Thursday, September 29, 2022

How To Increase Social Security Disability Payments

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Why Ssdi Requires Work Credits

Increase in Social Security Disability Benefits monthly payments for 2020

As the acronym indicates, SSDI is an insurance program. You pay the premiums of this program through the Social Security deductions that your boss takes out of your paycheck and sends to the government on your behalf. That money helps to fund the monthly Social Security disability and retirement checks that people receive.

On the other hand, the source of funding for SSI benefits is general revenues, like income taxes and additional money that the government collects. Because SSI does not use payroll deductions for Social Security taxes as its source of funding, you do not have to pay into the system and accumulate work credits to be eligible for these benefits.

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Max Out Earnings Through Full Retirement Age

The SSA calculates your benefit amount based on your earnings, so the more you earn, the higher your benefit amount will be. Some pre-retirees look for ways to increase their income, such as taking on part-time work or generating business income. Others, however, unaware of the impact on benefits, may scale back on their work or semi-retire, which can lower their Social Security income.

“Money earned after age 60 isn’t indexed, which means that income-earning in your 60s can replace a year in which there was a zero or a year in which you had lower earnings,” says Marguerita Cheng, CFP®, CRPC®, RICP, CDFA, CEO of Blue Ocean Global Wealth, Gaithersburg, MD.

Earnings above the annual cap$142,800 in 2021 and indexed to inflation each yearare left out of the calculation. Your goal should be to maximize your peak earning years, striving to earn at or above the cap.

Ways To Increase Social Security Benefits

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Knowing how to increase Social Security benefits is important, since those checks will likely be a major source of your income in retirement.

Unfortunately, many people dont understand how Social Security really works. They claim too early, miss out on important benefits and fail to use strategies that could boost their lifetime income. Their mistakes can cost them as much as $250,000, researchers have estimated.

Here are eight ways to increase your Social Security benefits.

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Are Social Security Payments Taxed

Yes and No. First, we are attorneys and not CPAs. Any tax question should be directed at your CPA or your tax preparer.

Generally, the IRS will tax your SSDI benefits when half of your benefits, plus other income, exceeds an income threshold on your tax filing status.

If youre filing single, head of household, married filing separately, or qualifying widower, the threshold is $25,000.

If youre filing married and jointing, that threshold is $32,000. And if youre filing separately but lived with your spouse during the tax year, the threshold is $0

Supplemental Security Income Benefits are not taxable.

Note: Visit irs.gov to learn additional information on paying taxes social security benefits.

Avoid Social Security Tax

Social Security Checks To Get Big Increase In 2019

If you are planning on supplementing your retirement income by working after you start receiving Social Security benefits, you need to be aware of the tax consequences of increasing your income. Anywhere from 50% to 85% of your benefit payment can be subject to federal taxes.

To determine how much of your benefits will be taxed, the IRS will add your nontaxable interest and half of your Social Security income to your adjusted gross income . If that total amounts to $25,000 to $34,000 for single filersor $32,000 to $44,000 for joint filersup to 50% of your Social Security income is subject to tax. When that amount exceeds $34,000 for a single filer or $44,000 for joint filers, up to 85% of your benefits are subject to taxes.

You may be able to avoid paying taxes on Social Security income by considering ways to spread out your income from various sources so as to prevent any increases that could trigger a higher tax.

“Many investors have a ‘tax honeymoon’ period between retirement and age 72. They have no earned income and are not required to withdraw from their IRAs yet. If they have a nonqualified account, they can withdraw tax-free principal. In this situation, it is quite possible that Social Security benefits will be tax-free,” says James B. Twining, CFP®, wealth manager, Financial Plan, Inc., Bellingham, WA.

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Should I Sign Up For Direct Deposit

Direct deposit is a great convenience. It is very dependable. You can sign up by contacting your local Social Security office. But if you dont sign up before your disability hearing then it might be too late to have your back benefits paid by direct deposit because the Social Security Administration may have already sent out your check for back benefits.

There are a couple of problems with direct deposit of past due benefits. SSA sometimes has people sign up for direct deposit right when they apply for benefits. Sometimes, people forget that they even signed up and they keep looking for a check in the mail when the money has already been deposited to their bank account. Worse yet, sometimes people close the bank account that they told the Social Security Administration they wanted to use for direct deposit. If this were to happen to you, you would find that it will take a while to straighten this out. It might be necessary for you to go to the Social Security office to update the Social Security Administration on your current account information.

You Or Your Family Members May Be Eligible For Increased Benefits

Our mission is to deliver Social Security services that meet the changing needs of the public.

