In the 2010 Annual Report to Congress, the Trustees announced: The projected point at which the combined Trust Funds will be exhausted comes in 2037 – the same as the estimate in last year’s report. At that time, there will be sufficient tax revenue coming in to pay about 78 percent of benefits.The projected point at which tax revenues will fall below program costs comes in 2010. Tax revenues will again exceed program costs in 2012 through 2014 before permanently falling below program costs in 2015 — one year sooner than the estimate in last year’s report.The projected actuarial deficit over the 75-year long-range period is 1.92 percent of taxable payroll — 0.08 percentage point smaller than in last year’s report.Over the 75-year period, the Trust Funds would require additional revenue equivalent to $5.4 trillion in present value dollars to pay all scheduled benefits.
Social Security Adds 38 New Compassionate Allowance Conditions
New Compassionate Allowance Conditions (effective March 1, 2010)
It helps to review previous cases to understand the rules and processes regarding the Social Security’s definition of disabled. In many cases, common sense does not prevail until an attorney gets an opportunity to describe how the rules do not meet the intention.
Adams v. Bowen, 872 F.2d 926 (9th Cir. 1989), cert. denied, _____ U.S. _____, 110 S. Ct. 151 (1989)
The claimant, a 56-year-old diabetic, applied for disability insurance benefits under title II of the Social Security Act (the Act), contending that she was unable to work because of impaired vision. Although she did not have 20 quarters of coverage in the 40-quarter period ending with the quarter of alleged disability, she was fully insured and would have met the disability insured status requirements under section 223(c)(1) of the Act and would have been entitled to disability insurance benefits, had she established that she was statutorily blind. Section 216(i)(1)(B) of the Act provides that a person is statutorily blind if he or she has either central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with the use of a correcting lens, or has a limitation in the fields of vision so that the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angle no greater than 20 degrees which is considered as having a central visual acuity of 20/200 or less. The evidence of record showed that the claimant’s visual acuity in each eye was approximately 20/50 and her visual fields were intact. Because of a neurological impairment, however, the claimant had difficulty processing visual information when the environment around her was moving. She would trip and fall when she walked, and she could not see well enough to put a staple in the corner of a piece of paper. A neuropsychologist stated that, because of her condition, the claimant was in many ways worse off than someone who was blind. Moreover, three ophthalmologic specialists, including the claimant’s attending physician, characterized her as being “functionally blind.” The Secretary, nonetheless, denied the claimant’s application because the evidence showed that she did not meet the statutory definition of blindness.
via SSR 90-5c.
Leroy Simpson appeals the district court’s order affirming the Social Security Administration’s termination of his disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income, 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3). On appeal, Simpson argues that the Administrative Law Judge’s (“ALJ”) finding that he was able to perform his past relevant work is not supported by substantial evidence because the ALJ incorrectly characterized his past work as being that of a cabinet assembler rather than a cabinet maker. For the reasons stated below, we affirm.
If you paid Social Security tax on 30 years of substantial earnings you are not affected by the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP).
The following chart shows the maximum monthly amount your benefit can be reduced because of WEP if you have fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings. (To calculate your WEP reduction, please use our WEP Online Calculator or download our Detailed Calculator.)
The chart is easy to use.
Go to the Eligibility Year (ELY) column to find the year you reach age 62 or became totally disabled (if earlier). If your birthday is on January 1st, use the year before you reach age 62.
Go to the column that shows the number of years you paid Social Security tax on substantial earnings. The amount shown is the maximum your benefit can be reduced in your Eligibility Year because of the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP).
Important: The amounts in the chart below do not reflect the effect of cost-of-living adjustments, early retirement, delayed retirement credits, or other factors.
Example: WEP reduces your Eligibility Year benefit before the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) is added to your benefit.
If you became disabled in 2007 (ELY 2007), presume the WEP reduced your $1,340 benefit to $1,000.
In January, 2008 the 2.3% COLA increased your benefit by $23 ($1,000 x 2.3% = $23).
More examples of how other factors affect your benefit can be found in Examples of How the Windfall Elimination Provision Can Affect Your Social Security Benefit.
Who is disabled?
To be considered disabled, you must have a medical condition that lasts 12 months from your date of onset. If you are disabled for only 11 months, you will not be eligible for benefits.
SSA will also consider your age, education and past work in its determination. It does not matter whether you cannot find a job or that you can’t go back to your old job. SSA only considers whether you are able to work at any job on a sustained basis.
Your disability claim is reviewed by a medical expert and by a vocational expert. The medical expert will determine the severity of your disability. The vocational expert considers your age, education, past work, and transferable skills. Usually a person with a medical condition(s) who is over 50, can’t do previous work, is limited to sedentary work, and has no transferable skills, is considered disabled. However, if you are under 50, have a high school education, and have had jobs with transferable skills, you will have a more difficult time with the vocational expert. The VE will assume you can learn to do a variety of other jobs even if there are no jobs available.
The Law Office of Tina Laine specializes in cross examining the expert witnesses and questioning their decisions. Call 714 565‑7855 for a free consultation.
To be considered disabled your medical condition must last 12 months. If your condition is healed in 12 months and you go back to work, you can be awarded a “Closed Period” and receive your retroactive benefits for 7 months – the first five months are exempt. So, even if you’ve gone back to work, you may be eligible for months of retroactive pay.
By law, you can file applications yourself. However, statistics show that you have a better chance of winning your case when you have a lawyer who specializes in SSDI.
How are benefits calculated
Benefits are calculated by the number of years you worked and by the amount you earned each year. To be eligible for Social Security RETIREMENT you must have worked for 40 quarters – 10 years. However, to be eligible for Social Security DISABILITY, you must have worked 5 of the last 10 years. For instance, if you worked for 10 years and earned your 40 quarters, you will be eligible for retirement benefits when you are 65. But if you stopped working and paying your FICAtaxes for five years prior to becoming disabled, you will not be eligible for disability benefits. You have not worked 5 of the last 10 years. You will have to wait until your retirement age to collect any Social Security benefits.
You may contact SSA at 1–800-772‑1213 and ask them to send you a copy of your earnings record which will show you exactly what your benefits are for yourself and any eligible family member.
SSI and SSDI Together
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is available for people who have not worked and earned the necessary quarters to be eligible for regular Social Security. They must also have very limited income and less than $2000 in assets. They may own a car and a house. If they qualify for disability, they will receive a meager monthly benefit and will receive Medi-Cal.
Some people who have earned their 40 quarters and have worked 5 of the last ten years my qualify for both SSI and SSDI. They must have earned meager yearly salaries so that their SSDI payments are under the amount paid by SSI. If this is so, they will receive the full amount of SSDIthat they earned, plus they will receive SSI to add up to the SSI maximum. They will qualify for both Medi-Care and Medi-Cal.
When to apply
It is important that your SSDI claim is filed timely. Benefits will be paid only one year retroactively from the onset date plus 5 months exemption. Suppose you are disabled on 1/1/08. You would be eligible for benefits from 6/1/08 – five months from your date of onset. But suppose you don’t contact SSA to apply for benefits until 1/1/10 – or 24 months after your date of onset. Social Security benefits will be paid retroactively from 1/1/09. So you have lost benefits from 6/1/08 to 1/1/09 because you did not file timely.
If you are filing for SSI benefits, the date you call SSA to apply for benefits is considered your onset date. SSI does not pay the one-year retroactive benefits.