Social Security in Five Years

Social Security is one of the most important programs in this country. Since its inception, it has existed to provide retirees with a livable income and to provide financial assistance through disability benefits for those who can no longer work due to severe illness or injury. Recent statistics indicate that currently more than 60 million people receive Social Security benefits. Most retirees who collect Social Security benefits earn approximately $16,500 per year, which is a substantial amount of income. It can be hard to determine what the future of Social Security will look like. But, experts believe that the information below is a good indication of where it will be in the next five years.

Social Security in Five Years

Is Social Security in Trouble?

For many years, there has been a fear that Social Security is running out of money to dole out to retirees. The reason why there is less money than before is that the Baby Boomer generation is continuing to age and collect their benefits. Also, the more affluent retirees are living longer and their share of Social Security is larger than their lower-income counterparts. At the same time, there are fewer employees available to pay into the system to keep up with the money that is going out in monthly payments. Trustees project that the $2.85 trillion dollars in Social Security’s Trust may be exhausted by 2034, leading to severe cuts in Social Security payments for future retirees.

Upcoming Trends for the Next Five Years

The year 2034 is still a long way away, here are some projections that are possible within the next five years.

A surge in the number of eligible retired workers

There is no doubt that the number of eligible Social Security recipients is on the rise. By the year 2022, there can be as many as 50 million eligible retired workers who are claiming benefits.

Higher Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs)

During the span between 2010 and 2016, there were three years when Social Security gave no COLAs. In 2017, the COLA was a meager .3%. However, in the coming years, you can expect to see a rise in annual COLAs in Social Security payments thanks to a marked rise in the economy.

No real benefit growth

Even though there will be steady COLAs over the next few years, there will be no actual growth because of it. Medicare B payments are automatically withdrawn for most people, and the COLAs will do little more than covering the rise in those payments.

Lower interest income from Old-Age Survivors and Disability Insurance (OASDI)

OASDI is set to see some big changes starting in the next three years. In 2020 OASDI will be paying out more in benefits than it takes in from payroll taxes and the interest it earns on its asset reserves. So, by 2022, there will be a noticeable drop in the money it has with which to work.

Minimal progress from Washington

It is unlikely that the politicians in Washington will make any changes to improve the Social Security situation. This assumption is purely based on the fact that no significant changes have been made to the Social Security system in the last 34 years.

For more information about how Social Security will change over the next five years, contact the Clauson Law Firm today.

If I Make $30,000, How Much Will Social Security Pay Me?

For most people, the monthly check they get from Social Security is a vital part of their retirement. It’s also something that you’ve been paying into your entire working life. Because of this, it’s only natural to wonder about how much money you’re going to get when you finally do retire.

How Much Will Social Security Pay Me

Unfortunately, it’s not an easy question to answer. This is because your retirement isn’t based on your earnings for a single year, or two years, or even ten years. In fact, your retirement is based in part by calculating the average income of your highest 35 years of working. Since people typically earn money as they grow in skills or advance in a career, it’s impossible to say just what that average annual income will be. In addition, things like inflation also cause these numbers to be a little unreliable.

For the sake of the question, though, we’ll answer the question this way: How much will SS pay me if my average annual income over the past 35 years was $30,000?

With this, it’s a much easier answer to come up with. Retirement earnings are calculated on a three-tier system, with each tier having a certain percentage of money returned. Here’s how it works (using 2016 numbers):

First, you have to figure out your monthly earnings. For a salary of $30,000, your monthly income is $2,500. Then, you look at the three tiers:

  • Tier 1: 90% of the first $856 earned in a month.
  • Tier 2: 32% of the money earned between $856 and $5,157
  • Tier 3: 15% of moneys earned over $5,157

So, for a monthly income of $2,500, you would get 90% of $856, or $770.40. Then, you would get 32% of the remaining $1,644, or $526.08. When you add those together, you get a total of $1,296.48 per month.

As you can see, once you know the formulas, it really isn’t that hard to calculate. One other important number to know, however: in 2016, the maximum allowable monthly retirement payment was $2,639. After that, it doesn’t matter how much you earn or pay into the system; that money will go to someone else.

If you have any other questions about social security, please don’t hesitate to contact us today!

I have a child who is disabled. Can my child receive disability benefits?

Having a disabled child brings its own special brand of heartaches and difficulties. Depending on the nature and scope of the disability, it could mean a lifetime of challenges that need to be overcome, and any type of aid or assistance in a situation like this is welcome. If you’re in this situation you might wonder if there’s any type of government available. The good news is that there disability benefits for children in the form of Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Can My Child Receive Disability Benefits

What is SSI?
SSI is a type of government-financed disability payment specifically for those disabled applicants who live in low-income households. Because of this description, you should know that SSI is not available for all children. However, if your child is disabled and your household is one with limited resources and income, then you might be able to get SSI as a benefit for your child.

