What If My Spouse With Benefits Dies?

The death of a spouse can be a very difficult time. Social Security benefits are a source of income. If your spouse passes away, Social Security may pay a one-time death benefit to the surviving spouse. If there is no surviving spouse, a child may receive the benefit.
If your spouse is receiving benefits and they pass away, many times there is a way for you or your child to continue receiving those benefits after their death so that your financial future is not completely insecure. The death must be reported immediately so that Social Security does not continue to pay out benefits to someone who has passed. However, at that point, survivor’s benefits may take place instead.

Survivor’s benefits can go to:
1) Any widow or widower who is 60 or older,
2) A widow or widower who is disabled and over 50,
3) A widow or widower at any age who is caring for the deceased’s child that is under 16 years of age and disabled,
4) A surviving divorced spouse under specific circumstances-the marriage must have last 10 years or more,
5) An unmarried child of the deceased
6) Parents who are 62 or older that were dependent on the deceased for half of their support
7) A stepchild, grandchild, adopted child, or step grandchild under specific circumstances.

The benefits that you are eligible to receive would depend on the earnings of your spouse, and it would be a percentage of their Social Security amount. It is also important to note that if you remarry before you are 60 years of age, you will no longer be able to receive benefits. Any remarriage after 60, however, still allows you to qualify for benefits from your deceased spouse.

The Social Security system can seem daunting if you are dealing with a death but be sure to call and see if survivor benefits can help during this difficult time.

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What Happens If I Get A Job?

If you are on benefits, you are on a very fixed income. For many, it is less than what they used to make working, or it is difficult to make ends meet. If possible, many people try to get a part time job to supplement their benefits.

If you do get a job while on benefits, the monetary amount that you receive will be reduced. If you are younger than the full retirement age, the amount that your benefits are reduced is the same amount that your benefits will increase when you reach retirement. If you are on disability benefits or SSI, your income must be reported. In some cases, working will cause your benefits to stop completely. If this happens and you stop working at a later point, your benefits will not automatically resume. You will have to go through the entire process all over again in order to receive benefits once more.

Getting a full-time job is better financially, but a full-time job will end being a recipient for Social Security benefits. If you are able to work, part time work is recommended in order that you are able to continue receiving benefits. Remember that even if you won a prior case, when reapplying for Social Security, the decision may not go the same way. No matter what, make sure you are always correctly reporting any income that you may be earning to the Social Security Administration so that there are no problems anywhere down the line.

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Can My Child Get SSI/SSD Benefits?

Social Security benefits are commonly thought to be only for people who are retired. However, Social Security benefits can also go to children.

Children can receive benefits for two reasons: they are receiving survivor benefits from their parents, or they are disabled. There are also certain circumstances in which grandchildren, adopted children, or step child may receive benefits as well.

If you are applying for survivor benefits for the child, the death certificate to show proof that the parent has died mush be present in applying for the benefits. If you are applying for benefits for a child because they are disabled, you must bring medical evidence to prove the child’s disability.

An unmarried child can receive benefits until turn 18. If they have a disability that began before the age of 22, they can continue receiving benefits after that age. If you are caring for a child and are receiving benefits because of this, your benefits will stop once the child reaches 16 if they are not disable.

A child’s case can go through the same process as an adult if they are denied benefits and decide to appeal. The process may move quicker, but all of the steps are the same. For their hearing, the parent or custodial figure may sometimes be asked to testify or give a statement, and other times will not be in the hearing room at all.

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What Happens If I Want To Appeal The Hearing Decision?

If your hearing decision was denied, you have two options: you can either begin the process all over again and open a new application or appeal the second denial and request a review of the judge’s decision. It is important to discuss your next move with your attorney. Appealing a hearing denial is a more difficult case to win. The standard is much higher, and some kind of legal error must have been made by the judge. If your attorney believes that you have a strong enough case to move forward, you have sixty days to do so from when you receive your hearing decision.

Once you have decided that you want to appeal the hearing denial, it is once again a process of waiting. The average wait time for this can vary among states, but it usually shy of a two-year period.