It’s not unusual for a benefit recipient’s circumstances to change after they apply or became eligible for benefits. If you, or a family member, receive Social Security or Supplemental Security Income , certain life changes may affect eligibility for an increase in your federal benefits. For example, if your spouse or ex-spouse dies, you may become eligible for a higher Social Security benefit.

To find out if you, or a family member, might be eligible for a benefit based on another persons work, or a higher benefit based on your own work, see the information about benefits on the Social Security website. You can also use the Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool to find out if you could get benefits that Social Security administers. Based on your answers to questions, this tool will list benefits for which you might be eligible and tell you more information about how to qualify and apply.

The questions and answers below are about a few of the life changes that could possibly increase your benefits.

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How You Earn Work Credits

You earn one work credit for every three-month block that you work a job that pays into Social Security. You buy into Social Security through payroll taxes. For the year 2020, the SSA says that you must earn at least $1,410 per quarter to earn a single work credit, and $5,640 in a year to earn four work credits.

For example, a person who works 30 years at qualifying jobs could earn up to 120 work credits. Note that the number of credits you have beyond the requirement does not affect the amount of benefits you receive through this program.

Qualifying For Ssi And Ssdi

2022 Social Security Disability Benefit Increase

The Social Security Administration operates two disability programs including Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance . Each of these programs has its own criteria that an applicant must meet in order to qualify.

To qualify for SSDI benefits, an applicant must have earned enough work credits through prior work history. As of 2014, for every $1,200 earned, a worker earns one work credits and can earn a total of four work credits each year. The number of credits needed to qualify for SSDI benefits will vary depending on your age.

Unlike SSDI benefits, an applicant does not need any work history or work credits to qualify for SSI benefits. Instead, SSI is a needs-based program. Benefit eligibility is based on household income and assets. As of 2014, an individual cannot have a household income of more than $721 per month as an individual or $1,082 per month as a couple or household assets exceeding $2,000 as an individual or $3,000 for a couple in order to qualify for SSI benefits.

For both SSDI and SSI benefits, an individual must meet the medical criteria set forth by the SSA to qualify.

For more information on the disability programs visit:

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Earnings Limit To Increase

If you are in employment while collecting Social Security benefits, you may see your benefits reduced depending on how much you are bringing in. The SSA withheld $1 for every $2 you earn over $18,960 in 2021 if you are below the full retirement age, but the threshold will rise to $19,560 in 2022.

For those who have reached full retirement age in 2022, you will be able to make $51,960 next year, which is a rise from the 2021 annual limit of $50,520. In this case, $1 is withheld for every $3 earned over $51,960.

How To Calculate Social Security Ssdi Benefits

To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, you must have worked a minimum of five years within ten years, paying taxes into Social Security. You will not qualify for this benefit if you have not worked the equivalent of five full-time years or you have not paid into the system.

SSDI can get complicated. Two important questions when looking at SSDI benefits are:

  • Have you worked long enough to qualify for the insurance?
  • When does your disability insurance expire?
  • Note: Just like any other insurance, you will eventually stop being insured once you stop paying for it.

    Any disability insurance you qualify for through working and paying into the system will typically lapse five years after you stop working. To be eligible for DIB, you must prove you met the rules of disability before your disability insurance lapses. These timeframes are calculated for each individual based on their specific work history.

    Social Security uses a formula to determine how much you should receive as your monthly SSDI benefit. SSDI payments average is $1,358 per month. The SSA has an online benefits calculator that you can use to estimate your monthly benefits.

    The monthly SSDI you receive is based on your lifetime earnings paid into Social Security taxes. Social Security uses your average indexed monthly earnings or AIME to begin the process of calculating your monthly benefit.

    There are several options on how you can find out what your PIA is from SSA:

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    Aero Recalculation Of Benefits

    The second way to raise your PIA is by recalculating your benefits so you receive credit for previously un-credited earnings. This process automatically happens twice each year and is called an Automatic Earnings Reappraisal Operation recalculation. Heres how it works: When you start getting disability benefits, the SSA calculates your payment amount using the previous years earnings. This is typically based on your tax information or other documents submitted with your initial application to verify your earnings. Every year you qualify for SSDI benefits, the SSA compares how much money you earned the year before your disability began as well as the prior years earnings. The SSA automatically reviews these numbers to determine if any prior years earnings make you eligible for increased Social Security disability payments.

    These AERO recalculations happen automatically every March and October. If you qualify for higher Social Security disability payments from an AERO recalculation, youll get a notification by mail about a month later. Your next Social Security disability payment should reflect this increase as well as any retroactive benefits you receive.

