SSD applicants experience long waiting times for claim approvals

Many Americans who file for Social Security disability benefit claims have complained that they have to endure long waiting times before they can be approved for much needed disability benefits, and applicants waiting for appeals have an even longer line to wait through.

Such has been the case of applicant Sherice Bennett, who was forced to stop working due to difficulties associated with diabetes, arthritis, and an open-heart surgery. Bennett became homeless after having to wait two years before even being given the opportunity to convince a judge that she qualified for federal disability benefits.

Another Miami man died two months before his case even made it in front of Judge Thomas Snook, who approved the man’s claim to benefits that his widow will now collect.

These discouraging wait times are a very real problem faced by millions of Social Security Disability applicants across the country, and the attorney at the Hankey Law Office in Indianapolis understand that your needs must be met as soon as possible. To speak to our legal team about your options, call (800) 520-3633 today.

Senator notes backlogs in Social Security negatively affect disabled taxpayers

Senate joint economic committee chairman Dan Coats (Republican of Indiana) told the committee on Wednesday, November 4 that the average waiting time of 114 days for an initial decision regarding the disability benefit claims brought forward by Social Security Disability Insurance applicants to the Social Security Administration and the 480 days for the appeal heightens the risk of fraud and “slows awards of benefits to individuals who need them.”

According to Coats, the General Accountability Office, an investigative branch of Congress, has found that $11 billion in over-payments had been made during the last decade, while the SSA said 44.5% of participants have been given more than they were entitled to receive in benefits.

Our attorneys at The Hankey Law Office focus on handling Social Security and disability cases for our clients in the Indianapolis area. If you are struggling to file a claim or work through an appeal process, our attorneys can help you. Call our offices at (317) 634-8565 today to discuss your claim.

A Guide to Social Security Disability Benefits

Some aspects of Social Security disability benefits are not that easy to understand, and getting the government to include you in its list of monthly recipients can be a bit difficult – after all, around 65% of Social Security disability claims get denied, although many of those denied claims are awarded after they are re-considered via appeal.

The reason for this stringent deniability system is because the Social Security Administration has a strict definition of what a “disability” is. The main criteria one must meet before he or she can be classified as disabled are a) you cannot do the work you did before, b) you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition, and c) you are expected to be affected by your disability for at least a year, if not for the rest of your life.

It is essential that you apply for benefits as soon as you become disabled, as the application and appeal processes can take several months, or even years, to get approved.

Our attorneys at the Hankey Law Office proudly serve Indianapolis clients in need of legal advice in all matters related to filing and appealing Social Security disability benefit claims. If you are in need of our legal assistance, call our offices today at (800) 520-3633.

The top five states for Social Security beneficiaries

With the depletion of the Social Security disability fund looming, Social Security disability recipients in these five states may want to discover other means of getting by.

According to a recent study, the five states with the highest percentage of their population receiving Social Security benefits are Maine, Alabama, Arkansas, Vermont, and West Virginia – states where more residents older than the national average reside.

To specify, 25.1% of West Virginians depend on Social Security benefits while over 22% of Alabama’s and Arkansas’s population live on Social Security benefits. Around 24.5% of Maine residents are Social Security recipients while 22.4% Vermont locals are beneficiaries of Social Security.

The number of Social Security beneficiaries in these states is significantly higher than the national average of 18.5%.

Our attorneys at The Hankey Law Office serve Indianapolis clients who have legal issues concerning filing for or appealing their Social Security disability benefits. To consult with a member of our legal team, call our offices today at (800) 520-3633 or (317) 634-9818 and find out more about the legal services we offer.

Are your Social Security benefits taxable?

People who receive monthly Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) benefits receive a form entitled SSA-1099 which tells you how much money you received in benefits throughout the year, according to a Fox Business article on March 25.

However, the form does not indicate how much, if any, of these benefits are taxable. If you use the IRS Free File tool, the software will automatically determine the taxable amount of your benefits. If you file single, your benefits likely will not be taxed unless you make over $25,000–$32,000 if you are married. If you are married and lived with your spouse any time during the tax year but you file separately, all of your disability benefits are taxable.

The Social Security lawyers at the Indianapolis-based Hankey Law Office are committed to assisting you in filing for Social Security disability benefits. Call our offices today at (317) 634-8565 to speak with a member of our legal team.