The Appeals Council will receive the request for review all look at it. They may deny if they believe that the administrative law judge was correct in making their decision. If they do find that there was some kind of legal error, they will send your case back down for an administrative law judge to review again. It may be the same judge or a different one, but the hearing process will be the same as before.

If they deny the review, you have the option of filing a civil suit in Federal district court. It is important to note that at any point during this time, you may not begin a new Social Security claim.

I hope that these posts have helped you through the long process that is the legal world of Social Security.

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What Happens After The Hearing?

Much of the Social Security process is about waiting. After the hearing, you will once again have to wait. The decision from the judge can come as quickly as two weeks, or it could take a few months. If you are concerned about the fact that you have not heard anything yet, feel free to call your attorney to find out the status of your case. Your attorney will likely have electronic access to your file and will be able to view the judge’s decision before they mail you a letter.

The decision about your appeal will come in a letter, as this is the main way for the Social Security Administration to contact everyone. It is again important to make sure that your address stays up to date during this time.

If you are approved for benefits-congratulations! This entire process is almost over. Be sure to go down to your local office right away and give them any paperwork needed. You will be paid any back pay that they ow you from the past couple of years while the hearing was being appealed in installments. Any payment your attorney or any other state agency may be owed will be taken as well, and then you will be all set to go.

If your appeal gets denied, you can either begin the process all over again with a new application or appeal the second denial. Continue reading onto the next post to find out what happens if you decide to go down that path.

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I Heard About A Video Teleconference. What Is That?

When it is time for your Social Security hearing, you must appear in person in front of the judge. In the previous article, we spoke about how the judge, hearing assistant, your attorney, and you as the claimant will be there. There may be vocational and medical experts, and they may be present physically or on the phone.

Due to the high volume of Social Security cases and the need to try and make it a shorter wait process, the Social Security Administration has, as of late, been scheduling a lot of video teleconference hearings. What this means is that the judge, instead of being physically present with you at the hearing, will be on a TV screen and located at a National Hearing Office, instead of your local hearing office. The hearing will still go in the same manner, it will just be over video.

For some people, seeing the judge face to face is important to them. Many attorneys prefer the judge being there physically because they may know how they question claimants already, or at least know that the judge is familiar with the area the claimant is from. Others may prefer the distance of the TV.

My office does not recommend that you participate in the hearing via video. There is not a shorter wait process, and I like to be familiar with the Administrative Law Judge hearing the case.

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What Happens At The Hearing?

The Social Security Administration will notify you that your hearing date has been scheduled at least 75 days in advance. They will send a letter to you and contact your attorney, so make sure to keep your address up to date. In that letter, they will also notify you if there will be a medical or vocational expert there as well.

The day of the hearing, be sure to arrive fifteen minutes to an hour ahead of time. Dress appropriately; while you do not have to wear a suit, make sure you are wearing clothing that is respectful of the fact that you are about to be before a judge.

The hearing is an informal one and takes place in a smaller room-nothing about it resembles a court TV show. You will sit facing the judge, and your attorney will be with you. There is a hearing assistant in the room as well. If there is a medical or vocational expert, they may be present or on the phone.

Each judge is different, but many will ask you a series of questions about your life, health, work history, and medical condition. The attorney can ask questions as well. The medical and vocational experts are then questions by the judge and the attorney, and then the hearing will be over. The entire thing can last only fifteen minutes, or it can go past an hour. Prepare for anything. The hearing is recorded, and the judge will not issue the decision that day. Once it is over, you are free to leave.

A hearing can be nerve-wracking, especially if you have been waiting for so long to finally see a judge. I am hoping this post helped give you an idea of what a hearing is like and calmed any major fears you may have. Continue reading to the next post to find out what happens after the hearing.

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Attorney for my Hearing?

Once you have received a denial or filed for an appeal/request for hearing, you should decide whether or not you want to be represented by an attorney. Social Security cases allow you to proceed pro-se, meaning you are representing yourself, but for many, hiring an attorney is a good idea.

