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI), the majority of people will be able to collect the increased payments. Along with other potential changes that may occur in 2021, the percent increase would be able to provide increased payments for eligible Social Security and SSI participants.

As explained by the Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index, federal benefit rates tend to increase when the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) also increases. The Social Security Administration (SSA) defines COLA as an increase to Social Security and Supplemental Security Income that will help to decrease the effects of inflation. For example, inflation can be described as the increase of prices that consumers may pay for the year. Since 1935, the Social Security Act has created and maintained a specific formula to determine the amount for each COLA, which are based on increases in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W).

The Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates the amount of CPI-Ws each month to determine the gradual change in prices that are paid by consumers for goods and services. Since the rate of inflation has been relatively low for the past year, COLA is able to provide a positive percentage increase for Social Security benefits and payments. However, it can also be possible that there would be no COLA percentage increases for a year. If the Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates that there is no change in inflation for CPI-Ws, there will not be a COLA for that year.

A new year can prompt new changes for Social Security and their applicants. Multiple sources are claiming that there will be 3 major changes for the program. Since the changes that are only proposed, there is no guarantee they will go into effect in 2021. In addition to the 3 major changes, it is possible that other changes and statues can occur as well. In 2021, it is important to stay informed about Social Security and any new adjustments that they may make. The 3 major potential changes are listed and described below.

There will be a 1.3% cost-of-living adjustment.

Beginning in January, the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will be set at 1.3 percent. Social Security states that cost-of-living adjustments allow Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits to keep pace with inflation. The Social Security Administration determines a formula to calculate COLAs. According to AARP, the monthly Social Security benefits will increase by $20 for the majority of retired workers. As a result, the average annual benefit will be approximately $1,543. Previously, the annual amount was estimated to be $1,523 in 2020. In addition, retired couples and disabled workers will also receive an increase in COLA. Retired couples can potentially receive an increase of $33, and disabled workers can receive an increase of $16. Overall, the greatest monthly payment that people can receive from Social Security would be $3,148, which is an increase from $3,011 in 2020.

The Social Security Administration claims that almost nine out of ten people who are 65 years of age or older receive Social Security benefits. In addition to Social Security Disability, the Social Security Administration (SSA) provides a retirement program to people who work in the United States. As defined by the SSA, the program administers retirement income to eligible retirees and their families. It is important to be informed about the specific benefits of retirement, as well as information that may be helpful when applying.

As defined by the SSA, Social Security replaces a percentage of an employee’s pre-retirement income based on their lifetime earnings, specifically the highest 35 years of earnings and when they choose to start receiving benefits. The tax money that workers pay to Social Security provide benefits to workers who are retired, disabled, survivors, or dependents of beneficiaries. Statista wrote on their website that there were approximately 45.1 million retired workers that received Social Security benefits in 2019.

The SSA defines more information about eligibility on their website. They write that individuals are able to apply for retirement benefits when they reach a certain age and have worked and paid toward Social Security in order to receive benefits. As stated on the website, a worker earns “credits” that are used to track their Social Security benefits. An individual must have 40 credits in order to be eligible. If they do not work and have not received the sufficient amount of credits, they will be unable to receive retirement benefits. The number of credits varies on the year that a person was born. As described by the SSA, people who were born in 1929 and beyond need to achieve 40 credits. To estimate, this would be equal to approximately 10 years of work experience.

Since it has been established, people have believed certain myths about Social Security Disability. However, not all information that is told about Social Security is correct. For example, statements can be overexaggerated or fabricated. It is important to research information about Social Security directly in order to receive accurate information and facts. Listed below are 10 myths that are common to hear about Social Security Disability. To find the information contained in the following explanations, visit the Social Security Administration’s website at www.ssa.gov.

A person needs to be disabled for a year before they can apply for disability benefits.

This myth is not true. The SSA lists in their Blue Book that a person qualifies for benefits if they have a disability as a result of an injury or illness that is predicted to endure for at least 12 months. If an employee is diagnosed by a medical official that states their injury will last for over a year and they will be unable to work, they should apply for Social Security Disability as soon as possible.

In a previous blog, we reported on the extensive wait that Pennsylvania residents can face when filing for Social Security Disability benefits. Many residents of Tennessee struggle with the same frustrations, but their congressman, U.S. Rep. John Tanner, is hoping to do something about it.

Tanner is the chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security. In an article on nwtntoday.com, Tanner stated, “Since the beginning of 2009, the hearings backlog has begun to slowly decline. This shows that Congress’ investment in SSA is starting to pay off.” Tanner and the subcommittee have urged the Social Security Administration to continue to focus on reducing the backlog in disability claims. “Because applicants often have little or no income while awaiting a decision on benefits, the backlog has caused severe hardship to hundreds of thousands of Americans with significant disabilities,” Tanner said in a statement.

Beth Bates, a Jackson, TN attorney who works with disability claimants, testified before the subcommittee about the impact the backlog has had on her clients. Bates said, “Foreclosures and bankruptcies have increased, with claimants losing their homes and vehicles and their economic stability.”

Tanner and the subcommittee have made reducing the disability backlog a priority that will help social security disability claimants not only in Tennessee, but in all states.

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Attorney Michael J. O’Connor of O’Connor Law recently appeared on a segment of “Life After 50”, which airs on television station KDKA in Pittsburgh. Attorney O’Connor discussed topics including social security disability, workers’ compensation, and nursing home abuse. The video clip below shows the episode of “Life After 50”.

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