Unfortunately, U.S. government agencies responsible for determining eligibility for benefits for active and retired service members have a (well deserved) reputation for slow processing of applications. However, for those military members who are disabled, the Social Security Administration, also called SSA, provides an expedited application process for Social Security Disability Benefits or SSDI.

Even if military benefits are not yet worked out, it may be worthwhile to pursue an SSDI claim simultaneously because of the heightened service available to service members who became disabled while on active duty on or after October 1, 2001.

It is worth noting that disabled vets can be eligible for both military benefits and Social Security benefits.

If you need assistance with a Social Security Disability claims, please call me at 904-981-9812.

Last week, in honor of the 78th anniversary of the Social Security Administration, the agency unveiled a new website design.  See link below:

http://www.ssa.gov

The new website makes it easy to set up a Social Security account and review your earnings record, a step all workers should take.  SSA no longer mails earnings statements to taxpayers, so it is crucial for people to review their earnings and take steps to correct any errors they notice.

Disabled Children

August 14, 2013

Raising a child with disabilities comes with a lot of added expenses.  Fortunately, families in need may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.  Teens and younger kids usually have not worked enough to secure credits for Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), but the Social Security Administration (SSA) administers the SSI program for disabled children.

SSA has two primary requirements for benefits.  The first is financial.  Since SSI is a needs-based program, the child’s family must demonstrate financial need.  To be eligible for benefits, there are limits to income, assets, and resources of the child and his or her family, which includes a step-parent who lives with the family.

The second set of criteria is medical.  A child must have a qualifying disability that is expected to last 12 months or result in death as defined by the SSA.  SSA will look at the child’s impairments or combination of impairments and the functional restrictions the impairments pose.  In some cases, the SSA will offer benefits right away for certain conditions such as total blindness, total deafness or cerebral palsy.

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Most people receiving funds from the SSA will not be subject to taxes because they do not earn enough income per year to pay taxes, however, those receiving Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) benefits may have to pay taxes.  It is advisable to discuss your earnings will an accountant who is familiar with disability taxes.  The basics are as follows:

If you are single with an income (including wages, pensions, tax-exempt interest and one-half of your Social Security benefits) that is more than $25,000 but less that $34,000, you will pay taxes on 50% of your benefits.  If you are married and file jointly and you have a combined income of over $32,000 and less than $44,000, you will pay taxes on 50% of your benefits.

If you are single and make more than $34,000 per year or you are married and filing jointly and have a combined income of more than $44,000, you will pay taxes on 85% of your Social Security benefits.

If you are married and file separately, you will also pay taxes on 85% of your Social Security benefits.

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