Which Children Qualify for SSI?
Since SSI is specifically intended for those who are both disabled and impoverished, to qualify your child for SSI you are going to have to prove need in both situations.

  • To prove disability, you will need to provide medical records and documentation. While there is no fixed list of what does and doesn’t qualify a child for disability benefits, conditions such as blindness, deafness, cerebral palsy and severe intellectual and physical disabilities are almost always considered and, often, granted.In addition to medical records, the SSA might also seek information from teachers and other professionals who can offer insights into the child’s overall mental or physical condition.
  • To prove financial need, you will be required to submit documentation that details your household income and resources to the SSA. In addition to income, the SSA will look at things like savings accounts, property owned and stocks and bonds. While not all resources are counted towards an SSI determination, it is important to be honest and list everything.

The Next Step
If the SSA determines that your child does qualify for SSI benefits, the payments should start coming very soon. The good news is that your child will most likely be able to stay on benefits until he or she turns 18. At that time, the SSA will have to revisit the case. Your child may then qualify for adult SSI benefits.

If you would like to know more about securing disability benefits for children, please don’t hesitate to contact us today!

How Federal Taxes Affect Social Security Benefits

After you’ve been approved for Social Security benefits, you may wonder about the specifics of the amount that you’ll receive. In addition to the amount that you paid in over the course of working, you need to consider the effect that federal taxes has on Social Security benefits. Federal taxes on income can come into play if you are working or have other income. This depends on how much you make apart from the benefits you receive.

Federal Taxes Affect Social Security Benefits

Keep this information in mind about federal taxes on Social Security benefits:

a) If you are earning income that is considered substantial, this will affect the federal income taxes on your benefits.
Additional income can affect whether you will be subject to taxes. This depends on whether or not your income is considered substantial. There are different amounts depending on if you have a spouse and how you file your taxes.

b) You will not need to worry about your entire benefits being taxed.
No matter how much extra money you make, the entire amount will not be taxed.

c) If you make a combined income between $25,000 and $34,000 and file as an individual, the following applies:
Up to 50 percent of your combined income can be taxed. If you make more than this, up to 85 percent can be taxed.

d) If you have a total combined income between you and your spouse of between $32,000 and $44,000 and file jointly, the following applies:
You will have to pay federal income tax on up to 50 percent of your Social Security benefits. If you have a combined income over this, the percentage can go up to 85.

You will probably have to pay taxes on your Social Security benefits if you and your spouse decide to file separate tax returns instead of filing jointly.

e) Combined income has a specific meaning.
The phrase “combined income” from above combines a few different pieces. It adds half of your Social Security benefits with your nontaxable interest as well as your adjusted gross income.

f) Use your Social Security Benefit Statement {Form SSA-1099} to help you.
The SSA-1099 will help you complete your federal income tax return and find out if these benefits are taxable.

The guidelines above will help you determine your federal taxes on your Social Security benefits. If you have any questions in regards to the information above or applying for benefits, please contact us.

Ways to Boost Your Social Security Benefits

The payments that you receive from the Social Security Administration are an important addition to your retirement income. Many people rely on these payments to provide partially for them no longer working. Because of this, it’s important to fully understand the factors that go into the payments that you receive. You need to plan for your future in the best way possible and that includes your retirement.

Boost Your Social Security Benefits

Strategies to boost your Social Security benefits:

1) Work for the most years that you are able to.
One way to make sure that you receive higher payments once you retire is by working for at least 35 years. The 35 years that you received the most income will be averaged together to determine your payments. If you worked less than 35 years, the zeros will be added in as well. This will lower the amount that you can receive.

2) Increase your income whenever possible.
The more you earn, the more you will be able to get from Social Security when you retire. You can do this through job progression or additional income from a second job.

3) Keep working until your full retirement age.
For most people, your full retirement age will be either 66 or 67. If you claim early, your payments will be reduced. If you wait until full retirement age, you can receive your full payments during your retirement.

4) Delay claiming Social Security until you’re 70, if possible.
If you’re able to wait to claim until you turn 70, you will be able to increase your payments. For each year between your full retirement age and age 70, your payments will increase by 8 percent for each year.

5) Claim spousal payments.
You are able to receive 50 percent of the higher earner’s benefit if you were married for at least 10 years. This can either be a current or ex-spouse.

6) Claim twice.
After you hit your full retirement age, couples that both earned money could claim spousal benefits and then later switch to payments based on your own work record.

7) Don’t forget about your kids.
If you have dependent children under 19, you may be able to get additional Social Security payments for them that are worth up to 50 percent of your full retirement benefit.

When it comes to planning for your retirement, make sure to keep these strategies in mind to boost your Social Security benefits. The more you plan now, the better retirement you can have.

