Social Security Disability Payments

Estimate for 2015 Social Security Disability COLA Released

by Staff | October 20th, 2014

Making ends meet can be a struggle those who receive Social Security Disability benefits. Ricipients must meet strict income limits that prevent savings from being accumulated to be eligible for Disability benefit payments. These financial concerns can be compounded by inflation rates that drive up the cost of goods and services.

What is A COLA?

To combat the latter problem, the Social Security Administration reevaluates how disability payments are structured each year to determine if increases or decreases in payouts are needed. This is often referred to as a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA).

COLAs use a complex equation to figure the amount of benefits each disability recipient should receive based on the costs of certain items and services necessary for everyday life, including food, fuel, transportation, electricity, and housing.

What Will Next Year’s COLA Be?

Officials say that as long as costs are stable throughout the remainder of the year, disability recipients should expect to see a small increase in benefit payments beginning in Jan. 2015. According to an article from FedSmith.com, current estimates are showing next year’s COLA to be around a 1.7 percent increase in payments.

What Can You Do To Increase Benefits?

These numbers seem small, but there are some things you can do that could potentially increase the amount of benefits you receive. They include:

  • Checking Benefit Statements– Mistakes are sometimes made in paperwork, and the Social Security Administration is no exception. This is why it’s vital to check benefit statements online or when they come in the mail to ensure your earned income is correct. An error with this number could significantly affect the amount of benefits you receive.
  • Apply for Other Income Resources– If you receive Social Security Disability, you may also qualify for other benefits programs.
  • Join Ticket To Work– The Ticket To Work program can help you transition back into a job after being disabled, while still being able to collect benefits for a disability.

New Tool Determines Social Security Disability Recipients’ Abilities to Manage Payments

by Staff | May 14th, 2014

Roughly 3.5 million Americans receive Social Security Disability benefits due to psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Despite receiving these payments, many of these individuals still struggle to manage their money, leading to homelessness and hunger.

That’s why the Social Security Administration is considering using a new tool, called the Financial Incapability Structured Clinician Assessment done Longitudinally (FISCAL), to determine if benefits recipients are able to manage their own finances. According to an article from Medscape, the tool has gained support after recent successful testing.

Investigators examined 118 patients who were receiving Social Security Disability payments, had recently received medical treatment for a psychiatric disorder at an acute care facility, and had not conservator or payee to help manage their funds. They found that nearly half of those individuals were unable to properly manage their money, with a majority spending the money on drugs, alcohol, and other items.

Experts agreed that better and more frequent screening of financial capability is needed to prevent the mismanagement of Social Security Disability funds.

The Social Security Disability lawyers with Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin understand there’s questions and confusion that can arise when managing Social Security disability payments, and we are here to help. Give us a call at (866)684-7216 if you or a loved one need help navigating through the Social Security Disability system.

Lawsuit Filed to Prevent Halted Social Security Disability Payments

by Staff | March 26th, 2014

March 26, 2014

Many Social Security Disability Recipients have third-party companies control distribution of their benefits because their conditions leave them unable to manage their own funds. Now, roughly 1,000 Social Security recipients are at risk of losing benefits if they do not find a new third party to manage their accounts.

An article from the Willamette Week explains the problem started last week when federal investigators seized computers and data from Portland-based company, Safety Net, that oversees the distribution of Social Security Disability benefits to thousands of the city’s residents. Officials believe there could be a problem with the way the company is handling accounting, but company executives say the issue is a computer glitch and that all money is accounted for.

In the meantime, the company’s customers could lose vital benefits if they do not find a new third party vendor. An estimated 300 recipients have done so, but tracking down the other roughly 700 is proving difficult, as many are homeless or near-homeless.

In order to put a stop to the loss of benefits, some of the claimants have filed a suit to prohibit the Social Security Administration from stopping payments.

The Social Security Disability Lawyers with Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin are hopeful a resolution to the issue can be found that will satisfy the needs of both sides.

How Other Benefits Can Affect Social Security Disability Payments

by Staff | December 2nd, 2013

December 2, 2013

When an individual is left permanently unable to work due to an on-the-job accident, they may be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits for a source of income. However, the Social Security Disability Lawyers with Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin warn accident victims that other benefits they receive, such as workers’ compensation, could affect the amount of assistance they get from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Payments for a disabling injury from a private source, such as a pension or insurance policy, will not affect a Social Security Disability payout. Public benefits, like workers compensation, will be used to determine benefit payments though. An SSA Press Release explains the total amount of any public benefits a claimant receives cannot exceed 80 percent of the claimant’s average income earnings before becoming disabled. Any excess will be deducted from the final payout that SSA administers.

The only public benefits to receive an exception to the rules are payments from the Veterans Administration, Supplemental Security Income, or certain state and local benefits.

The SSA adds that any change in income status can directly affect Social Security Disability Payments and should immediately be reported to the agency. The team of attorneys with Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin would also encourage anyone who is applying for such benefits, or who has been denied in the past, to discuss their legal rights with a reputable attorney immediately.

Obama Says Social Security Recipients Could See Delay In Payments

by Staff | January 14th, 2013

January 14, 2013

President Barack Obama announced earlier today that unless a deal can be reached to raise the nation’s current debt ceiling soon, the more than 62 million Americans who receive Social Security Disability Benefits or Supplemental Security Income could see delays in receiving payments.

According to Mail Online, the president made the statement in response to the ongoing debate on how to fix the problem of the nation’s rising debt. Recipients of Social Security benefits make up a large portion of the money and spending that is currently being debated by legislators and is only compounded by the fact recipients were set to receive an increase in payments at the start of the year.

Such a delay in payments could have devastating effects on families who depend on Social Security benefits in order to survive, considering a default on payments could potentially create another recession that would only result with inflated borrowing costs and an increased deficit anyway.

It is also important that the payments no be delayed as they will be the first in several years where recipients have gotten a Cost of Living Adjustment, or COLA. The COLA will increase each recipient’s payment by around $20 per check.

The Social Security Disability Lawyers with Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin understand the importance of benefit payments not being delayed and may be able to help if you have a Social Security benefit claim you are preparing to file or that has been denied in the past.