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Can you get social security benefits back after they are withheld?

The full retirement age right now is 66, but you can receive benefits as early as 62. By receiving early retirement, you are withholding some of you monthly payment. You could be getting a third more if you wait until full retirement age. Essentially, you will be getting a 50 percent penalty on your monthly benefits if you want to receive them before the age of 66. If you do wait until full retirement age, you will be allowed to earn up to $41,880 before your income starts affecting your SS benefits.

Can you get social security benefits back after they are withheld?

For most people, Social Security Disability benefits cannot be taxed. This is especially true for both those who also make additional income as well as those who just depend on SSD benefits. If your spouse has another source of income, then it is likely that your SSD benefits can be taxed. You will have to pay taxes on roughly half of your benefits if you make more than $25,000, but no more than $34,000. You could tax up to 85 percent of your income if you make more than $34,000 and you are single.

If your income exceeds the Social Security limit, your disability benefits may be taxed. Generally, an individual will pay roughly 10 to 15 percent on taxes and those with a higher income will pay about 33 to 35 percent on 85 percent of their taxes. You will find that most states don’t tax disability benefits, but there are some that will tax them. If you end up receiving a lump-sum for backpay, then you might need to tax this amount during the same year you received it which can increase your tax rate.

Your working income could make your Social Security Disability benefits taxable. For those who file taxes early, Social Security uses a combination of the income you make to figure out your monthly payment.

The combined income is figured by adding these sources together:
● Adjusted gross income
● Interest that isn’t taxable
● 50 percent of SS benefits

If this a current situation you are dealing with, you should reach out to a Social Security Disability lawyer. They will be able to answer any questions as well as help with anything during the application process.

Will moving to another state affect my Social Security benefits?

If you have to move out of the state that you are in, you don’t have to re-apply for Social Security disability benefits. The disability program is a federal government program so your approval will drag over to where ever you move. It is critical to notify Social Security of you move and change of address though. Here are some reasons why you should notify them:

Moving another state will affect my Social Security benefits

  • If you are receiving your checks through the mail, SS will need the new address to send that to avoid resending and delaying your payment.
  • If you are getting Supplemental Security Income, your move is critical to your payments because it could have different rules depending on the state you’re moving to.
  • Keeping SS up to date on your information

Your SS and SSI will not be affecting by your move and you will not have to go through the whole application again. You should check if the state you’re moving to has any special rules regarding SSI benefits. Your SSI benefit could increase or decrease depending on where you more. Here are some factors you need to consider if you are going to more:

  • Unfortunately, there are some states that do not pay SSI benefits: West Virginia, Tennessee, North Dakota, Mississippi, Arizona and Arkansas.
  • Though this is a federal government program, some states administer their own supplements: Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Maine, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Alaska, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Texas, Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Virginia, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Washington.
  • These states have the SSA direct the SSI program for them: California, Hawaii, Montana, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Iowa, Washington D.C., Massachusetts, New Jersey, Utah, Michigan, New York, and Vermont.

It is important to know that some states requirements may be different than others regarding the SSI program. Because of this, you may have to reapply for supplemental benefits, but your benefits will not be affected during this process, but the amount might change. You will have to apply again, if you are moving to a state that administers their own program.

Be aware of all of these factors before making a move to another state if you are getting benefits from either program because your monthly income might change. It is critical to notify Social Security of your new address change as well as if you are moving in with someone that could help your finances. If you are moving in with someone, this can affect the amount you receive for SSI or even your eligibility.

Things You Need to Know About Working While Receiving Disability Benefits

Once you win your appeal for disability benefits, there are certain things that you need to know about collecting these benefits. You may want to return to work part-time and wonder how this will affect your Social Security Disability benefits earnings. It is possible that you can still collect benefits while working. You will need to meet certain requirements in order to keep collecting these benefits.

