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RETIREMENT

After a lifetime of hard work, you are looking forward to retirement. Deciding when to retire is a very important decision and involves a number of issues you may want to consider before you actually retire. The more you know before you start making decisions; the better off you will be in retirement.

Choosing when to begin receiving Social Security benefits is an important part of deciding when to retire. There are many things to look at, many decisions to be made, this is not you fathers Social security program any more. If you start collecting Social Security benefits before you reach full retirement age, your benefits could be permanently reduced by up to 25 - 30 percent, depending on when your benefits start. If you choose to start receiving benefits when you reach full retirement age, you would receive your full benefit. If you delay claiming benefits beyond full retirement age, you can earn delayed retirement credits that increase your monthly benefit by about eight percent for each year you delay claiming, up to age 70.

Social Security’s full retirement age depends on the year in which you were born. See chart below.

Year of Birth Full Retirement Age
1937
1938
1939
1940
1941
1942
1943-1954
1955
1956
1957
1958
1959                     
1960 & later
65
65 & 2 months
65 & 4 months
65 & 6 months
65 & 8 months
65 & 10 months
66
66 & 2 months
66 & 4 months
66 & 6 months
66 & 8 months
66 & 10 months
67

We will provide you a personalized analyst that will show you different options available to you to choose. We will explain the Annual Earning Test that applies to you while you are under age 66, we will explain any tax liability that may apply from receiving Social Security benefits. We will also discuss any increase in Part “B” Medicare starting at age 65 should it apply to you. All your questions will be answered before you retire ----- it is not like the Federal Government where you have to pass it to see what is in it. 

OVERPAYMENTS

An overpayment occurs when Social Security pays you more than you should have been
paid. If this happens, Social Security will notify you why you have been overpaid, your repayment options, and your appeal and waiver rights. You should read the notice carefully.

The first question you should ask yourself is, “Does it sound reasonable?”, and if it doesn’t it is your right to question the overpayment. Remember if you ask Social Security to review the overpayment more than likely you will get the same answer. I am not saying it is not correct, but they have a vested interest in the outcome. Let a third party look into the case for you and give you accurate assessment of what is going on and what your options are.

The first thing Social security wants you to do is pay the overpayment back.
  • If you are receiving Social Security benefits, Social Security will withhold the full amount of your benefit each month; unless you ask for a lesser withholding amount and they approve your request.
  • If you are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), generally Social Security will withhold 10 percent of the maximum federal benefit rate each month. If you cannot afford this, you may ask that less be taken from your benefit. Or you may ask to pay back the overpayment at a rate greater than 10 percent.
  • If you no longer receive SSI, but you do receive Social Security, you can pay back your SSI overpayment by having up to 10 percent of your monthly Social Security benefit withheld.
  • If you are not receiving benefits, Social Security wants you to send them a check for the entire amount of the overpayment within 30 days; or set up a plan to pay back the amount in monthly installments.
  • If you are not receiving benefits, and you do not pay the amount back, Social Security can recover the overpayment from your federal income tax refund or from your wages if you are working.
  • Social Security can also recover overpayments from future SSI or Social Security benefits and will report the delinquency to credit bureaus.
  • Appeal and Waiver Rights

If you do not agree that you have been overpaid, or if you believe the amount is incorrect,
you have the right to file an appeal by filing form SSA-561 or a Reconsideration. This means you believe the overpayment is wrong. You have 60 days from the date you received the original overpayment notice to file an appeal.

If you believe the overpayment is correct, but you should not have to pay the money back, you can request that Social Security waive collection. You must submit form SSA-632, which you can get online or by calling Social Security or visiting your local office.

There is no time limit for filing a waiver. You will have to prove that:

  • The overpayment was not your fault; and
  • Paying it back would cause you financial hardship or be unfair for some other reason.

Social Security may ask you to give them proof of your income and expenses.

If it is not your fault and you can pay it back Social Security will still want their money back.

Let us guide you through this path.

DISABILITY

Social Security defines Disability as:
Any physical or mental impairment which would cause a person to not be able to perform substantial gainful activity (we call this term work). And that the disability is so severe that the impairment would last for 12 months or longer or could ultimately end up in death.

There are two types of Disability Programs that Social Security Administers and these are:

  • SSDI or Social Security Disability Insurance or T2

    To qualify for this program you must not only be Disabled under the law, but you must be fully insured and have worked the last 5 out of the 10 years, prior to the date he/she became disabled.
  • SSIDI or Supplement Security Income Disability or T16
    To qualify for this program you must not only be Disabled under the law, but SSI is a needs based program for persons who have not worked the last 5 out of the last 10 years. You must be disabled, or blind to apply. Your eligibility for this program is based on your own (or your parents if you are under age 18) income, resources, and living arrangement.

This is a long process, let us worry about appeals if needed, let us worry about getting medical records, being disabled is enough to be worried about. We want you to know we will stand by your side from the beginning to the end “it’s our job to worry” not yours.

