Long Term Disability and Your Social Security Disability Claim

POSTED BY Jon Corra . July 16, 2018

Working every day in Social Security can be en eye-opening experience. Some of the stats we’ve learned over the years are staggering. For instance, did you know 25% of all 20-year-olds won’t work until retirement age? In 2017, 39% of all working Americans had no money saved. So, what are you to do if you can’t work? If you become disabled at an early age and you have no savings, it may be difficult to survive financially. If you decide to pursue Social Security Disability, you’re going to be in for a long wait. Some people prepare for this by purchasing long-term disability insurance (LTD). However, individuals who have LTD may have questions about how it impacts Social Security Disability.

Let’s start with an explanation of long-term disability insurance. For most, an LTD policy will take place after a short-term disability policy ends. Most short-term policies last about 6 months. According to insure.com, long-term disability insurance pays a percentage of your salary, usually 50 to 60 percent, depending on the policy. The benefits last until you can go back to work or for the number of years stated in the policy. Some policies pay out as long as you are disabled until age 65.

Many employers offer LTD insurance policies, but you must opt into these policies. If your employer does not offer a plan, you can purchase LTD through an insurance agent. Most LTD policies require a monthly fee.

If you’ve done any research on the Social Security Disability process, you know that it takes a long time for claims to be approved. Most people have to wait years before they get approved. Long-term disability insurance can be beneficial during this time because it does not take as long for an LTD claim to process. So, LTD can help supplement your income while you’re waiting to be approved for SSDI.

Can you get both?

One of the first things we’re asked when a client has an LTD policy is “Can I get both?” The answer depends upon a few factors. Keep in mind, SSDI is not an income-based program. The SSA does not care how much money or how many assets you have when you’re pursuing SSDI. You could have 27 houses and every Ferarri ever made and still qualify for SSDI. In other words, the income you receive from an LTD policy won’t keep you from receiving benefits. The limitations are usually found in your LTD policy. Some LTD policies require you to file for SSDI within a specific time period.

Once you’re approved for SSDI, most long-term disability policies won’t continue to pay you the full amount. Instead, the policy will offset the balance paid by the SSA. For example, if you were making $60,000 per year before you became disabled, and your policy paid you 60% of your annual income, you’d receive about $2,500 per month. If you’re approved for SSDI for an amount of $1,800 per month, your LTD policy should pay you the remaining $700 per month. Keep in mind though, this depends upon your LTD policy. Some policies may not pay anything if you’re approved for SSDI.

Know your policy.

Regardless of whether your employer offers an LTD policy or you purchase one from an agent, you should get to know it well. Don’t hesitate to ask your HR rep about specifics, or reach out to your insurance agent for clarification on the details.

If you’d like to know more about the ways in which SSDI impacts long-term disability, call us today for a free consultation. Our number is 1-877-526-3457. If you’d rather talk at a later time, fill out this form so we may call you at a better time.

Disability Benefits for Scoliosis

POSTED BY admin . June 30, 2018

Scoliosis is not an uncommon back problem in America, with more than 3 million cases reported in the US every year. While most cases are not very severe, others can cause heart and breathing problems.

This sideways curvature of the spine can affect people in such a major way that the Social Security Administration offers disability benefits for scoliosis.

If you are wondering if is Scoliosis a Disability, YES ! Scoliosis is a disability and you can get disability for scoliosis.

How to qualify for disability benefits for scoliosis

There are two ways to qualify for scoliosis disability benefits. You may qualify by meeting an Adult Medical Listing in Social Security’s listing of impairments (aka the Blue Book). If you do not meet the severity level of one of the listings in the blue book you can still qualify if you can prove your scoliosis prevents you from working.

Unable to work

If you apply for disability benefits for scoliosis on the grounds that you are unable to work the SSA will asses your ability to return to work using a residual functional capacity (RFP). This test will measure your physical, mental and sensory limitations.

With Scoliosis Disability your biggest limitations will most likely be physical such as sitting, standing, walking, lifting, and carrying heavy items. If these limitations are found to be serious enough to keep you from working any kind of a job, you may be awarded benefits.

The blue book

While Scoliosis Disability isn’t technically listed in the blue book, the SSA acknowledges that it can cause serious enough spine injuries that you can qualify under spine disorders. Likewise, if your scoliosis causes trouble breathing or heart conditions you might qualify under cardiovascular or respiratory conditions.