Need to Know About Working While Receiving Disability Benefits

Keep these things in mind about receiving Social Security Disability benefits:

  • There is a cap on what you can earn and still receive benefits.
    For 2018, you cannot earn more than $1,180 per month or $1,970 if you are considered blind. If you earn above these amounts, you cannot keep collecting benefits. This is a substantial amount of earning and will negate your claim. If you’re earning this much, your disability will not be deemed severe enough to keep you from working.
  • There are different rules if you are self-employed.
    It can be difficult to gauge how much you’re working if you are self-employed. Your earnings will not always reflect how much work you’re doing if you own your own business or work for yourself. You may be putting in more hours than you’re actually receiving pay for. This makes it tricky to evaluate. Because of that, people who are self-employed will be evaluated on an individual basis. There are complicated rules when it comes to self-employment.
  • You will be evaluated on a yearly basis.
    Your earnings and benefits are recalculated each year after your tax returns are received. Even though this is the case, you need to keep in mind that it can take a long time for the Social Security Administration to actually receive your tax returns. They can be two years behind and can take this long for your benefits to be adjusted. If you suspect that your benefit amount should be adjusted, it’s best to contact the SSA yourself in order to avoid overpayment and issues later. It’s best to be upfront about your earnings because the SSA will find out eventually.

Once you win your claim or appeal for disability benefits, there are still things to consider as you collect this money. Make sure to keep the SSA informed about earnings changes as well as changes to your condition. Contact us with any questions.

Know What to Do When Social Security Beneficiary Dies

If you have a relative who is collecting Social Security Benefits, it’s important to know what to do when that person dies. It’s a painful time, but it’s important to know specifics when it comes to these benefits. This can be a concern for many people, so you need to know what to do when this eventually happens.

What to Do When Social Security Beneficiary Dies

What to do when a Social Security Beneficiary dies:

  • You need to let the Social Security Administration know.
    When a person dies, it’s important to let the Social Security Administration know as soon as possible. In most cases, the funeral director will do this, but you do need to give this person the deceased’s Social Security number in order to report it.

    You can contact the SSA through the website or through the automated phone service at 1-800-772-1213 or 1-800-325-0778, if you’re deaf or hard of hearing. If you need to speak to someone, you can do so between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.

  • It’s possible that you may still be able to receive benefits.
    If the deceased worked long enough, you may still receive benefits. Contact the SSA to verify what benefits you are still eligible for.

    You may be able to receive a one-time payment of $255 as a surviving spouse who was living with the deceased. If living apart, you may still be eligible for this benefit. If there is no surviving spouse, a child who is eligible for benefits may be able to get this payment.

    Certain family members may be eligible for monthly benefits. These include a widow or widower 60 or older, a disabled widow or widower 50 or older, a widow or widower caring for the deceased’s child under 16 or disabled, an unmarried child under 18 or disabled, other children under certain circumstances, parents 62 or older that depended on the deceased for at least half of their support, or a surviving divorced spouse in certain circumstances.

  • You may have to return payment.
    If the deceased was receiving Social Security Benefits, you need to return the money received for the month of death and any later months. Eligible family members may be able to receive death benefits for the month that the beneficiary died.

Make sure to keep the tips above in mind when it comes to the Social Security Benefits of a family member. Contact us with any questions.

5 Ways to Increase Social Security Benefits

Learning how social security works is essential to retirement planning. Social security is oftentimes the sole fixed income once someone stops working, so learning social security laws is important. Here are five ways to increasing social security benefits so that you and your loved ones can live comfortably in retirement.

5 Ways to Increase Social Security Benefits

Claim Benefits Late

Normal retirement age is 67 if you were born in 1960 or later. However, if you can delay retirement to age 70, Social Security will pay an extra 8 percent for every year that you delay your claim until you reach 70 years old.

Two-Claim Household

You and your spouse can try the two-claim strategy if both of you are working. This strategy depends on your age, so make sure to seek legal advice to see if you qualify. The two-claim approach is where one spouse claims spousal benefits at full retirement age while continuing to work and getting additional retirement credits. The other spouse becomes retired so that the working spouse files a “restricted application” for the spousal benefits while working. The working spouse ends up receiving spousal benefits that are equal to one-half of the retired spouse’s full benefits.

Divorced or Widowed

If you’re divorced, you can claim spousal or survivor benefits of your ex-spouse’s earnings if you were married for a minimum of 10 years and you’re not currently married. However, if you remarry after the age of 60, then you will be able to claim survivor benefits. If you’re widowed, you can also receive survivor benefits (if this is the case, try to wait until you reach normal retirement age first).

