Today’s post comes from guest author Roger Moore, from Rehm, Bennett & Moore.
What can I do if the Social Security Administration (SSA) says I have been overpaid disability benefits?
This is a very common problem, unfortunately. There are a number of factors that cause these issues to come up so frequently.
First, the rules about how much one can make differ, depending on what type of disability benefit is received. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) recipients can earn over $1,000 per month without jeopardizing their monthly benefit. But almost every dollar earned by Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients can affect the amount of their monthly benefit, as this benefit is partially based upon a recipient’s financial situation. These amounts can change over time.
Second, there are many different rules about when you can earn money from working above what is called the substantial gainful employment level and not jeopardize your continued entitlement to disability benefit. It’s difficult to summarize all of the circumstances, yet alone know all of the rules, for a claimant. What’s more, simply providing the SSA your wages doesn’t absolve you from having to repay overpayments. The SSA doesn’t look at this information on a regular basis. Years later, you may get a “Dear John” letter advising you that you were overpaid thousands of dollars.
Finally, you may simply get wrong or bad information from someone when you meet with or speak with the SSA. It’s important to document when you spoke with the person and who that person was. If possible, get them to put their advice in writing.
Today’s post comes from guest author Barbara Tilker from Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano. Causey Law Firm can assist you with your application for Social Security disability benefits if you are in the Puget Sound region.
Filing for Social Security Disability (SSD) can be a lengthy process. Every case is different, and some are processed faster than others. However, we’ve found that it takes the Social Security Administration (SSA) between four (4) to six (6) months to make an initial decision. If that decision is unfavorable (and about 70% of initial decisions are denials), it can take between eight (8) to twelve (12) months to have a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) scheduled. A year to a year-and-a-half wait is not uncommon.
You should file as soon as you know that you will be out of work for at least twelve (12) straight months OR if your condition is expected to result in death.
Due to the lengthy process, you should file for SSD as soon as possible. You should file as soon as you know that you will be out of work for at least twelve (12) straight months OR if your condition is expected to result in death. If you will not be out of work that long, you should not apply for SSD, unless your condition is expected to result in death. You should talk to y our doctor to see how long he/she expects you to be unable to work. Your doctor’s support is incredibly important to your case – something we’ll talk more about in the future – so talk to him/her before making the decision to apply.
In order to make sure that you get the maximum amount of benefits you’re entitled to, your application must be filed within 17 full months from the time that you become disabled and unable to work. If you’ve already been out of work for a year or more, consider putting in an application right away to prevent any loss of benefits you would otherwise be entitled to.
Once you’ve spoken to your doctor and made the decision to apply, contact our office to schedule an appointment.