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No More Paper Checks for Social Security Disability Recipients

Check_06042014The Social Security Administration (SSA) says it will no longer have the option of sending paper checks to Social Security beneficiaries starting on March 1, 2013.

The U.S. Department of Treasury had ruled to gradually phase out paper checks for federal benefit payments in December 2010. People newly applying to receive federal benefits had to select to receive their benefits electronically. March 1, 2013 is the final deadline for all remaining federal check recipients to receive their benefits electronically. The Treasury Department reported that 5 million checks continue to be mailed. The switch from paper checks will save American taxpayers $1 billion over the next 10 years.

Beneficiaries will need to have the following in order to switch to electronic payments:

• Social Security number,
• 12-digit benefit check number (located on the upper right hand corner of the check),
• amount of the beneficiaries most recent check,
• bank routing number and
• bank account number.

Beneficiaries will have the option of choosing between having their money direct deposited into their bank account or deposited onto a Direct Express debit MasterCard.

"If you or a loved one still receives paper checks for your benefit payments, now is the time to switch. It's free and easy - just call 1-800-333-1795 or visit www.GoDirect.org," said David Lebryk, commissioner of the Treasury Department's Financial Management Service.

What Factors Does the Social Security Administration Use to Determine If I'm Disabled?

Every application for Social Security disability benefits will be reviewed individually on its own merits, and many factors can be considered when determining eligibility.

However, the Social Security Administration does use a 5-step process as a basic framework for determining eligibility for benefits. Of course, interpretations of these guidelines may vary, so each case may be treated differently.

Here are the five questions that the Social Security Administration asks when determining benefits:

Are you working?

If you are working, you may still be eligible for Social Security disability benefits, depending on how much you are making. Generally speaking, if you average more than $1,010 per month in income, you will not be considered disabled for the purposes of receiving benefits. Income limits will vary according to other factors, so you may be able to make more or less than this and be considered disabled.

Is your condition "severe?"

"Severe" is a relative term, and it is defined by how much your disability impedes your ability to do the work to which you are accustomed to performing. If you are unable to perform basic work-related duties, you may be considered disabled for the purposes of receiving Social Security disability benefits.

Injury1_07232014Is your condition found in the list of disabling conditions?

The Social Security Administration maintains a list of medical conditions that are considered "so severe they automatically mean that you are disabled." Such conditions include ALS, multiple myeloma, and being on a list to receive a liver transplant. Mental disorders are also included.

If you condition is not on the extensive list, it will be evaluated based on whether it is comparable to a condition on the list.

Can you do the work you did previously?

A construction worker who loses the ability to walk may not be able to work anymore, while a writer who loses the ability to walk may still be able to work. The construction worker may be considered disabled, while the writer may not since the writer would be able to do the work performed previously. Your disability will be considered in relation to the type of work you have been accustomed to doing, as well as your age and your education.

Can you do any other type of work?

Even if you can't do the type of work you are accustomed to doing, you may be able to do other work. If that is the case, you may not be eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits. The Social Security Administration will consider your age, education, work history and skills to determine whether you may be able to do another type of work.

Every case will be evaluated on its own merits, and application of these guidelines is open for interpretation. In fact, a majority of applications for Social Security disability benefits are initially denied.

If your application for Social Security disability benefits has been denied, a North Carolina Social Security disability lawyer may be able to help you appeal the decision and get the benefits that you may deserve. Call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-900-7078 for a free evaluation of your case and to find out how one of our Social Security benefits lawyers may be able to help you.

Social Security Administration Issues Cost-of-Living Adjustments for Social Security Benefits

 Happy12_08012014The Social Security Administration announced a number of changes for Social Security benefits in 2013 based on increases in the Consumer Price Index from the third quarter of 2011 through the third quarter of 2012. The changes have led the SSA to account for a 1.7 percent cost-of-living increase when determining benefits.

Based on the changes, maximum taxable earnings for social security taxes will be increased to $113,700, up from $110,100 in 2012. The maximum social security benefit for a worker retiring at full retirement age will be increased from the current $2,513 per month to $2,533 per month in 2013.

The average estimated monthly Social Security benefits also rose, from $1,240 for all retired workers to $1,261. Average monthly payments increased for all beneficiaries, including couples, widowed mothers, aged widows and widowers, and disabled workers.

Though benefits and income were both adjusted for cost-of-living increases, the limits on personal resources for determining benefits remained the same: $2,000 for individuals and $3,000 for couples.

For a comprehensive breakdown of all the changes implemented as a result of the cost-of-living increase, visit the Social Security Administration's website.

North Carolina Social Security Lawyers

If you feel that you are not receiving the Social Security benefits that you deserve, or if your claim for benefits has been denied, the North Carolina Social Security lawyers at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin may be able to help you. Call 1-866-900-7078 today for a free evaluation of your case!

Polls Finds Majority of Voters Support Social Security Disability Insurance Program

Happy14_08012014The National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives (NOSSCR) commissioned a poll that found that the majority of voters support Social Security Disability Insurance benefits and do not believe the government should cut funding to this program.

Voters were asked whether they think the SSDI program should receive budget cuts, and 83 percent of those polled said that it would be "unfair" to cut benefits to Americans who have paid into the system. Of those, 75 percent identified as Republican.

The poll also found that:

  • 73 percent support the SSDI program even after hearing the program referred to as another "handout" or entitlement program
  • 77 percent said that Congress should focus on other programs to cut to try to balance the budget

 

Only 8 percent of those polled said that the budget for the SSDI program should be cut.