2018 Benefits Increase

With the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), there will be an increase in social security benefits as well. Since cost of living increases when prices rise for the everyday goods and services we use, social security benefits increase to offset these new living costs. 2018 will see a 2 percent increase in social security benefits.

Work for the Maximum Amount

To get the maximum benefits possible and you’re in the workforce, work for at least 35 years while paying into the social security tax. Couple this with the other strategies such as delaying benefits until age 70 and strategizing benefits with your spouse can create an overall best plan for you.

Navigating social security benefits and associated laws can be confusing, so contact us today so we can help you receive the maximum benefits you are owed.

Can You Receive SSD Benefits For Uncontrollable Diabetes?

Though diabetes is a common condition that is generally regulated with medication, there are some diabetes that have trouble managing the symptoms. When it’s hard to control the symptoms, this can lead to serious health issues. Health issues that may arise are kidney disease, neuropathy, or vision loss. Side effects that are as serious as these can lead to unemployment and other difficulties in daily life.

Disability Benefits for Uncontrolled Diabetes

Here are the three kinds of Diabetes:

  • Type 1: “juvenile” Diabetes
  • Type 2: “adult onset” Diabetes
  • Gestational Diabetes

If you have elevated blood glucose levels, then you most likely have pre-diabetes and you are at a high risk of developing diabetes so your doctor will likely have you on medication.

What are the symptoms?

Diabetes generally shows numerous symptoms such as:

  • Extremely parched as well as the need to constantly urinate.
  • Always hungry, mainly between your meals
  • Drowsiness
  • Weight loss
  • Irritability

It is a common complaint that those who suffer from diabetes have dry and itchy skin and also tend to have fungal infections. You can also get some numbness in your feet as well as blurred vision. Those with diabetes tend to have skin that is slow to heal wounds or sores.

There are three blood tests that can determine if someone has diabetes. The three blood tests are:

  • A plasma glucose test where you have to fast for 8 hours
  • Oral glucose tolerance test that also requires an 8 hour fasting and ends with a glucose-containing drink where you have to wait at the doctor 2 hours after consumption
  • A plasma glucose test that is random, but can measure blood glucose without having to fast

How to File For SSD Benefits

You can find diabetes listed in SSA’s impairment handbook, the Blue Book, where it will list the condition and the benefits you can receive for that condition. There isn’t a distinction between Type 1 and Type 2 in the book and there is also nothing in the book of any severe health problems that are caused by diabetes. You can find the health problems listed separately in the Blue Book where you can find more information. This is setup like this because SSA wants the qualification measure to focus on the health issues and what is keeping the claimant from performing daily activities at work.

Proving that you have health issues due to diabetes can sometimes be hard to do, so working closely with a doctor during this time is a good idea. Make sure your doctor is taking notes about your condition and you are also keeping all of your medical documents organized. You should also consider working with a disability attorney so they can help you file your diabetes case so you will have the highest chance at being approved.

How do Social Security Disability Attorneys Get Paid?

Going through the process of applying for Social Security disability can be difficult and frustrating. The truth is that a majority of people — at least two-thirds — don’t even get approved for benefits during their initial application. To help with their chances and tips the odds slightly in their favor, many people hire legal representation in the form of a Social Security disability attorney.

Social Security Disability Attorneys Get Paid

Social Security disability attorneys are experts when it comes to navigating the ins and outs of the SSA. They know what information is important and relevant to a case, and they know how to build a strong claim that can help applicants win the benefits they need. While this can greatly improve your chances, it can add another level of worry when you start to think about money and how to afford it. The good news? Hiring a disability attorney really doesn’t cost much at all.

How Social Security Disability Attorneys Get Paid

When people think of attorneys and legal fees, they usually picture lawyers issuing bills for hundreds of dollars every hour, eventually racking up bills in the range of tens of thousands of dollars. While this might be the case when it comes to things such as personal injury claims or other civil suits, the actual truth is much different when it comes to Social Security disability attorneys. Not only is it very different, but it’s set up to directly benefit those who are disabled and trying to make ends meet with the help of government assistance. To understand the difference, there are a few things to know.