Appeals Process:

There are several stages to the appeals process and they are as follows:

  • Initial Filing:

    This is the first step in the disability process. The initial claim is provided to the Social Security Administration who ensures all forms are completed and signed. The claim is then forwarded to DDS (Disability Determination Section) for a medical decision. If this claim is denied you have 60 days from the date of the notice of denial to file a reconsideration.

  • Reconsideration:

    This is the second step in the appeals process. If you are denied at the initial stage you have 60 days from the date of the denial letter to file a reconsideration. A different doctor from your initial case is assigned to this case and a decision is rendered. If this claim is denied you have 60 days to request a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ).

  • ALJ:

    This is the Third step in the appeals process. If you are denied at the reconsideration stage you have 60 days from the date of the denial letter to file a Hearing. The case is now referred and assigned to an Administrative Law Judge who will render a decision on your case. You have the right to supply additional evidence, appear before the judge either in person or by video conference and be represented by counsel. This process could take over a year.

  • Review of the Hearing

    This is the Fourth step in the appeals process. If you are denied at the Hearing stage of appeal you have 60 days from the date of the denial letter to file a Review of a Hearing. This process could take up to a year.

  • Federal Court

    This is the Fifth and final step in the appeals process. If you are denied at the Review of the Hearing stage of appeal you have 60 days from the date of the denial letter to file in Federal Court. This process can take up to two years.

Our motto is when in doubt Appeal, Appeal, Appeal!

SSI

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Eligibility Requirements

Anyone who is:

  • aged (age 65 or older);
  • blind; or
  • disabled.

And, who

  • has limited income;
    • Income, for the purposes of SSI includes:
      • money you earn from work;
      • money you receive from other sources, such as Social Security benefits, workers compensation, unemployment benefits, the Department of Veterans Affairs, friends or relatives; and
      • free food or shelter.
  • and
    • has limited resources;
      • cash;
      • bank accounts, stocks, U.S. savings bonds;
      • land;
      • vehicles;
      • personal property;
      • life insurance; and
      • anything else you own that could be converted to cash and used for food or shelter.
    • SSI limits for resources that we do count are:
Individual/Child - $2,000
Couple - $3,000
  • and
  • is a U.S. citizen or national, or in one of certain categories of aliens; and
  • is a resident of one of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, or the Northern Mariana Islands; and
  • is not absent from the country for a full calendar month or  for 30 consecutive days or more; and
  • is not confined to an institution (such as a hospital or prison) at the government's expense; and
  • applies for any other cash benefits or payments for which he or she may be eligible, (for example, pensions, Social Security benefits); and
  • gives SSA permission to contact any financial institution and request any financial records about you; and
  • files an application; and
  • meets certain other requirements.
WIDOW'S BENEFITS

Widow benefits are a very important area of benefits that most people take for granted because they know so little about it.

First, how do you know your benefits are correct? A lot of your widow’s benefits are still manual computations and left up to the Claims Representative to complete not the computer. Having said that, the computer is not always correct either, but there is a greater chance your widows benefit may contain an error.

You as a widow or widower may be able to receive full benefits at full retirement age. The full retirement age for survivors is age 66 for people born in 1945-1956 and will gradually increase to age 67 for people born in 1962 or later. Reduced widow or widower benefits can be received as early as age 60. If you are a surviving spouse’s and disabled, benefits can begin as early as age 50.

If you are a widow or widower you can receive benefits at any age if you take care of your child who is receiving Social Security benefits and younger than age 16 or disabled.

If you have been divorced, your former wife or husband who is age 60 or older (50-59 if disabled) can get benefits if your marriage lasted at least 10 years. Your former spouse, however, does not have to meet the age or length of-marriage rule if he or she is caring for his/her child who are younger than age 16 or who are disabled and also entitled based on your work. The child must be your former spouse’s natural or legally adopted child.
Benefits paid to you as a surviving divorced spouse who meets the age or disability requirement as a widow or widower won’t affect the benefit rates for other survivors
getting benefits on the worker’s record. However, if you are the surviving divorced mother or father who has the worker’s child under age 16 or disabled in your care, your
benefit will affect the amount of the benefits of others onthe worker’s record.

How much will I receive? The benefit amount is based on the earnings of the person who died. The more the worker paid into Social Security, the greater your benefits will be.
Social Security uses the deceased worker’s basic benefit amount and calculates what percentage survivors are entitled to. The percentage depends on the survivors’ ages and relationship to the worker. If the person who died was receiving reduced benefits, your survivor’s benefit is based on that amount. Here are the most typical situations:

  • A widow or widower, at full retirement age or older, generally receives 100 percent of the worker’s basic benefit amount;
  • A widow or widower, age 60 or older, but under full retirement age, receives about 71-99 percent of the worker’s basic benefit amount; or
  • A widow or widower, any age, with a child younger than age 16, receives 75 percent of the worker’s benefit amount.

Widow’s benefits can be complex especially when they are involved in when you should take your retirement benefits at a later date. Knowledge is power; know what your benefits are. Maximizes your Social Security Benefits.

     
       
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Colossians 3:17
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