Medical proof

Typically only the most serious Scoliosis Disability cases will qualify for benefits and you will need medical proof to support your case. To get approved for disability benefits for scoliosis you’ll need either an x-ray, MRI or CAT scan showing the severity of your condition. As well as a doctor’s physical examination noting your limitations and records that shows therapy isn’t making your condition better.

Scoliosis Disability can be a heavy burden to carry, making it hard to hold down a job and enjoy life. If you are in need of disability benefits for scoliosis call Jan Dils Attorneys at Law “Social Security Disability Attorneys Virginia“.

What Everyone Needs to Know About Social Security Disability Video Hearings

POSTED BY Jon Corra . June 29, 2018

When you’re pursuing a Social Security Disability claim, your hearing is one of the most important aspects of the entire process. We understand that a lot of our clients prefer to attend a hearing in person. There’s a certain level of comfort that comes with attending a hearing in person. However, there’s not always an Office of Hearings Operations (OHO) close by. When an OHO location isn’t close, a video hearing makes a lot of sense. Here are 5 reasons why you should embrace your video hearing.

Travel time.

If you live in a large metropolitan area, there’s a good chance you live near an OHO office. However, we’re based in West Virginia. A lot of our clients live in rural areas, and they often have to travel long distances in order to attend hearings in person. For instance, many of our clients near our Beckley, WV office were forced to travel over two hours in order to attend an in-person hearing at the Roanoke, VA OHO. Now that we’re able to complete video hearings at our Beckley office, what was once a four-hour round trip can be done by driving a few minutes to our office.

Less anxiety.

We understand that most of our clients haven’t hired an attorney before and they haven’t been in court. Though an ALJ hearing isn’t like something you’d see on an episode of Law and Order, it can still be intimidating. When you attend a hearing via video conference, your anxiety may be reduced because you’re not in the same room as the ALJ. Plus, if you’re attending a video hearing at a local SSA office, or at a location like our Beckley, WV office, you won’t have to search for a parking place and walk a considerable distance in order to arrive at the OHO. That’s not usually an issue when you have a video hearing.

Quicker hearing.

One of the biggest benefits of a video hearing is scheduling. The SSA can often schedule a hearing for a video conference much quicker than they can for an in-person hearing. This is a big benefit considering the backlog the SSA is currently facing. The quicker you can attend a hearing, the quicker you can get a decision.

Better for individuals with limited mobility.

 Individuals with severe disabilities or those who have mobility concerns may have issues when traveling long distances for an in-person hearing. The video hearing offers an alternative for applicants who can’t travel far because of their disabilities.

It’s not much different.

It may seem like a video hearing is a big change from a traditional in-person hearing, but in all actuality, it’s not that different. Other than looking at a camera and a video monitor, the procedure is the same. Your attorney won’t prepare you much differently than if you were attending the hearing in person. The judge will act the same as he or she would if you were attending the hearing in person. The questions and overall procedure don’t differ either.

Overall, the video hearing is a good alternative to an in-person hearing. They’re quicker, easier to get to, and great for individuals with limited mobility. However, if you would rather attend a hearing in person, we understand. We present our clients with both options, and we let the client make the decision.

If you’d like to know more about the services we offer, or if you’d like a free consultation, call us today. Our number is 1-877-526-3457. If you’d rather be called at a later time, fill out this form so our Intake team can call you at a later time.

What is a Partially Favorable Disability Decision?

POSTED BY admin . June 18, 2018

So the day has come. You’ve received your decision notice in the mail. You open the much-anticipated letter only to read, “Decision Notice—Partially Favorable” scrolled across the top.

What does this mean, exactly?  It means you have been approved but just as the term suggests, you’ve only been partially approved.  This can be due to two reasons.

 

The First Reason:

The first is that the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) has found you disabled but on a different date than what you initially alleged on your application. 

This means that the ALJ agrees that you are disabled, but doesn’t agree with your choice of onset date, or disability date.  The ALJ may decide that your onset date is later than what you originally alleged if you worked, had a significant diagnosis or started receiving medical treatment after said alleged onset date.

This will, of course, reduce the amount of back-pay you receive since the ALJ has determined you disabled on a date after your alleged onset date.

