Social Security recipients to receive $4 monthly benefit increase

Next year will be the fifth time in a row that Social Security disability benefits receive only marginal increases.

This year did not experience any increase at all. The hike next year will be small because inflation is low this year. On Tuesday, October 18, the federal government informed the public of the cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA. The adjustment affects more than 70 million individuals or around one in five Americans. Unfortunately, the announced COLA will translate into an equivalent of less than $4 of increase to monthly Social Security benefits, which average $1,238.

However, Medicare Part B premiums, which usually come straight from Social Security payments, are set to rise next year and will likely wipe out the entire COLA increase. Under the law, the dollar increase in Medicare’s part B premium cannot be higher than a beneficiary’s cost-of-living raise.

Our Social Security disability lawyers at the Hankey Law Office provide legal services for our clients in Indianapolis and other areas in Indiana, and we help clients file for or appeal claims for federal disability benefits. Seek our legal assistance by calling our offices at (800) 520-3633 today.


What the Average American Receives in Monthly Social Security Benefits

Monthly payouts of Social Security benefits vary by recipient type, so here’s a breakdown of the average amount of Social Security benefits each recipient receives per month and how to estimate what you might receive.

About 72% of Social Security benefit recipients are collecting retirement benefits, either because of their own work record or the work record of their spouse or parent. 43.8 million retired workers are receiving $1,349.59 monthly; 2.4 million spouses of retired workers are receiving $700.82 monthly; and 600,000 children of retired workers are receiving $652 monthly.

About 10% of Social Security beneficiaries are receiving survivor benefits. That is, they are receiving benefits on behalf of a deceased relative or guardian. They are composed of 1.9 million children of deceased workers receiving $832.78 monthly; 100,000 widowed parents of dependent children receiving $942.62 monthly; 300,000 disabled widowers receiving $716.95 monthly; and 3.8 million non-disabled widowers receiving $1,293.24 monthly.

Last but not the least, 18% of Social Security recipients obtain disability benefits, and they are composed of 10.7 million disabled workers who receive $1,166.41 monthly; 100,000 spouses of disabled workers who receive $322.56 monthly; and 1.7 million children of disabled workers who receive $351.29 monthly.

If your Social Security disability claim has been rejected, seek out the legal assistance of an Indianapolis disability attorney at the Hankey Law Office by calling our offices today at (800) 520-3633.


Tim Kaine’s plan to raise funds for Social Security benefits

United States Democratic vice-presidential candidate Tim Kaine gave a specific answer as to what former Senator Hillary Clinton would do to solve the shortfalls of the Social Security benefit fund if she become president. The plan is to remove the cap on how much of a worker’s income can be subjected to payroll tax, which helps to fund Social Security.

Former Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders had the same idea. He proposed removing the $118,500 cap on individuals earning wages greater than $250,000 a year. Other options to solve the shortfall problem include legislating a lower benefit payment every month. Unfortunately, this move could lead to political suicide because so many voters belong to the elderly group that receive said benefits.

If you are injured in an accident and find yourself unable to work to earn wages for your living expenses, you can ask financial assistance from the Social Security Administration by filing for disability benefits. Do so with the legal help of our attorneys at the Hankey Law Office in Indianapolis by calling our offices today at (800) 520-3633.


Advice for couples claiming Social Security benefits

Albuquerque, New Mexico-based REDW Stanley Financial Advisors senior financial planner David Cechanowicz said that a person who is receiving monthly Social Security disability benefits has good news for their spouse – the partner can claim spousal benefits as soon as they reach 62 years of age.

Spousal benefits are limited to 50% of a person’s primary insurance amount (PIA) – or the benefit (before rounding down to next lower whole dollar) a person would receive if they decide to begin receiving retirement benefits at their normal retirement age.

Cechanowicz tells prospective benefit recipients, “If you were to wait until age 70, your retirement benefit should be at least $2,904 per month, without cost-of-living increases. All spousal benefits and benefits for all auxiliary beneficiaries are lost during periods of suspension,” meaning families have to decide whether they want current household income or ultimate survivor benefits.

Our attorneys at the Hankey Law Office will be with you every step of the way of the initial filing process if you wish to receive monthly Social Security disability benefits. Contact us by calling our Indianapolis offices today at (317) 634-8565 to seek our legal assistance.


Tips for Applying for SSDI Benefits

Almost 1.4 million individuals applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits between January and July of 2016. These are complicated, time consuming applications, and many people are denied coverage. However, there are some things you can do to improve your chances of having an SSDI application approved by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

First and foremost, SSDI applicants need to understand which benefits they are eligible for in the first place. You are almost certain to have an application for SSDI beneifts for which you do not qualify denied outright.

Understand that the process of securing these kinds of benefits is lengthy and time-consuming. The SSA is incredibly strict about who it awards benefits to and works hard to make sure it isn’t giving benefits to people who do not truly need them.

Lastly, it is essential to file a claim with the help of a legal representative. Having help from someone who is well-versed in the application process can reduce your chances of having your application denied.

At the Hankey Law Office, we are aware that the filing for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits can be a complex and time-consuming process, which usually presents the claimant numerous complications along the way. Therefore, it is important for a claimant to undergo this process with the help of an esteemed disability attorney by their side. Call our Indianapolis offices today at (800) 520-3633.