The poll, conducted by Lincoln Park Strategies, suggests that political attacks against the SSDI program do not reflect the opinions of the majority of Americans.

North Carolina Social Security Lawyers

The Law Offices of James Scott Farrin also believes that the Social Security Disability Insurance program is a valuable one for Americans, and our lawyers are ready to fight for those who have been denied benefits. Call 1-866-900-7078 for a free evaluation of your case and find out how our North Carolina Social Security lawyers may be able to help you.

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Publishes Paper Defending Social Security Disability Insurance

Happy15_07162014A senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has written a paper defending the Social Security Disability Insurance program against claims that spending has gotten "out of control" by saying that the program provides "modest but vital benefits" and that any rise in expenses is primarily attributable to demographic changes.

Many legislators have criticized the program - which provides benefits to people who have become disabled and unable to work - for its increasing ranks. Many see this as evidence that the program is growing too large or that strict standards are not in place to ensure that those who receive benefits actually need them.

Kathy Ruffing argues in her report "Social Security is Vital to Workers with Severe Impairments" that Social Security disability claims are increasing primarily as a result of an aging population, more women entering employment and a rising retirement age that leaves more people in the workforce.

"An unfortunate tactic of some program critics is to compare today's receipt rates with those of the early- and mid-1980s," Ruffing wrote. "That amounts, however, to cherry-picking the data."

In addition, Ruffing argues, the Social Security disability program has strict standards for eligibility, and only 41 percent of applicants are given benefits that cover their "subsistence." Many struggle for years before they are given benefits, living on a significantly impaired salary or no salary at all.

North Carolina Social Security Disability Lawyers

At the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, we agree that Social Security Disability Insurance is an important program that provides needed benefits for disabled workers. If you have been denied benefits, one of our North Carolina Social Security disability lawyers may be able to help you. Call 1-866-900-7078 for a free evaluation of your case.

Discussions about Rising Social Security Disability Claims Miss the Mark

Reports about the rising number of social security disability claims in June sparked debate about the role of the program and the economic health of the country, leading one congressman to claim that Americans had developed a "slave" mentality in their dependence on government support.

Injury8_07312014In June, approximately 80,000 jobs were created. At the same time, 85,000 people went on Social Security disability.

Rep. Allen West cited these numbers as evidence that the country is becoming increasingly dependent on social programs, and he said that programs such as Social Security disability insurance are "a form of modern, 21st-century slavery."

However, a report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released last month shows that the largest increase in Social Security disability claims came from the Baby Boomer population - who are aging and would have boosted enrollment even if no other factors had changed.

While the number of workers age 45 and older claiming Social Security disability rose from 67 percent to 76 percent from 1996 to 2009, the number of workers between the ages of 25 and 44 claiming benefits fell from 31 percent to 22 percent.

Other factors cited in the report include an increase in women in the workforce since the 1970s and changes to the law in the 1980s that expanded the allowable conditions to claims Social Security disability insurance.

Linking the number of disability claims to unemployment or the state of the economy in general is inappropriate. Workers can only qualify for the benefits if they show that they cannot work because of a medical condition that will last at least a year. The criteria to qualify for benefits is totally independent of the performance of the economy or the job market.

Social Security disability is an important program that provides needed benefits for many Americans, and distorting the conversation like this only threatens the future of this program by undermining support for it.

North Carolina Social Security Disability Lawyers

If you have been denied Social Security disability benefits that you think you are qualified to receive, contact the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-900-7078 to find out if one of our Social Security disability lawyers may be able to help you. One of our representatives is ready to offer you a free and confidential evaluation of your case.

Contact Information

Raleigh Law Office

5848-100 Faringdon Place
Raleigh, NC 27609
Phone: 919-834-1184
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Durham Law Office

280 South Mangum Street, Suite 400
Durham, NC 27701
Phone: 919-688-4991
Fax: 800-716-7881

Fayetteville Law Office

517 Owen Drive
Fayetteville, NC 28304
Phone: 910-488-0611
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Charlotte Law Office

201 McCullough Drive, Suite 220
Charlotte, NC 28262
Phone: 704-599-1078
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

New Bern Law Office

1505 South Glenburnie Rd, Unit P
New Bern, NC 28562
Phone: 252-634-9010
Toll Free: 1-866-780-3422

Greenville Law Office

702 G Cromwell Dr.
Greenville, NC 27858
Phone: 252-355-5205
Toll Free: 1-866-780-3227

Greensboro Law Office

300 N. Greene Street, Suite 850
Greensboro, North Carolina 27401
Phone: 336-665-7072
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Goldsboro Law Office

214 South William Street, Suite 3
Goldsboro, NC 27530
Phone: (919)-731-2581
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Henderson Law Office

514 Dabney Drive, Suite 200
Henderson, NC 27536
Phone: 252-492-4600
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Roanoke Rapids Law Office

709 Julian R. Allsbrook Highway
Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870
Phone: 252-537-9670
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Rocky Mount Law Office

3202 Sunset Avenue, Suite B
Rocky Mount, NC 27804
Phone: 252-937-4730
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Sanford Law Office

703-B South Horner Boulevard
Sanford, NC 27330
Phone: 919-775-1564
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Wilson Law Office

2315 Airport Blvd Suite A
Wilson, North Carolina 27896
Phone: 252-246-9090
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Winston-Salem Law Office

301 N. Main Street, Suite 2409-C
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078