A partially favorable decision can also determine the type of disability benefits you receive. For example: if you have both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims but your date-last insured (DLI) for your SSDI claim is prior to the onset date the ALJ has decided on, you will only be eligible for SSI benefits.

 

The Second Reason:

The second reason an ALJ may grant a Partially Favorable Disability Decision is because you have been awarded disability for a closed-time period

You will receive benefits for a particular time period; however, these benefits will not continue into the future. Again, the ALJ agrees you are disabled, but only during a specific timeframe.

This typically occurs when an individual’s conditions have medically improved enough, or even resolved, that they are able to return to work.

Like most things in the world of disability, Partially Favorable Disability Decision can be confusing!

 

What should you do if you get a partially favorable decision?

The very first thing you can do is contact Social Security Administration and ask them for all of your records, then take consultant from an experienced Social Security lawyer. The case can be complicated and you can get to the core of the system to get a fully fav0rable decision.

 

You can  contact our office! Call us toll-free at 1-877-526-3457, or fill out this form and we will call you. 

Here Is What You Need To Know About Compassionate Allowances.

POSTED BY Jon Corra . June 18, 2018

To say the Social Security Disability process is long is an understatement. It takes years for most claims to get approved. However, there are some exceptions to the rule.

The SSA recognizes certain conditions and disabilities in which expedition occurs. Formally, this list of conditions is known as Compassionate Allowance.

What is a Compassionate Allowance?

According to the SSA, Compassionate Allowances are a way to quickly identify diseases and other medical conditions that, by definition, meet Social Security’s standards for disability benefits.

These conditions primarily include certain cancers, adult brain disorders, and a number of rare disorders that affect children. The Social Security Compassionate Allowance List (CAL) initiative helps the SSA reduce waiting time to reach a disability determination for individuals with the most serious disabilities.

Which conditions are on Social Security Compassionate Allowance List?

There are over 200 conditions on the CAL. The list contains many types of cancer as well as terminal diseases. The full list can be viewed here: https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0423022080

It’s important to note that a diagnosis alone is not necessarily enough to qualify for the Compassionate Allowance expedition. For instance, breast cancer is on the list, but the severity of the condition also plays a part. In order for breast cancer to qualify for the list, it must be inoperable with distant metastases.

 

How can you file for a condition on the Compassionate Allowance List?

As long as your medical evidence backs up your disability claim, it will be expedited. However, one aspect that may hold up your claim is medical records. Your medical records may be held up by delays at your medical office. However, once your records are sent, you should receive an expedited decision.

Unfortunately, even the Compassionate Allowances program can’t provide benefits immediately. Even with the expedited process, several factors such as the number of other applications, the speed of submitted medical evidence, and further required examinations can delay the decision.

However, most applicants do not have to wait long for their payments to start — most receive Compassionate Allowance benefits anywhere from a few weeks to 2 months after the application is received.

Overall, filing a disability claim while battling a condition on the Compassionate Allowance List can be difficult. If you’d like to know more about how to file for these claims, give us a call today for a free consultation. Our number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form so we may call you at a better time.

 

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What Are GRID Rules and How do I Qualify?

POSTED BY admin . June 12, 2018

There are a set of rules that the SSA can apply to a claimant’s case based on their age, education, work background and present functional ability to find the person disabled more quickly.

These rules are ‘GRIDs’ or we can Generally Understand as Social security GRIDs rules.

There are basically four age categories that SSA considers when applying the GRIDs.

1. “Advanced age” refers to an individual age 55 or older.

2. “Closely approaching advanced age” refers to an individual between the ages of 50 and 54.  Then there are two “Younger” individual categories ages 45-49 and 18-44 (3. and 4.).

 

There are also four basic educational categories the SSA considers as well.

1. “Illiterate or unable to communicate in English”.

2. “Limited or less”.

3. “High school graduate or more with no additional training that would provide direct entry into the work force” and

4. “High school graduate or more with additional training that would allow for direct entry into the work force” (such as LPN certification for example).

Three Main Categories of previous work experience

  • 1.  “Unskilled or none”.
  • 2. “Skilled or semi-skilled work with transferable skills”.
  • 3. “Skilled or semi-skilled work with no transferable skills”.

