Every Tuesday, Social Security Attorney Taylor Potts will expose some of the more frequent myths surrounding Social Security Benefits. Be sure to “like” our Facebook page and stop back each week as Attorney Potts takes you through The Twilight Zone – Social Security Style. If you have questions about Social Security Disability or VA Disability benefits, contact Attorney Taylor Potts at (304) 845-9750.
You are about to enter a land beyond what many of us know. A land that could almost be considered a different dimension. A dimension of medical records, vocational classifications, administrative law judges, and functional limitations. Strap yourself in and get ready as we enter the twilight zone of Social Security Disability benefits.
WARNING! PROCEED WITH CAUTION
Social Security Disability can be a strange and confusing land, but allow me to be your guide as we (hopefully) shed some of this mystery and bring it back into the realm of reality. In this series, we will take some of the most common (12 to be exact) misunderstandings, or myths, about Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income and help explain why these myths are not necessarily true and why the myths became so pervasive.
NOT 100% REPLACEMENT OF INCOME
Most clients I talk with throughout Ohio and West Virginia seem to be surprised at the amount of money they will receive if approved for Social Security disability benefits. And most often the surprise is not a good one.
Unfortunately, the majority of claimants simply do not know how much money they should be entitled to receive upon approval. Many believe they will receive the same amount of money they earned while working and, with good reason, they are disappointed to find out this is simply not true. Social Security Disability benefits, regardless of the type, will not replace 100% of the income from your employment paycheck.
Generally, everyone eligible either receives a specified dollar figure per month (such as on SSI) or is paid a percentage of work-related income which is capped at certain levels. Exactly how your payments are calculated depends on which type or types of benefits you qualify for and receive.
DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS
Social Security provides numerous types of disability benefits, the most common of which are Social Security Disability Insurance, Supplemental Security Income, Survivors’ benefits, and Widow/Widower’s benefits. Each of these types of benefits provide the disabled individual a different amount or formula to determine payment amounts.
Supplemental Security Income
SSI is the easiest benefit to calculate. If you receive SSI benefits you will be paid at most $783.00 per month with deductions taken for basically all other income you receive during that month.
Disability Insurance benefits
SSDI benefits are more complicated to determine. The amount you receive per month is based on a complicated formula that takes your highest average salary over a given period of time, and then pays you a certain percentage of that money up to different levels. This formula can change from year to year, but for 2020 Social Security currently uses 90% of your averaged earnings up to the first $960.00 earned per month, 32% of earnings between $960.01 to $5,785.00, and 15% over $5,785.00.
These percentages are added together to obtain your monthly benefit amount. From experience, this generally adds up to approximately 50-70% of your pre-disability income with the percentage being lower the higher your earnings go. It is also important to remember that regardless of your pre-disability earnings, there is always a maximum monthly benefits cap. For 2020, the maximum monthly amount is $3,011.00.
Survivors’ benefits and Widow/Widower’s benefits
Here, there are too many variables to give a complete breakdown in this blog. Call me at (304) 845-9750 and I am happy to review your situation with you at no charge. However, the amount received is a percentage of the deceased worker’s retirement or disability benefits up to 100% of those benefits in some cases. The percentage of benefits you can receive depends on your relationship to the individual (spouse, child, etc.), how many individuals are claiming on the same deceased worker’s benefits (a single person claiming will get more than seven claiming on the same record), your age, if you are disabled yourself, and a number of other factors.
SO HOW DO I KNOW HOW MUCH I WILL RECEIVE?
This is a tricky question, and the best any attorney can provide is a range of the monthly payment you may receive if found disabled by Social Security. What makes it difficult to narrow to an exact number is the determination of the exact date you are found to be disabled. This date is unknown until set by Social Security upon approval. Luckily, what is most important is making sure you apply for all benefits available to you or, at the very least, the benefit for which you would receive the highest monthly payment amount.
For example, if you have a limited work record, it may be best to file under Survivors’ or Widow/Widower’s benefits if they are available. This maximization of benefits could require certain seemingly small details in your claim, such as your alleged onset date, to be handled very specifically to ensure you maintain eligibility for different program types. It may also require reopening arguments if you have prior claims and denials for disability benefits. All of this can be complicated and technical. Contact our office at (304) 845-9750 and set up a free consultation to discuss what approach might benefit you most. There is no charge for the consultation, and you owe us nothing until we win benefits for you.
GKT CAN HELP YOU OBTAIN BENEFITS
Regardless of where your claim is with Social Security, many of the issues above can be addressed and corrected if needed. Do not give up, get help. At Gold, Khourey & Turak, we have the knowledge and understanding to maximize your Social Security disability benefits payments. Whether it requires a combination of applications, be it SSI and Disability Insurance or Disability Insurance and Survivors’ benefits, or strategically setting an alleged onset date to attempt to preserve entitlement to a specific program, we can help guide your claim through the long and confusing Social Security Disability process.
If you or someone you know is filing a claim for disability benefits, needs to appeal a denial of benefits, or simply has questions regarding Social Security Disability, do not wait. Call GKT today at (304) 845-9750 for a free consultation. Keep in mind that if you have been denied benefits, you have 60 days to appeal. We can help.
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