    How Ssi Payments Are Calculated

    Workers

    Unlike SSDI, Supplemental Security Income is a need-based program. People who have low income, minimal assets, and insufficient work credits for SSDI can apply to receive cash compensation. In some cases, people who receive very low SSDI payments can also receive SSI benefitswhich is referred to as a concurrent claim.

    SSI payments are calculated based on what is referred to as the Federal Benefit Rate . For 2020, the FBR is $783 for an eligible individual, $1,175 for an eligible individual with an eligible spouse, and $392 for an essential person. Any countable income you have, such as funds from performing odd jobs, reduces the benefits you receive.

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    Early Retirement And Working

    People who collect early retirement benefits but continue to work have their benefits reduced when they make over $19,560 per year in 2022. But in the year a recipient reaches full retirement age, he or she can make up to $4,330 per month without having retirement benefits taken away. And any early retirement benefits deducted while you were working are added back to your retirement check over the next 10-15 years.

    How To Qualify For Ssi Benefits

    You can get Social Security Disability benefits even if you do not have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI. The SSA offers the SSI program to disabled adults and children who have limited financial resources. It is a safety net so that people who cannot work for a living but do not qualify to collect SSDI can pay for essential items, like food, clothing, and shelter.

    To qualify, you have to meet the same medical disability standards as a person does for SSDI. In addition, your income must be low, and your countable assets cannot exceed certain limits. Specifically, you could qualify for SSI benefits if:

    • You have a severe illness or injury that meets the benchmarks of the SSAs Listing of Impairments, also called the Blue Book.
    • Your disability prevents you from supporting yourself through gainful employment.
    • You have very little income. This income limit can change every year. In addition, the income limit tends to vary by location because SSI is a joint program of the federal and state governments.
    • Your countable assets do not exceed the SSI limit. This number can also change every year. Your home and the land it is on do not count as assets. Most cars also do not count toward your resources.

    You must satisfy all of these elements to be eligible for SSI benefits. If you are struggling to understand the qualifications for SSDI or SSI, our firm can help you navigate these matters and apply for the benefits you may be entitled to because of your medical condition.

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    Why Would There Be A Problem If I Were Overpaid

    If you are paid too much, the Social Security Administration almost always figures it out eventually. Then, after you have already spent all of the money, it will send you a letter demanding that you repay the overpayment. If you do not have the money to repay the full amount of the overpayment, the Social Security Administration may threaten to cut off your checks until the overpayment is recouped. Usually it will accept a more reasonable reduction of your monthly checks, but this is still a hassle and you may have trouble making ends meet during the time that your check is reduced. Under some circumstances it may be possible to get repayment of all or part of the overpayment waived but this is not something to count on.

    What Beneficiaries Can Expect In 2022

    Can I Get My Social Security Disability Payment Increased?

    Starting Jan. 1, 2022, approximately 64 million Americans will receive a 5.9% COLA to their Social Security benefits. This represents the largest cost-of-living adjustment in 39 years, due to a spike in inflation resulting from ongoing economic difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Previously, COLA averaged just 1.65% per year over the prior 10 years while inflation remained low.

    According to estimates released by the SSA, this increase will amount to $92 for the average retired worker, raising their total benefits to $1,657 per month in 2022. Couples, meanwhile, will experience an averagebenefits increase of $154 to $2,753 per month. Disability benefit payments will increase $76 to $1,358 per month. Disabled workers with a spouse and one or more children will experience an average$133 increase to $2,383 per month. Lastly, widows and widowers will find their averagebenefits increasing by $86 to $1,553 per month. Notably, widowed mothers with a minimum of two children will receive an average$178 increase to $3,187.

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    Increasing Your Monthly Payments By Working

    If you decide to try to return to work to supplement what you receive from SSD, you need to be aware that the amount you earn each month could show that you no longer qualify for benefits. The ability to engage in substantial gainful activity is one of the criteria used to evaluate whether you are disabled.

    Earning more than $1,310 a month from employment in 2021 shows that you are capable of substantial gainful activity and not disabled. If your disability is based upon being blind, the earnings level for 2021 is $2190 a month.

    Social Security encourages people to attempt a return to work by offering a trial work period. If you notify SSD that you wish to return to work, you may do so without reducing your monthly benefits even if your earnings exceed the substantial gainful activity amounts.

    The initial trial work period is nine months of employment or self-employment. The nine months must be completed within 60 months and do not have to be consecutive. You have the option to extend the trial work period for another 36 months, but you cannot have earnings above the monthly substantial gainful activity limits without jeopardizing your benefits.

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