If, upon review of your medical records, the ALJ or SSA decides based on your physical limitations that you are reduced to a particular level of work such as Sedentary AND you have a limited education AND your past work was unskilled AND you are over 50 years of age, then you would meet the GRIDs rules 201.09.

There are several GRIDs rules for various combinations but the main thing to remember is the older you are, the easier it is to be found disabled based on the GRIDs.

If you are interested in a free consultation for your Social Security Claim or want to know about Social security GRIDs rules, give our office a call today: 1-877-526-3457. Or, tell us about your claim now.

 

Social Security Direct Deposit

POSTED BY admin . June 06, 2018

Direct deposit is a convenient way to send money directly into someone’s bank account. This service has been around for many years and is widely used by employers to pay their employees. In 2011 the Social Security Administration made it mandatory that all recipients sign up for social security direct deposit.

This mandate applies to both Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). So if you’ve recently been approved for benefits, know that your payments will be made as Social Security Direct Deposit electronically.

Why is Social Security Direct Deposit Mandatory?

The SSA made the switch to Social Security Direct Deposit to keep payments safe from being lost or stolen in the mail. While some recipients may not feel comfortable or safe with the direct deposit system, this program has proved to be successful.

Direct Express

There is an option to use a program called Direct Express for Social Security Direct Deposit, which basically works like a debit card. The SSA will deposit your monthly payment to your Direct Express account and then you can use your Direct Express card anywhere MasterCard is accepted.

You can even use this card to get cash from your account. This is a great option for social security recipients who don’t have a bank account that supports direct deposit. Direct Express is free to sign up for and there are no fees.

Electronic Transfer Account

If you want to use a bank account instead of Direct Express  as Direct Deposit, but don’t already have a bank account, consider an electronic transfer account (ETA).

These accounts were established by the federal government to make sure people who get federal payments have a safe place to get their payments deposited directly. Most banks offer ETAs and these accounts are regulated to ensure the banks don’t charge unrealistic fees.

 

How to Change Social Security Direct Deposit?

You can change social security direct deposit information if you currently receiving Social Security benefits.

So firstly, Collect the required information. Then you can use Call a helpline. If you haven’t yet set up an account on the Social Security website, you also may want to call the website. When you set up a new account, you’ll have to wait for a temporary password in the mail. This may cause a delay before you can access your account.

In order to change your direct deposit information Visit website  www.ssa.gov , Login into your account and change your information.

 

The attorneys at Jan Dils Attorneys at Law  “Social Security Disability Attorneys Virginia” will take the time to explain the entire application process as well as how Social Security Direct Deposit payments work once you’re approved. If you’re in need of help applying for SSDI or SSI benefits call today for a free consultation.

 

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What Social Security Applicants Should Know About Back Pay

POSTED BY Jon Corra . May 29, 2018

You are likely aware of the Social Security backlog, and how frustrating a Social Security claim can be. However, you may not know that the approval process can be somewhat complicated, too.

Unfortunately, you don’t receive an approval and then get paid the next day.

In this blog, we are going to examine some key points to the approval process, when you should expect payment and some situations that could catch you by surprise.

When Will I Get My Social Security Back Pay?

Social Security Applicants and  Social Security Back Pay:: For some people, back pay can make a huge difference in their lives. It’s understandable that our most of our clients are justifiably curious about the date that they will receive their back pay.

On average, it can take 90-120 days for the back pay to be processed and released to you  give application as Social Security Applicants . It may be sooner or later than the average, depending upon your specific claim.

So, why is there such a discrepancy? Generally, an individual with a smaller back pay amount won’t have to wait as long for their back pay to arrive as someone with a significant amount.

For instance, when a claimant is owed a large sum, their check can require up to three signatures before it’s released from the payment center.

Also, SSA may need certain information from you in order to process your payments, such as household financial information, or your Workers Compensation payment information.

The longer it takes SSA to receive this information, the longer it will take to get your payments processed and released.

Waiting Period

You may be surprised to learn that there is a mandatory waiting period applied to SSDI claims.  According to the Social Security Administration, you must be disabled for five months after your disability onset date before you can start receiving SSDI payments.

Your benefits will start at the beginning of the sixth month. This won’t delay benefits for most claimants, because most people won’t be approved until long after their onset date.

It’s important to realize that disability benefits will not be paid during the waiting period.

