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Questions About Benefits and Money
This is one of the most common questions I get asked. Cases go on for years while you, the claimant, slowly run out of money. The government takes its time, and there is no realistic way to make them speed up. Liner Legal has developed a Disability Tool Kit of community resources for our clients that gives them direct access to assistance with getting food stamps (SNAP benefits), Medicaid, county cash assistance, lifeline cell phones, homeless outreach, debt relief, foreclosure assistance, and HEAP and other essential utility assistance. Call today to find out more about our Tool Kit and how we can help you!
For SSD applicants, it all depends on how much you contributed to the system during your working career. The more money you made, the more you will get back in Social Security benefits. However, it’s not a direct relationship between how much you gave in FICA taxes. For SSI, the amount is static for all applicants—$733 per month in 2016.
SSD depends on how much you contributed, not how much you need to live on. SSI is based on how much the government thinks you need to live on to be at the poverty level but no higher. So unfortunately the answer is no.
Yes and no. It is not uncommon for someone to have had a heart attack, be out of work four or five months, try to go back to work, work a few weeks, and then be unable to do it. That would be considered by most judges to be a “unsuccessful work attempt,” and would not preclude you from getting paid your social security benefits even for that period of time that you were working. Other people will try to work part time while applying for disability benefits. If it is part time and sporadic, most judges will agree that that’s unsuccessful. However, if you’ve still managed to work in spite of significant health problems and you are working 25 or 30 hours per week, then very few ALJs will award benefits no matter how sick you are. Those who struggle to work generally will have a harder time winning than those who simply stop early on.
If you are applying for disability in Ohio and curious about trying to work, we recommend contacting the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation (BVR), a division of Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD). BVR is a program that provides individuals with disabilities the services and support necessary to help them attain and maintain employment in Ohio. Disabilities may include either physical, intellectual, mental health, or sensory disabilities. Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) services are customized for each individual through assessments and one-on-one meetings with professional VR counselors. VR services are available across the State and include:
- Evaluation and treatment of an individual’s disability
- Information and referral services;
- Vocational counseling and training;
- Job search and job placement assistance;
- Educational guidance (tuition resources and other support);
- Transportation services;
- Occupational tools and equipment; and
- Personal attendant services (reader, interpreter, etc.).
If you applying for disability and interested in a possible return to work, contact Liner Legal so we can give you the number to the BVR office closest to you.
For 2016, it is presumed that somebody working and earning under $1,090 per month is not working. But be careful – just because you are earning less than that, it doesn’t mean you are safe from SSA saying you are working and not disabled. They might rule that you are being underpaid (intentionally or unintentionally), so the amount is not as important. So you can use that amount as a rough guide, but the only safe way to be considered “not working” is not to work at all.