Social Security Income in 2018

If you’re receiving social security benefits, or expect to apply for them next year, you could receive a cost of living adjustment (COLA) for your Social Security income in 2018.

Social Security Income in 2018

Inflation rates prompt the government to give cost of living adjustments. Over the last few years, these adjustments have been 1.7 percent or less, which is something at least, but doesn’t really make a big difference. Some experts, like The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) expect a 1.9 to 2.1 percent increase from SSA, if inflation rates hold steady.

Seniors living on a fixed income would welcome any increase. If the government grants the COLA next year, benefits will be at a six-year high, the highest since 2012. If the Social Security Administration decides to increase Social Security income in 2018, the agency would make the announcement in the fall of 2017.

TSCL says that any increase is welcome, but says that only new legislation will increase SSA benefits to a level that benefits seniors. That’s because the way SSA calculates the COLA puts seniors at a disadvantage. The COLA doesn’t factor in the rising costs that retirees are paying and the portion of their income being spent on buying things. In effect, seniors are still losing their buying power. TSCL says the COLA is tied to the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). When the price index rises, the COLA rises, but it is based on younger workers and doesn’t factor in the spending pattern of seniors (age 62 and up). It also doesn’t facto in other rapidly growing costs that seniors incur, such as increases in Medicare Part B premiums, which have risen a whopping 195 percent in the last 15 years.

TSCL says that seniors need a more relevant COLA and a boost to benefits if they have any hopes of catching up where benefits equal expenditures. TSCL says the boost to benefits doesn’t have to be large; it can be modest but needs to be there to help people who are living longer and therefore are retired for a much longer period of time. Groups like TSCL are strong supporters for Congressional legislation that would do both.

If all of this has your head swimming, consider giving us a call. We can help you through the SSA benefits process to ensure that you get the Social Security income in 2018 that you deserve.

Are You or Your Loved Ones Eligible for Social Security Survivor’s Benefits?

Part of planning for the future is also planning for what happens to your social security benefits after your death. The Social Security Administration allows what are termed “survivor benefits” to be paid to the widow or widower of a worker based on that deceased spouse’s earnings record. This benefit has proven to be a true lifeline to many older surviving spouses, especially those who are disabled or who are no longer able to work.

Social Security Survivors Benefits

Here’s what most people want to know about survivor’s benefits more than anything else when it comes to long term planning: who qualifies? In simple terms, your widow or widower is eligible to receive reduced survivor benefits on a sliding scale as early as age 60, with full benefits once they reach their full retirement age based on their year of birth. Additionally, if your spouse is disabled and their disability began before or within seven years of your passing, they are eligible to start receiving benefits right away.

Survivor benefits are also payable to other parties beyond your spouse as well. Divorced spouses, surviving minor or disabled children, and even the parent’s of a worker may be eligible to receive survivor’s benefits provided that their loved one who passed away had sufficient earnings on record.

There are specific criteria to each of these scenarios that must be met in order for benefits to be paid, but the fact is should you be a divorced spouse raising mutual minor children in the event of that child’s parent’s death, you can collect social security benefits in order to help you and your child avoid living in poverty. Should you lose your spouse with minor children still at home to care for, you will not be left destitute and without financial support.

If you are a North Carolina resident who is seeking Social Security survivor’s benefits, you may be uncertain as to where to start regarding your eligibility and the application process. The good news is that you don’t have to go through this process alone. Contact The Clauson Law Firm today to request a case evaluation regarding your eligibility for benefits. The specialists at Clauson Law have years of experience navigating the application and appeals processes for the Social Security Administration, and they can give you a professional and trustworthy opinion regarding whether or not you should pursue survivor’s benefits from the SSA. Call today or visit their website for more information.

Disability Benefits After a Stroke

Suffering a stroke is a very traumatic event that can prevent your ability to work. At this point, you need to look into the specifics for qualifying for Social Security disability benefits. The Disability Living Allowance for stroke in the United Kingdom was phased out in the last few years and replaced by a new Personal Independence Payment. The original DLA can still be claimed by children under 16.

Disability Benefits After a Stroke

Social Security disability benefits will apply if you’re in the United States. There are a few factors that go into this qualifications, so it’s important to know the process to have the greatest chance of your case being accepted.

How to qualify for Social Security disability benefits for a stroke:

Check the bluebook.
You need to check the bluebook to verify that your condition qualifies for benefits. Depending on the affects of the stroke, this could be listed in a few different areas. In section 11.04 it pertains to the affects of a stroke on the central nervous system. This requires that your ability to write or speak is lost or severely impaired or that you have problems controlling movements with at least two of your extremities.