Lump sum or payments?

If you are approved for SSI, or a combination of SSI and SSDI, the rules are different. Social Security generally pays the back pay benefits for SSI or combined SSI/SSDI in three installment payments that are separated by six months each.

However, if you need additional funds sooner than they are scheduled to be released to you, you can contact SSA and ask that they release these funds to you early.

When you do this, be prepared to tell SSA why you need the funds early and provide proof of how much you need.

An SSI recipient may also be eligible for one lump-sum payment if they are not expected to live past the next 12 months or are no longer eligible for SSI monthly benefits at the time they receive their back pay (and are not expected to become eligible for benefits within the next 12 months).

For more information, read our article on lump-sum payments of back pay.

As you’re already aware, getting to the point at which you start receiving back pay can be a long and frustrating process.

It can be helpful to seek the advice of someone who knows the procedure. A lot of people choose Jan Dils Attorneys at Law because of our experience.

To learn more about the services we offer, call us today for a free consultation from our experience Social security attorney. Our number is 1-877-JanDils (1-877-526-3457.) If you can’t talk now, fill out this form, and a member of our team will call you at a better time.

When Will I Get My Social Security Back Pay?

POSTED BY admin . May 22, 2018

After your long Social Security process you are thrilled to get approved. After that, you are likely going to want your Social Security Back Pay, but when will you get it?

Monthly payments are sent by check or by Social Security Direct Deposit into your checking or savings account. If you have a checking or savings account, the SSA prefers making  SSI Back Pay Direct Deposit payments and may insist upon doing so.

SSI  monthly payments are scheduled to be received on the first day of each month. If the first falls on a weekend or a holiday, you will receive your SSI back paycheck or  SSI direct deposit on the last business day before the first.

For example, if the first falls on a Sunday, you will receive your SSI back pay check or your  SSI direct deposit on the previous Friday.

SSDI payments are also sent by check or by  SSDI direct deposit. However, the day you receive your payments depends upon your birthday.

If your day of birth is between the 1st and 10th of the month, you will receive your payment on the second Wednesday of each month. If your day of birth is between the 11th and 20th of the month, you will receive your payment on the third Wednesday of each month.

And if your day of birth is between the 21st and 31st, you will receive your payment on the fourth Wednesday of every month. Payments are always made a month late.

For example, you will receive your November payment in December.

Your award letter will tell you exactly how much you will receive and when you will receive it.

If you are not at the point of getting SSI Back Pay Direct Deposit and would like us to help you get there, give us a call today for a free phone consultation from an experience Social security disability attorneys Virginia. 1-877-526-3457.

 

How The New Medical Cards Will Impact You

POSTED BY Jon Corra . May 21, 2018

Individuals who receive Medicare are likely accustomed to paper cards, which can cause issues with information security. However, change is coming. Medicare recipients in West Virginia will be among the first individuals to receive the new cards. Here is what to expect:

Safety is paramount with the new cards. The former paper cards featured your Social Security Number. This could be troublesome for many because it left important personal information exposed. The new cards no longer feature an individual’s Social Security Number. Each new card will feature a new, unique Medicare Number. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will remove Social Security Numbers from all Medicare cards by 2019.

The new cards will not be released at the same time to all Americans. Instead, they will be released in waves. West Virginia will be a part of the first wave released, which started in April of 2018. Other states included in wave one are Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

The new cards will be automatically sent via the United States Postal Service. Recipients won’t need to do anything to receive the new card. However, the CMS states that you should make sure your address is up to date. The CMS also states your benefits will not change with the new card. They also point out that the mailing will take time, and that your friends and neighbors may receive their cards before you do. The mail can be unpredictable, and the high volume of new cards being shipped can take a while to process.

You may wonder why the cards will remain paper. The simple reason is that, while a plastic card may be more durable, paper cards are easier for medical providers to make copies of. If you forget your card though, the provider may be able to look up your information by way of the new number.

If you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO), your Medicare Advantage Plan ID card is your main card for Medicare—you should still keep and use it whenever you need care. However, you may also be asked to show your new Medicare card, so you should carry this card, too.

When you receive your new card, you should properly dispose of your old card. To see an example of the new card, click here.

If you’d like to know more about the services we offer, or if you’d like a free case evaluation, call us today. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form so we may call you at a better time.