While you are waiting for a hearing judge, the Social Security Administration will collect medical records, work history, and other pertinent information. Hiring an attorney assures that your file is filled with up to date information and exams from doctors. In addition, many attorneys have their own forms that the doctors can fill out that will help your case.

Having an attorney will also help prepare you for the hearing. They are many times familiar with the judges, and even if that is not the case, they can prepare you beforehand with the type of questions you may encounter and they can have questions prepared if there are expert witnesses.

Social Security attorneys usually are paid based on a contingency fee. This means that if they win the case, they take a portion of the back pay that the Social Security Administration would have paid you. This is helpful to know that you will not need to pay the attorney on an hourly rate. If you fall below a certain income bracket, there are Social Security attorneys that will do the case either pro-bono or are salaried at a civil legal services organization, meaning that you, as the client, will not have to pay anything, even if the attorney wins you the case.

If you decide to hire an attorney, be sure to do so sooner rather than later, so that they have time to gather your records and prepare your case. Continue reading the next post to find out what happens when you finally get to your hearing day.

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What happens if I get Denied?

What Happens If I Get Denied?

The letter with you, your spouse, or your child’s name has come on it and you open it to find out you have been denied benefits. While this is an unfortunate scenario, it happens often – actually about 87% of the time. In this case, you can either send in another application, or continue with the current one and fight the decision. There are steps you can take to appeal the decision if you decide that you disagree with the Administration’s decision.

If you want to appeal the Administration’s decision, it is crucial to note that you only have 60 days to do so. You can appeal by calling 1-800-772-1213, by going down to the local office and filling out the appeal form, or online. Be sure to have a list of any medical doctors that you see when filling out the appeal paperwork.

Once you appeal the decision, it is again another waiting game. How long you will wait to see a judge depends on the state in which you filed the appeal. The average wait time is around two years from when you submit the appeal paperwork to when you are sitting in front of the judge. For children, it is usually a little bit less of a wait time.

In that time, be sure to continue receiving medical treatment and do not file a new Social Security application. Both actions can have a negative affect on your case.

If you decide that you want an attorney to represent you at the hearing, this is the time to hire one. Read on to the next post to help decide whether or not you should hire an attorney. Remember that a denial happens to many people who should receive benefits, so do not lose hope!

My office focuses on representing individuals at the Administrative law judge hearing. If your application has been denied, please call my office and let me represent you at your Administrative law judge hearing. As soon as you receive your notice of disapprove claim call my office 724-282-4522 for a free consultation. Act quickly you only have 60 days from the date of the denial letter to request a hearing. Prior to your consultation my office will forward you forms to complete for your scheduled appointment – often times these can be completed through an online link. I ask that you also bring with your or provide a copy of the notice of disprove claim, a list of current medications, recent medical treatment and work history. In order for me to fully evaluate your claim and move quickly, this information is necessary.

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What Happens If I Get Approved for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income?

What Happens If I Get Approved?

The letter with you, your spouse, or your child’s name has come on it and you open it up to find out that you have been approved for Social Security Benefits. Congratulations! The hardest part is over.

The letter will come with instructions on what to do next, and make sure to follow those carefully. The letter will state how much you are going to receive monthly. If you have SSD, the amount of money you receive a month will be based on how long you worked. If you got approved for SSI benefits, the amount that you receive will be based on the state you live in, any income you may receive, and what your living arrangements are. If any time has passed in which you should have received payment, Social Security will pay any back payments that you are owed and notify you of the sum and how it will be divided.

You must contact your local office with your bank account information if they do not have it already. Benefits are deposited by direct deposit or direct express into your bank account, and this is mandatory for any Social Security applications after May 2011. Payments will start that month, so never delay in making sure everything is filled out and filed; the sooner everything is processed, the sooner you can start receiving payments.

If this article applies to you, your journey with the Social Security Administration and the process of receiving SSD/SSI benefits has likely ended. However, if you were denied benefits, there are steps that can be taken to appeal. The next post outlines what to do if that is the case.

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