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Camden County Social Security Disability Law Blog

Some important reminders about the SSDI system

One of the great mischaracterizations of the Social Security disability insurance system is that a large swath of the people who receive these benefits are gaming the system, and that, ultimately, they don't really "deserve" these benefits. Extrapolating that argument a little further, this line of thinking says that the funding and money in the SSDI program should be trimmed, or at the very least cleaned up.

There is no denying that there are some people out there who are improperly using the SSDI system, but the number of people who are doing this is outnumbered by an immense margin by the people who truly rely on Social Security disability insurance to help them out with their lives. Cleaning up the system is certainly important, but we shouldn't be cutting back the system because of a few rotten apples.

Mental illness and SSD: How to discuss mental illness with a boss

Those who suffer from mental illnesses may struggle with the decision to inform their employer. The issue was recently addressed in an article by Scientific American with experts noting that most employees are wise to wait six months to one year after employment to discuss a mental illness with their employer. The reason behind the wait is twofold. Not only does the employee have a chance to prove that he or she is a beneficial member to the team, but the employee will likely have built a relationship with the employer that may ease the difficulty of the conversations for all involved. 

Exactly what information is provided to an employer during this conversation is up to the worker. Those who are uncomfortable divulging details can simply state that they have a mental condition requiring certain accommodations. 

How retirement impacts SSD

Debilitating accidents can happen to anyone at anytime. Workers who are injured may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits (SSD) to help make ends meet. Those considering applying should take comfort in the fact that they are not alone, over 14 million Americans rely on SSD benefits to meet their financial needs.

Many of these Americans are nearing retirement age and concerned about how this new stage in their life will impact their benefits. The issue is so large that Forbes recently ran an article providing an overview of the interplay between the benefits and retirement.

The first important impact is the fact that disabled workers can receive disability through their full retirement age. The piece in Forbes uses the example of a 62 year-old who applies for social security disability benefits. This worker can receive full benefits at 62, but a non-disabled worker who applied for social security benefits would receive about 25 percent less in payments. As a result, this essentially translates to disabled workers being able to receive full retirement benefits four years earlier than their non-disabled counterparts.

Disabled women hit with massive income tax bill from IRS

Becoming disabled and unable to work is difficult enough; having the IRS surprise you with a massive tax bill on disability benefits on top of it seems downright unfair. Unfortunately, that is exactly what a woman featured in a recent Forbes article is dealing with.

The woman became disabled and applied for social security disability benefits in 2007. She did not receive payment until 2010. At that time she received a lump sum payment of $49,610. The woman had coverage by a private insurer, which provided payments during the years she waited for her application to be processed. As part of her policy, her payments from the private insurer were reduced by payments received from social security disability benefits. As a result, her policy required that she pay a large chunk of this payment to her private insurer, $48,144.

Then came the Internal Revenue Service, or IRS. Certain social security disability benefits are taxable, but payments from private insurers are not. The woman was required to pay $10,559 in income tax for the $49,610 payment she received.

Social Security Disability earnings tests: The basics.

Social Security Disability benefits are designed to offer financial assistance to qualifying workers. In order to qualify, workers generally need to meet two different "earnings" tests.

The first test is referred to as the recent work test. This test takes into consideration information about the age the worker was at the time of the disability. The Social Security Administration, or SSA, provides a table to help workers determine if they meet this test. The second test is the "duration of work test." This test is used to make sure the worker applying for benefits worked long enough to qualify.

Rare spinal disease leads to unemployment and need for SSD

It begins as a man makes good type of story. A man made some bad choices in his early years, served his time for crimes he committed, got a good job and attempted to improve his life. Everything was on track, he had a good apartment, he was able to pay his bills and he was meeting the terms of his parole, he was even engaged to be married. Then tragedy struck. One day, the man was working and earning his living. The next, he awoke paralyzed.

Due to his paralysis, he was unable to return to his job selling used cars. Instead, he is in the process of navigating through process of filing an initial claim for social security disability payments.

Federal report raises concerns about future of SSD

Almost 11 million Americans depend on payments from social security disability insurance to make ends meet. These payments are designed to help those who are unable to work due to an injury. Workers contribute to this fund and most go through a rigorous application process to determine if they are eligible for payment. Unfortunately, even after receiving approval for receiving SSD benefits these workers could see a reduction in payments in the near future.

A federal report was recently released analyzing the future of both the Medicare and the Social Security disability insurance programs. According to an analysis of the report by The Wall Street Journal, the disability insurance program could be in trouble unless Congress intervenes in the near future. More specifically, the report notes that SSD will need to start cutting back on payments as early as 2016 if there is no Congressional intervention. Payments were estimated to go down to 81 percent of the original amount.

Scientists find new genetic links to schizophrenia

A new report by Medical News Today highlights a potential connection between certain genetic mutations and the development of schizophrenia. The details of these findings could lead to the development and use of more effective medications for those suffering from this mental health condition.

The most recent study from the Schizophrenia Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium analyzed almost 40,000 genetic samples from individuals with schizophrenia. These samples were compared to 113,075 samples from healthy individuals. The findings are scheduled to be published in the scientific journal Nature and point to 108 locations within DNA linked to the development of this mental disorder. Some of these genes control how messages are sent through neurons and others impact the role the affected genes play in the immune system. The findings are significant, since 83 of these locations were previously unknown.

Push to reduce veteran disability backlog leads to high denials

It's no surprise that those applying for disability benefits will likely have to wait to hear if their applications are approved or denied. Unfortunately, a push to decrease the wait time and move veteran applications for disability benefits through the system at a faster rate may have contributed to a the large rate of denials. The push fuels debate over the question: is faster really better?

When it comes to approval or denial of veteran's application for disability benefits, the answer may very well be no. A recent report by The Wall Street Journal addressed the growing issues surrounding veteran benefits claims, noting a 60 percent increase in the appeal rate for denied claims. More specifically, appeals have jumped from around 168,000 five years ago to over 275,000. The VA has seen an increase in claims for benefits, likely contributing to the jump in denials. In 2009, the VA had approximately 385,000 claims pending review, in 2012, the number rose to almost 884,000 claims. Currently, there are an estimated 565,000 applications awaiting review.

Social Security Disability: A safety net for injured workers

Disability is a reality in the United States. According to the Center for American Progress, one in three young workers entering today's job market will either die or turn to assistance through disability benefits before reaching the full retirement age of 67. With baby boomers reaching an age that faces a higher level of disability and population growth, it is no surprise the Social Security Disability program has grown in recent years. Actuaries with the Social Security Administration further project that the use of the program will soon level off and decline.

The Center for American Progress recently reported that although the current number of Americans in need of assistance through this program has increased, the number of denied applications is high. In fact, less than 4 out of every 10 applicants receive approval.

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