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 …".

Friday, February 07, 2014

Social Security Disability - 25 New Compassionate Allowance (CAL) Conditions Speed Claim Handling

From the Social Security Administration Press Office 
Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, announced  25 new Compassionate Allowances conditions on January 15, 2014, including a dozen cancers, bringing the total number of conditions to 225.  The Compassionate Allowances program expedites disability decisions for Americans with the most serious disabilities to ensure that they receive their benefit decisions within days instead of months or years. The new conditions also include disorders that affect the digestive, neurological, immune, and multiple body systems.
SSA - New Compassionate Allowance (CAL) Conditions Added 1-15-2014
  1. Angiosarcoma
  2. Atypical Teratoid/Rhabdoid Tumor
  3. Chronic Idiopathic Intestinal Pseudo Obstruction
  4. Coffin- Lowry Syndrome
  5. Esthesioneuroblastoma
  6. Giant Axonal Neuropathy
  7. Hoyeaal-Hreidarsson Syndrome
  8. Intracranial Hemangiopericytoma
  9. Joubert Syndrome
  10. Leptomeningeal Carcinomatosis
  11. Liposarcoma- metastatic or recurrent
  12. Malignant Ectomesenchymoma
  13. Malignant Renal Rhabdoid Tumor
  14. Marshall-Smith Syndrome
  15. Oligodendroglioma Brain Tumor- Grade III
  16. Pallister-Killian Syndrome
  17. Progressive Bulbar Palsy
  18. Prostate Cancer - Hormone Refractory Disease - or with visceral metastases
  19. Revesz Syndrome
  20. Seckel Syndrome
  21. Sjogren-Larsson Syndrome
  22. Small Cell Cancer of the Thymus
  23. Soft Tissue Sarcoma- with distant metastases or recurrent
  24. X-Linked Lymphoproliferative Disease
  25. X-Linked Myotubular Myopathy