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Social Security Considerations for Tax Time

With the new year comes a new tax season. Though the deadline to file is not until April 15, these next couple of months will pass by very quickly. It is important to start getting your tax information together now so you have enough time to prepare a thorough file and to submit it by the deadline.

To help make filing a bit easier, the Social Security Administration released a few tips for handling Social Security matters on your taxes. Here's what you need to know:

Taxed Benefits

Depending on how much you receive in Social Security benefits and how much income you receive, you may have to pay taxes on your Social Security benefits. If your total income and benefits are at least $25,000, you will be responsible for paying federal taxes on some of those benefits. Married couples will have to pay some taxes if their income and benefits are at least $32,000.

You should receive a Social Security Benefits Statements form (Form SSA-1099) by January 31. This will be used to file your taxes.

Claiming Children

If you had a child in 2012, you can claim him or her as a dependent on your taxes. You will need a Social Security number for your child, which you can apply for along with the birth certificate in the hospital. However, if you did not apply for the number while you were in the hospital, you can apply directly to the Social Security Administration.

You can also use your child's Social Security number to apply for benefits on his or her behalf (if eligible).

Changing Your Name

If you were married in 2012 and you decided to change your name, you will need to apply for a new Social Security card updated with your new name. Your Social Security number will not change.

It is important to make sure that you have changed your name legally and that you have changed your name with your employer when you apply for a new Social Security card. If there is a discrepancy over your name between your employer and the Social Security Administration, there could be a delay in receiving your Social Security benefits.

Employee Benefits

Small business owners can easily report their employees' social security taxes and other taxes online. You can simply submit your employees' W-2s online at www.socialsecurity.gov/bso. If you are in danger of missing the deadline for submitting W-2s, then submitting them online buys you a little extra time: The deadline is a month later on March 31.

If you have any questions about how to file for your Social Security benefits or any other issues regarding Social Security and your taxes, it is best to contact the Social Security Administration directly. You can find information online at www.socialsecurity.gov. A qualified certified public account may also be able to offer you some advice and guidance.

* Disclaimer: This is for general informational use only. The Law Offices of James Scott Farrin does not practice tax law, nor are we trained as certified public accountants, and, therefore, cannot give financial or tax advice. Please consult with a tax attorney or certified public accountant to discuss any specific tax questions you may have.

Online Services Now Available for Management of Social Security Benefits, Called "My Social Security"

Laptop1_07312014It is now possible to access information about Social Security benefits online through a service that the Social Security Administration announced called "My Social Security." This new online service will allow people to view and print their benefit verification letter, payment history, and earnings record. They can also change their address and their direct deposit information.

The benefit verification letter can be used to provide proof of income for a mortgage, a loan, or to apply for other government benefits. It can also be used to show proof of age, disability status and Medicare coverage.

The Social Security Administration says that it processed almost 9 million request for benefit verification letters last year. Social Security employees are already taxed by higher workloads, and the agency has said that it expects to provide fewer services as a result of budget cuts and a smaller workforce. By providing this service for people to access these letters themselves online, Social Security employees will be able to shift their work load to other important tasks.

The online services are also expected to reduce the waiting time that beneficiaries face for receiving information.

The service is available online at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. People must be at least 18 to use the service. Users will be prompted to create an online account by providing unique information about themselves.

Users who are at least 18 but who are not receiving benefits will be able to use the service to receive a Social Security statement, which estimates future Social Security benefits for retirement.

The online services will also include links to other important online benefit services, including disability and Medicare.

Can I Get Social Security Disability Benefits for a Mental Illness?

 Medical43_07232014Social Security Disability benefits are available for people who have become disabled and are no longer able to work. For some, this may mean a physical disability, such as an injury that leaves you unable to walk or to have full range of motion in your arms. For others, it may mean a mental disability brought on by a mental illness such as schizophrenia.

The Social Security Administration does consider some mental illnesses and disorders as criteria for receiving Social Security Disability benefits. However, many claims that are based on mental conditions are rejected more often than those based on physical disability. The reason is that it can be difficult to objectively show that a mental condition is severe enough to prevent basic work functions. In addition, not all examiners may have the training to understand how to evaluate mental disorders or illnesses in relation to employment.

Some mental disorders and illnesses are included in the Social Security Administration's official listing of impairments (http://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/12.00-MentalDisorders-Adult.htm) -- meaning that, if you have one of these conditions and meet all of the required criteria noted in the listing, you are considered to be disabled. This list includes:

• Schizophrenic, paranoid and other psychotic disorders
• Affective disorders, such as depression or hallucinations
• Mental retardation
• Anxiety-related disorders
• Somatoform disorders
• Personality disorders
• Autistic disorders and other pervasive developmental disorders

For each of these conditions, other criteria must be met to show that it is disabling.

If you have a condition that is not listed, or if your condition does not meet the criteria in these listings, you may still be eligible for benefits. You will have to show that your condition will interfere with your ability to perform work and that the condition is likely to last for a long period of time.

North Carolina Social Security Disability Lawyers

If you have been denied Social Security Disability benefits, the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin may be able to help you. Call 1-866-900-7078 for a free evaluation of your case and to find out if one of our North Carolina Social Security Disability lawyers may be able to help you!

Limits on Medicaid Could Jeopardize Coverage for Millions

 Sad2_07082014The recent Supreme Court decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act - "Obamacare" - also included a provision to narrow the expansion of Medicaid, which provides health care coverage for poor Americans, including many young seniors.

Initially, the government proposed that states who refused to expand their coverage of Medicaid to all people under the age of 65 living below 133 percent of the poverty line - or about $14,000 for an individual and about $29,000 for a family - would lose all their federal funding for Medicaid.

The Supreme Court ruled against this provision, allowing states to refuse to expand the program without risk of losing federal funding. States such as Florida and Texas have already threatened to not expand the program.

The federal government is now offering to pay 100 percent of the expansion costs for the first three years, with the percentage gradually declining afterward, as an incentive for states to expand coverage. However, there is no mandate for states to do so.

As many as 3.3 million uninsured young seniors and 16 million older seniors and people with disabilities could be affected if coverage is not expanded, according to the National Senior Citizens Law Center (NSCLC).

Paul Nathanson, the executive director of the NSCLC, is calling on constituents to lobby their representatives to make changes to the law to ensure that coverage is available for all Americans. Otherwise, the poorest among us will be at risk of not having access to health care.

North Carolina Social Security Lawyers

At the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, we believe that all seniors should have access to all federal benefits for which they qualify. If you have been denied social security benefits or other benefits, one of our North Carolina social security lawyers may be able to help. Call 1-866-900-7078 for a free 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

1001 Morehead Square Drive, Suite 350
Charlotte, NC 28203
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