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!

Applying for SSDI Benefits with Fibromyalgia

If you suffer from fibromyalgia, then you’re no stranger to pain. You know that this condition has the ability to completely wreck you and take you out of the day. When you’re in pain like this, there’s no way you can consider working, much less facing the long-term prospect of a full-time job. Because of this, you might have considered filing for Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits. However, you might be surprised to learn that a fibromyalgia case isn’t as easy to win as you might think. Why? Because, to many, fibromyalgia is a hard condition to understand, much less diagnose.

Applying for SSDI Benefits with Fibromyalgia

If you’re trying to apply for SSDI benefits for fibromyalgia, it’s an uphill battle, but it isn’t impossible. Here are a few tips which might make it easier to win:

1) Verify the Diagnosis

The problem with fibromyalgia is it’s a disease that is very hard to diagnose. Until recently, many doctors weren’t even sure it was a real condition. Because of this, getting an actual, written-on-paper diagnosis can be pretty hard. While many physicians might speculate that you’re dealing with this condition, getting them to commit to that is a different story.

2) See a Specialist

Once you’ve been given a clinical diagnosis, you’re next best bet for securing SSDI benefit is to see a specialist, like a rheumatologist, in order to further confirm your diagnosis. That will go a long way towards settling any questions that may be in the minds of the disability examiner. It’s basically getting a second opinion — one solid enough that they won’t be able to deny your condition. Of course, having the condition is not the same as being disabled by it.

3) Get a Functional Capacity Evaluation

What many applicants fail to understand is that a diagnosis — for any condition — does not automatically mean SSDI benefits. The SSA does have a listing, called the Blue Book, that spells out certain conditions that are deemed worthy of SSDI benefits. Not having one of those conditions does not mean you won’t be denied, but it does mean you have to go a step further. A Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) is basically an examination by a medical professional who examines you and then determines your ability to work and perform various tasks. If your fibromyalgia is interfering with your ability to work, then you have a much stronger case.

4) Shore Up Your Records

No SSDI case can be won without strong, comprehensive medical documentation. Make sure you have everything you need to show your diagnosis, ongoing treatment, evaluation results, and prognosis expectations. If your case is strong enough, you have a good chance of winning.

If you need help or advice in applying for SSDI benefits, 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.

ssi and ssdi concurrent benefits

Two different disability programs—SSI and SSDI—are managed by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Is there a difference between the two programs, and can you qualify for both SSI and SSDI monthly benefits?

Qualify for Both SSI and SSDI Monthly Benefits?

SSDI is a program for disabled people who have contributed over time to social security before becoming disabled. You will likely qualify if you’re 18 or over and have a long-term disability that keeps you from working.

SSI is a program to supplement low-income or no-income individuals and families, and SSI is a needs-based program with very low income requirements to qualify.

Sometimes, you can simultaneously collect both SSI and SSDI benefits, referred to as concurrent benefits, particularly if you have been approved for SSDI but for a low payment. To qualify for the additional SSI payment, your income must be less than $735 per month and you must have limited assets. Basically, if your SSDI is less than $735, you may qualify for SSI. Your SSDI will be a low payment if you didn’t contribute very much to social security while you were working, so the benefit of having the additional SSI payment is that it will increase your benefit up to $735 per month total.

If you receive SSI, it will be lower to account for the SSDI you are already receiving. You might be wondering: how does the SSA determine if you qualify for both SSI and SSDI monthly benefits? You can apply for both. Your assets and income will be reviewed by the SSA, and then they will designate your claim as concurrent if you qualify.

As an SSDI recipient, you are able to get on Medicare two years after your SSDI eligibility date. Under SSI, you only qualify for Medicaid, which offers more services than Medicare. However, more doctors accept Medicare patients so you might have an easier time finding a doctor.

For both programs, most states—including North Carolina—add a state supplement to the federal amount.

You’ll have to provide several forms of identification, including proof of US citizenship, Social Security number (SSN), and date and place of birth. Additionally, SSDI requires detailed medical information about your diagnosis.

For both programs, you’ll need to disclose to SSA any other benefits you’re receiving, like worker’s compensation or military veteran benefits.

If you think you might qualify for concurrent benefit programs, or just SSI or SSDI alone, and you’re having difficulty making the determination about exactly what you qualify for, give us a call today and we will help you with your claim.

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.