If your vision is affected, you’ll need to reference Sections 2.02, 2.03 or 2.04. You may have suffered hearing loss as a result of a stroke. Is this is the case, then you need to look at Section 2.10 for specifics. You may be covered in Section 12.00 for mental disorders. A stroke can cause cognitive loss and brain damage, so you may be covered here instead.

This is where a doctor will come in very useful because this professional will be able to interpret the requirements and where your specific symptoms fit. This person will be able to tell you if you qualify under an existing listing or if you’ll need additional steps.

Provide medial documentation.
You must provide medical documentation in order to back up the specifics of your condition and show that it qualifies for Social Security disability benefits. A lawyer will also help you determine if your condition qualifies for an already listed condition and help you move forward in the process.

Although the disability living allowance after stroke no longer applies, you can find other things to help you going forward. Contact us with any questions.

SSI Disability for Migraines and Depression

If you suffer from migraines or depression, you may qualify for SSI disability benefits. Migraines consist of neurologically based headaches that have a variety of symptoms. Depression can be a debilitating condition that also consists of unfavorable symptoms.

SSI Disability for Migraines and Depression

Migraine Headaches
If you do suffer from migraines, you are familiar with the symptoms that make them much more severe than just a simple headache. Migraines bring on nausea and vomiting. An increased sensitivity to light is also a reality during a migraine. These symptoms make it extremely difficult to function. The effects of medication often include drowsiness, and sometimes medications are ineffective.

If you suffer from these debilitating migraines and find it difficult to work, you should consult with a SSI disability attorney. They can answer any questions you may have about your qualifying condition. They can also assist you during the entire application process.

Depression
People who suffer from depression experience much more than just the feeling of sadness. They also experience feelings of hopelessness. Oftentimes, depression causes an extreme loss of energy. Depression victims suffer from untreatable fatigue. It is a struggle for these individuals to deal with normal stresses and responsibilities. When one suffers from depression, it is difficult to manage life, let alone manage a job.

It is possible to receive SSI disability for migraines and depression. It is beneficial to consult with a SSI disability lawyer. Their knowledge and experience will greatly benefit you as you file your claim.

Documentation
There is necessary documentation that you will need to support your claim. These documents include, but are not limited to:

● Medical forms.
● Financial forms.
● Past work history documents.

When you hire a SSI disability attorney, they will ensure that you are aware of all of the necessary documents that you will need. They will also provide you with valuable information about other documents and factors that will support your claim for long-term disability for migraines.

SSI Disability for Migraines and Depression
When you suffer from migraines or depression, you may stress about providing for yourself and your family. These condition sometimes make it impossible to work. You will benefit from hiring a SSI disability lawyer. The representation they provide is invaluable during the claims process.

A SSI disability attorney has the knowledge and expertise to help you make the most of your claim. They will support you during the entire application process. They can even assist you if your claim has been denied. Consult with a SSI disability lawyer today to learn more about disability for migraines and depression.

Motorcycle Accidents and Disability Benefits

When you’re in a motorcycle accident, it can be a very jarring and difficult experience. You may sustain a disability from this accident and wonder what the specifics are for Social Security disability benefits in regards to this.

Motorcycle Accidents Disability Benefits

The answer depends on the extent and specifics of your injuries. You may be able to qualify for Social Security benefits. You may wonder what your motorcycle accident payouts or motorcycle accident compensation amounts will be. This depends on a few factors, but you first must qualify.

How do I qualify for Social Security disability benefits?

• Your medical condition needs to be on the list.
The SSA has a list of medical conditions that qualify for Social Security benefits. Your official diagnosis needs to be on this list.

• These are some possible impairments that may occur as the result of a motorcycle accident.
Cerebral trauma, soft tissue injury, amputation, spinal disorder, different fractures, anxiety-related disorders or another condition that matches one on the list will qualify.

• You must provide medical documentation.
In order to qualify for disability benefits for any condition, you must provide adequate medical documentation. This must include your official diagnosis and why your condition prohibits you from working. Also, make sure to include all tests and hospital visits.

How much will my motorcycle accident payouts or motorcycle accident compensation amounts be?

• Payments are not based on a specific disability.
The specific medical condition does not determine the disability benefits. There are other factors that go into the exact payments amounts.

• It is based on something else.
Once you win your disability case, the monthly payments are based on a different factor. The amount you paid into Social Security affects how much you receive.

• Your monthly payments can be affected by additional factors.
These additional factors are things such as Medicare coverage and taxes. These things could reduce your payments.

• You may be able to receive backpay.
Depending on your application date, you may be able to receive backpay for your motorcycle accident payout.

In order to determine your motorcycle accident compensation amounts, you need to know how much you’ve paid into Social Security. Before worrying about the exact amount, you will need to prove that your medical condition qualifies for disability benefits. Contact us with any questions about your specific circumstances and how to move forward with your case.