Children with cancer can be given Social Security disability benefits

The Social Security Administration, through its Supplemental Security Income programs, can provide federal assistance to children who are suffering from various ailments, including dreaded cancer.

To apply for this type of assistance, view the Child Disability Starter Kit and familiarize yourself with what the program is all about.

Find and fill out the online Child Disability Report. At the end of the report, you will need to sign a waiver that asks for your permission to allow the child’s doctor to divulge information about your child’s illness to the agency. This information is vital to how the judges will decide your child’s case.

Aside from protecting your child’s welfare, the SSA takes seriously its obligation to applicants who are in an advanced state of illness or those who are suffering from severe stages of disability. Via the Compassionate Allowances program, the SSA expedites the cases of applicants who qualify under the listing of impairments that are considered serious.

Filing for Social Security disability benefits or appealing a rejected claim can be a difficult and time-consuming process. If you are someone who is recuperating from a debilitating illness and who needs financial assistance, ask help from the federal government with the legal help of our attorneys at The Hankey Law Office in Indianapolis by calling our offices today at (317) 634-8565 or (800) 520-3633.


How Social Security benefits American children

Two studies, one written by the Center for Economic and Policy Research more than 10 years ago, and the other published by the progressive Center for Global Policy Solutions this July, have one thing in common. Both reveal that, except in the very poorest households, among low-income families, there are more children in households who benefit from a Social Security check monthly than a check from anti-poverty programs. Included in this number are those who receive Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) or Supplemental Security Income benefits.

According to the paper written by economist Heather Marie Boushey in 2003, 8.6% of children in households earning less than 200% of the federal poverty line were living with someone receiving TANF. 11.9% of children were living with someone receiving Social Security. Meanwhile, the 2016 study showed that 6.4 million children, or 8.7% of all children in the United States, benefited from Social Security in 2014. That marks an increase from 5.4 million (7.3%) in 2003.

The process of filing for and appealing Social Security disability benefits is often complicated and a tedious task for someone who is recovering from a serious long-term injury or illness. If you are struggling with your Social Security disability benefits, you can turn to the attorneys at the Hankey Law Office in Indianapolis for help by calling our offices today at (317) 634-8565 or (800) 520-3633.


Republican lawmakers want to reduce budget for Social Security

Republicans in Congress are pushing an appropriations bill that Social Security Administration (SSA) officials say will lead to budget deficits for the agency.

In an article for The Washington Post, the agency said, “There would be up to two weeks of furloughs for all employees. Additionally, a full hiring freeze would cause service degradation and long wait times and delays.” Since 2010, the SSA’s operating budget has decreased by 10%, but the total number of recipients increased by 12%. Center for Global Policy Solutions president and CEO Maya Rockeymoore said the agency should be given importance. In her words, “Social Security has been the most successful anti-poverty program in U.S. history, helping men and women, children, adults, and seniors from all walks of life.”

Applying for Social Security disability benefits can be a difficult task, especially for someone recuperating from a debilitating disability. Get in touch with our Indiana Social Security disability lawyers at the Hankey Law Office by calling today at (317) 634-8565 or (800) 520-3633 to discuss your case with us.


7th Circuit tells ALJ to reconsider disability case

15 years after initially filing for Social Security disability benefits based on degenerative disk disease, obesity, depression, and other ailments, 47-year-old Louquetta O’Connor-Spinner is still fighting the rejection of the Social Security Administration.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the SSA on Tuesday, August 9 to take a look at her case again. The appeals court already did so in 2010 after the SSA denied her disability benefits request in 2004. However, O’Connor-Spinner’s case was reassigned to a new administrative law judge (ALJ) who said her depression has never been a severe impairment. In his decision, Circuit Judge Daniel Manion declared, “Had the new ALJ followed our narrow instructions to address the shortcomings in his predecessor’s decision, this appeal would be simple (if necessary at all). But instead the ALJ reevaluated O’Connor-Spinner’s condition himself, and despite new evidence that strengthens the earlier finding that she suffers from severe depression, found the opposite.”

If you need legal help filing for Social Security disability benefits or appealing rejected Social Security disability benefit claims, get in touch with our Social Security disability attorneys at the Hankey Law Office in Indianapolis. Call our offices today at (317) 634-8565 to discuss your case.


Social Security seeks $300M IT upgrade

The United States Social Security Administration is planning to use $300 million to upgrade its Information Technology systems. However, many legislators are worried that the federal agency will spend recklessly without actually achieving results.

Among its planned upgrades is the goal to move its storage to the Amazon Web Services cloud and incorporate more agile software development practices. When asked why they want to make this change, National Council of Social Security Management Associations president Rick Warsinskey said the SSA’s current infrastructure runs on common business-oriented language (COBOL) programming. Unfortunately, it has upload speeds of .25 megabits per second (Mbps), which is 20 times slower than the speed at which home internet services run. The system is tasked with churning out Social Security numbers and finalizing unemployment and retirement payments.

Talk to one of our attorneys at The Hankey Law Office in Indianapolis before filing for Social Security disability benefits to get advice on how to proceed with your claim. Call our offices today at (317) 634-8565 or (800) 520-3633 to discuss your situation.


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