U.S. Congress pushing for legislation to help those with disabilities

The United States Congress is on the verge of passing legislation that could significantly impact the lives of people with disabilities – legislation that has been sought after for more than two decades – called Achieving a Better Life Experience or ABLE, WDRB reported on December 8.

The proposed ABLE Act would make it possible for people with disabilities or special needs to open tax-free savings accounts of up to $100,000 to pay for expenses such as medical bills, housing, and transportation, among others, without losing their government benefits.

Republicans in both houses of Congress pushed for the enactment of this proposal on December 6 in their weekly address. It got passed in the House of Representatives and is now pending Senate approval.

It is not yet clear, however, whether the bill will be acted on during the current lame duck session or whether it will have to be discussed next year when Senator Jim McConnell (Republican of Louisville), one of the bill’s proponents, becomes Senate Majority Leader.

The attorneys at the Hankey Law Office in Indianapolis may be able to help you apply or appeal for Social Security disability benefits. Call our offices today at (800) 520-3633 today to speak with a member of our experienced legal team.

Illegal immigrants protected by Obama’s action eligible for benefits

President Barack Obama recently announced that illegal immigrants in the United States who plan to obtain work permits could be eligible for Social Security and Medicare benefits once they reach retirement age, Newsmax reported on November 26.

A provision under the federal law signed in 1996, the Federal Insurance Contributions Act, that states people who have contributions to Social Security and Medicare can become eligible for these benefits if they are “lawfully present in the United States,” meaning properly documented. Now that Obama has protected millions of potential workers from deportation, they too may become eligible for certain benefits that they pay into.

According to a report, both employers and employees pay for the employees FICA taxes, with 12.4% usually going to Social Security and 2.9% to Medicare.

The process of applying for Social Security disability benefits can be tedious and take a long time. Fortunately, our lawyers at the Hankey Law Office in Indianapolis may be able to help you complete an accurate and thorough application. Call us today at 317-634-8565 or 800-520-3633.

Social Security IG reveals errors among disability judges

The Social Security Administration’s Inspector General’s report showed that a large proportion of Social Security disability cases granted by some judges had no “well-supported rationale,” paving the way for further investigation into the program, The Wall Street Journal reported on November 14.

The report stated that out of 275 cases reviewed, only 31 had been “properly processed.” Approximately 200 of the cases had “quality issues,” while 28 cases were missing information entirely. SSA spokeswoman LaVenia Lavelle said their agency has increased the quality of oversight over the years and is continuing to do so.

Actuaries earlier commented that the Social Security Disability Insurance trust fund will be depleted by 2016 unless Congress enacts legislation that will allow the government to inject money into the fund.

Some have argued that SSA judges are under pressure to approve cases quickly because they are facing a huge backlog of appeals.

Our attorneys at the Hankey Law Office in Indianapolis are experienced when it comes to legally assisting clients with their disability benefits application. Call our offices today at (800) 520-3633 for more information.

Important things to know about Social Security Disability

Knowing about Social Security disability benefits is important because you never knows when you may need them due to an unexpected illness or disability. Understanding the basics of this insurance program can be a great way to get started.

There are key things you should know about Social Security disability benefits. One is how you can qualify  for such benefits. Essentially, you have to work a minimum length of time to do so; every $1,200 in annual wages earns you one credit, up to a maximum of four credits per calendar year.

People who are 62 years or older need at least 40 credits; 10 of those credits should have been earned within the 10-year period before they became disabled.

Also, it’s important to know that the Social Security Administration excludes short-term and partial disabilities from insurance coverage.

Our attorneys at the Hankey Law Office work with those who have Social Security disability cases in the Indianapolis area. Call a member of our legal team today at (317) 634-8565 to find out how we can help you.

Student debt taken from Social Security benefits

A report from Congress’s research arm, the Government Accountability Office, released on September 10 showed that 155,000 Americans have had their Social Security benefits cut in the fiscal year 2013 due to defaulting on their student loan payments, the Wall Street Journal reported.

GAO reported that 71% of those whose benefits were cut in 2013 had been receiving disability benefits. According to the report, most of the debt was held by Americans who borrowed for their own student loans and not for their children or grandchildren. The report also stated that the older Americans had the highest rates of defaulted loans.

Opposition to this benefit garnishment stated the government should not take money from people who clearly are unable to work.

A person who has worked for a certain length of time and can be categorized as disabled by the Social Security Administration can be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. If you need help filing in Indianapolis, call the attorneys of the Hankey Law Office by dialing (800) 520-3633 today.

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