Monday, January 15, 2018

Social Security Disability-Getting Started

Sound recommendations for getting started with a Social Security disability claim (and useful resources) from The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Applying for social security disability benefits? Most applications are initially denied. Advocates and lawyers weigh in with tips that may help your case end up in the "yes" pile.”

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Courage on the Killing Field

Lord please make me like the people who found themselves in the gunsights of the Las Vegas killer and despised the role of victim, who instead became first responders by moving their confused and wounded neighbors off the killing field.

The Chicago Tribune said of Sunday's Las Vegas massacre, "Surveying the scene, we were struck less by the detritus of a massacre site — water bottles, backpacks, drink cups — than by small scenes of people pushing back against an onslaught. The strangers shielding one another from shrapnel, the locals guiding refugees in shorts and blue jeans to escape routes, the man gamely transporting a wounded victim by wheelbarrow. … All remarkable, all to be honored. If there’s meaning in what happened Sunday night, it’s in the selfless acts of music fans and first responders."

The death that Satan wishes to inflict on everyone is far more horrible than slaughter by automatic rifle fire. The rescue that Christ delivers is more stunning and complete than even the wonderful rescues in Las Vegas.

It is a blessing to receive another day to live and breathe and walk this earth. It is more a blessing to receive eternal life from Jesus Christ.

Lord may I today and always be living my life like Christ, keeping His message of salvation ready at hand.

Proverbs 24:11

October 5, 2017

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Sun or Candle?

"Man is taken up with the candle of creature comforts. Let him once see the sun of righteousness, the all sufficient and eternal God, the excellence of His glorious being, and that which was glorious before has no more glory in comparison to the sight of God." George Swinnock, 1627-1673

Monday, March 21, 2016

Curious How to Reenter the Workforce After SSDI?

If you are wondering how to reenter the workforce after a stint on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, may I make some suggestions based on my observations and research? 

The first thing you want to do is stir up your own thinking – and reenergize your motivation to return to work. The next thing is contacting your state or local vocational rehabilitation (VR) agency. And remember, a good attitude is the most important tool you can use to interest them in providing maximum help. 

VR providers have testified (in hearings) that the motivation of clients is key to successful vocational rehabilitation. Enthusiasm in a potential client motivates vocational counselors to invest their time and limited agency funds in people who are determined to get back in the workforce. 

Unhappily, a long period of dependency on SSDI can reduce a person’s motivation. Long periods of unemployment can rob a person’s confidence that they can work, and weaken skills that formerly bolstered their confidence. The person may be struggling with poor morale. 

The individual who seeks VR services can prevail over this real obstacle by remembering, researching, and resolving

Remembering: Think about the activities you have enjoyed formerly. Describe them in writing. This exercise helps you recall skills, talents, and interests that can apply to other jobs.  

Researching: Check the Internet website O*Net ( to learn the kinds of jobs that may be available in the economy. Some jobs may spark your interest and involve skills you have or can potentially develop through education or VR – this can become a powerful talking point when discussing options with a VR counselor!  

Resolving:  Put what you have remembered and research into action. Contact your state or local rehabilitation agency and express your desire to pursue these kinds of jobs, knowledgeable of the kinds of education and training that will equip you to open other employment doors. (For contact information on state VR agencies go to:

Of course, many people are concerned about losing SSDI benefits before assured that they can work steadily. Your VR agency can advise about legal protections for SSDI benefits while you become equipped to work or can refer you to another qualified source.

In short, a person with disabilities who wants and needs to work can make a better case for   gaining necessary vocational rehabilitation assistance by remembering former enjoyable activities and researching the jobs in this economy. An informed and well-prepared presentation to a vocational counselor helps the counselor make a better connection between the client and employment opportunities.      

I  welcome your experiences and suggestions.  

Monday, November 10, 2014

2015 Annual Adjustments Affecting SSDI Benefits - Compared with 2014

Cost of Living Increase. There is a 1.7% cost of living increase for benefits payable in 2015. There was a 1.5% cost of living increase in 2014. This increase applies both to Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, and Retirement benefits. 

Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). Earning While Disabled. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries in 2014 will be able to work and earn up to $1,090 a month without forfeiting their monthly checks. Effective January 1, 2015, if earnings exceed this amount the Social Security Administration (SSA) will consider the earnings to show "substantial gainful activity" or "SGA". (A higher SGA amount - $1,820 a month - applies to blind individuals.)

In 2014 the SGA amount is $1,070 a month ($1,800 for blind individuals). SSA Fact Sheet: 2014 Social Security Changes,

Why is this important? If a beneficiary earns more than the SGA amount for a sustained period, this could trigger a continuing disability review and could cause SSA to stop benefits. Or if one is applying for SSDI benefits and earning at the SGA level, this could lead SSA to deny the claim. References:
How Work Affects Your Benefits,

Trial Work Month. A "trial work month" in 2014 will be any month in which earnings exceed $780. The 2014 amount is $770. SSA says:

“The trial work period allows you to test your ability to work for at least nine months. During your trial work period, you will receive your full Social Security benefits regardless of how much you are earning as long as you report your work activity and you continue to have a disabling impairment.”

A trial work period may be several stints of occasional work that add up to a total of nine months over a five year period, or may be a continuous nine months in a five year period.

See also Working While Disabled

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Profiles in Courage?

Why do federal politicians enact a clumsy new health "system" that adds heavy taxes on all Americans, but refuse to reform the finances of Social Security where American workers largely fund their own retirement and disability benefits? Tom Margenau, a former Social Security staffer explains in, "Politicians Punt Again …".