1) Are all Lawyers Paid?
The first thing you should know is that disability attorneys get paid on contingency. This means that they only get paid if you actually win your case and get awarded benefits. So, in that sense alone it costs you nothing to consult with an attorney. If you don’t win your case, then you will never be expected to pay a cent, no matter how much time your attorney actually spent on your case. Even more, because you only pay when you start receiving benefits, you’re never actually losing money when it’s time to pay your attorney fees.

2) Where Does the Money Come From?
The second thing to know is that your legal fees are never actually paid out of your own pocket. If you win your case, your fees are paid strictly from your benefits. If you’re worried about losing some of your monthly benefits for these fees, though, it gets even better:

Social Security disability attorneys are never paid directly from the “normal” monthly benefit payment. Instead, it comes out of what is known as back pay. What is back pay? It’s extra money you receive after being awarded benefits — money that is designed to cover the time between being awarded benefits and your first payment actually arriving. How much back pay you can expect to receive varies, but typically there’s about a two to three month period before that first check arrives.

3) How Much Can You Expect to Pay?
The final important thing to know is that, unlike most legal situations, attorney fees for disability cases are set by the government. There is no worry about negotiating, overbilling or price gouging. This fee is predetermined, and you never have to worry about an attorney trying to take advantage of you. Because of this, you can know right away how much your attorney will be paid.

How much? Once your monthly payment amount is determined, then it’s a simple calculation job. You can expect to pay your attorney a set amount of 25% of your total back pay, or $6,000 – whichever is lowest. As an example — if you were awarded $1,500 a month, and your back pay totals three months, you can expect a back pay payment of $4,500. 25% of that amount is $1,125.

In Conclusion
When put together, this means, even if you awarded the maximum monthly amount, and that is accompanied by a larger than average wait time that must be covered with back pay, the maximum amount you can expect to have to pay your attorney is $6,000, and it doesn’t even come out of your own pocket or the monthly payments you will be receiving from the SSA.

If you are going through the process of filing for disability, it’s time to consider hiring a Social Security disability attorney. If you have considered it in the past, but haven’t yet because you were afraid you couldn’t afford it, then hopefully you understand now why you can. Please take the time to contact us and set up a consultation. Remember: it’s free to you, and we collect nothing unless you win.

What To Do When Your Doctor Doesn’t Support Your Disability Claim

Applying for and receiving Social Security Disability (SSDI) is a long and frustrating process, and to be approved it takes a fair amount of patience and information. In all of this, though, there is nothing more important for your case than the cooperation of your primary health care provider. Considering that your case will pretty much hinge on the information and opinion submitted by your doctor, it can be an almost impossible task to get SSDI benefits if your doctor is not on board.

Disability Claim

So, what should you do in this case? Well, there are many reasons why your doctor might disagree with your getting disability, and the reason for this denial will affect how you try to change his or her mind.

  • Unclear about the process. It’s possible your doctor is hesitant simply because he or she doesn’t understand the process and his or her role in it. Often, doctors assume that this will involve them in lengthy court hearings and drown them in paperwork. In this case, you can often smooth out any objections by clearly stating that their role is very simple — usually no more than filling out an easy form — and they will not be expected to appear in court. Ever.
  • Disagreement with the Disability Program. Some doctors disagree with the idea behind the disability program, thinking it’s an “entitlement” and not something deserved. While you can’t always change people’s political opinions, explaining to your doctor that this is not an entitlement program because you have been paying into the system can sometimes help them to realize what SSDI truly is.
  • Disagreement About Your Disability. If your doctor doesn’t want to sign off on your disability because he or she doesn’t believe you are actually disabled, then that can be a bit of a problem. Obviously, the first goal here is to convince your doctor. Maybe they aren’t aware of the extent of your problem. Or maybe they think you are talking about something else and don’t know about some other condition you are suffering. In these cases, it’s important to make sure they completely understand your physical or mental condition. If they do, and still don’t think you qualify, then it might be time to find a different doctor.

This can be tricky, though, so be careful: if the SSA knows you have been seeing numerous physicians, this can be a very serious drawback to your case, because the SSA will most likely assume you were just doctor shopping until you found someone who would agree with you.

As always, seeking legal help is a good idea. If you would like to know more about what to do in this situation, or if you have questions about the process in general, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.

Social Security Disability for Non-Citizens

When you think of disability programs such as Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you might assume that they are only available for US citizens. However, it is actually possible for non-citizens to be eligible for one or both of these programs. In addition to the normal requirements needed for any disability benefits, though, there are several other necessary items needed in order for non-citizens to meet the Social Security disability requirements.

Social Security Disability for Non-Citizens


In order to qualify for SSDI benefits, a non-citizen individual needs to be able to prove the following:

  • First, just like any disability case, there needs to be proof of an actual disability. The requirements to prove a disability, whether it’s physical or mental, are the same for citizens and non-citizens alike.
  • Second, there also needs to be proof that the person in question is in the US legally and able to work. This can be done by providing a work history as well as showing a B-1, D-1 or D-2 visa or a Social Security number issued after January 1, 2004.
  • Third, the individual needs to be able to show that he or she was actually in the US for the month(s) when a payment is expected. This is so a person isn’t collecting benefits while living overseas in his or her home country.
  • Finally, the person must have paid into the system enough to be eligible for SSDI payments, just like any other worker.


Just like SSDI benefits, non-citizens can also qualify for SSI payments, as well. To be eligible, the following criteria must be met:

  • First, the individual must be able to show that they are in the US legally as a “qualified alien.” In this case, there are eight different categories of “qualified alien” that are acceptable. They include things such as being in the US as a refugee or here on asylum.
  • Second, the individual must meet one of the predetermined qualifications for SSI payments. This means not only be being able to prove that the he or she suffers from a disability, but also that they are suffering from extreme financial hardship.

So, while a non-citizen can meet the Social Security disability requirements, it can be difficult. Disability can be a hard enough case for someone to win as it is without the added burden of proving legal status. If you need more help in dealing with a case like this, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.

Getting Social Security Benefits When You Have Been Convicted of a Criminal Offense

Social Security benefits are normally available to any citizen of the United States who has paid into the system through deductions in their paychecks. But, what about people who have committed a crime? Are they still eligible, or have they forfeited their rights to these benefits? If you or someone you know has been convicted of a crime, keep reading to learn some more information about how that affects your Social Security payments.

Social Security Benefits in Criminal Case

Which Benefits Can You Receive?

Those who have been incarcerated may still be eligible for the following benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA):

  • Retirement
  • Survivors
  • Disability

Who Can Collect Benefits?

Even if you have been incarcerated because you committed a crime, you may still be eligible for benefits if you fit into one of the following categories:

  • 65 years of age or older
  • Blind
  • Disabled and have limited income or resources.

You are not eligible to receive benefits at any time during a period of incarceration. Further, you are not eligible if there is an active warrant out for your arrest for a felony that is punishable by imprisonment or death. You also may not be eligible for benefits if your verdict of “not guilty” was due to mental illness or it was determined that you were not competent enough to stand trial. If your incarceration lasts less than one month, you will not be eligible for benefits during that particular month.

Parole Violations
If you violate any parole or probation conditions after you have been released from prison, you will not be able to receive your Social Security benefits for the month in which the violation occurred.

Eligibility for Felons
In most cases, even if you were convicted of a felony, it will not affect your ability to collect Social Security benefits. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. You may not collect benefits if you fall into one of these categories:

  • Your disability was the result of, or was made worse, while committing a felony
  • Your disability occurred, or was made worse, while you were in prison on a felony conviction
  • You made yourself a widow or orphan by killing your spouse or parent (survivor’s benefits only).

Fleeing Felons
Convicts who have escaped from their confinement are not eligible for Social Security benefits. This condition includes people who have a warrant out for:

  • Fleeing to avoid prosecution or incarceration
  • Escape from custody
  • Flight-escape.

If you have any questions about collecting Social Security benefits with a criminal offense, contact the Clauson Law Firm today. We can help you.