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Can You Get Both Social Security Disability & Workers’ Compensation?

If you’re injured on the job in Utah, the financial help you need to might come through Social Security Disability or workers’ compensation. And depending upon your specific circumstances, you may be awarded benefits from both programs.

SSD is funded at the federal level, while workers’ comp is a state-administered program. The qualifications for determining eligibility for each type of benefits are different, and there’s a ceiling to how much you can collect each month. Here’s what you need to know if you plan on applying for SSD and workers’ compensation.

What’s the difference between workers’ comp and Social Security disability?

Qualifying for Social Security Disability in Utah

To be approved for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration, you will need to be able to prove that you’re disabled – and the SSA has a strict definition of the term. You’ll only be considered disabled if the following conditions apply:

  • You have a medical condition that prevents you from performing basic work-related activities
  • The severity of your condition has made you unable to continue working at your current Utah job
  • Adjusting to other work isn’t possible because of your condition, age, past employment experience and/or a lack of transferrable skills
  • You won’t be able to return to work or perform any substantial gainful activity for at least a year

In addition, to be eligible for disability benefits, you must have enough Social Security work credits. The number required depends upon the age you become disabled.

Qualifying for Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Utah

To qualify for workers’ compensation, you will need to be able to prove that you suffered an injury or became ill as a direct result of your job duties. The laws and procedures are set by the state of Utah, and through the program you may be awarded:

  • Medical benefits to cover health care expenses
  • Temporary total disability benefits
  • Temporary partial disability benefits
  • Permanent partial disability benefits
  • Permanent total disability benefits

Workers’ comp covers any injury or illness incurred in the course of employment, regardless of how long you’ve been on the job. The moment you started work on your first day, you became eligible for the program.

The Maximum Amount of Benefits You Can Receive

You may qualify for both SSD and Utah workers’ compensation, but there’s a limit to the amount of benefits you can receive under both programs. The total won’t be more than 80 percent of your average monthly earnings.

If the amount of SSD and workers’ comp benefits you’re eligible to receive adds up to a higher total, an offset applies. In other words, the excess will be deducted from your Social Security benefit.

Do you have questions? Or are you ready apply for Social Security Disability benefits? The attorneys and team of professional advocates at Mountain West Disability, based in northern Utah, have the skill, knowledge and expertise to guide you through the SSD claims process. We’ll help you determine if you qualify for benefits – and if so, we’ll work hard to make sure you get an approval.

For a free consultation with an experienced Social Security Disability advocate, contact our office in Murray, Utah, today.

Advantages of Working with a Social Security Disability Advocate

Should you choose to have a Social Security Disability advocate assist you with your claim? Or is hiring an attorney a smarter plan?

As advocates, we’re obviously in favor of the former. But we do have good reasons for recommending our professional services. Here, we explain what you have to gain by working with an experienced disability advocate.

Help with Every Step of the Disability Claims Process

Social Security Disability advocates know the claims process inside and out. By working with an advocate, you can get expert assistance with the application and every other step. Many attorneys who assist with disability claims don’t get involved until the hearing stage – which is the second level of appeal and can take a couple of years to arrive.

Guidance from a Team of Highly Trained Disability Experts

Hire an attorney, and you’ll have one legal professional on your side. Choose a disability advocate, and you’ll most likely be working with a team of professionals, each of whom has extensive training and expertise in a specific area of the claims process. Advocates tailor their services to meet their clients’ needs, and you can expect yours to work hard to get you every dollar you deserve.

Less Stress About Your Application for Disability Benefits

Most attorneys work on many different types of cases, not just disability claims. Advocates specialize in helping qualified claimants get approved for benefits – and for something as complex as an SSDI or SSI claim, you’re better off relying on a team of specialists. With an advocate, you’ll have the peace of mind in knowing that your claim is being managed properly. Plus, the team approach allows for an increased level of communication, which helps to alleviate your stress.

No Worries Over Paying for Assistance with Your Disability Claim

Like attorneys, most Social Security Disability advocates don’t charge upfront fees or require retainers. And, the cost of their services won’t ever have to come out of your pocket – if your advocate is successful in getting you approved for disability benefits, they’ll get their payment from the backpay you are awarded. The amount they receive is limited to 25 percent of your past-due benefits, with a maximum payment of $6,000. The funds are sent automatically, so you don’t need to be concerned about paying your disability advocate.

Mountain West Disability, based in northern Utah, has helped hundreds of disabled individuals through the claims process. If you qualify for benefits, you can count our advocates to fight for your rights – and with us, you stand a strong chance of getting an approval.

To learn more about the services we offer at Mountain West Disability, or to consult with a friendly and knowledgeable Social Security Disability advocate, contact our office in Murray, Utah, today.

Will Getting Married Affect Your Social Security Disability Benefits?

If you currently receive Social Security Disability benefits or have filed an SSD application, getting married could cause a change in your monthly amount. Whether or not that happens depends mainly upon the type of disability benefits you are awarded.

Here, the Mountain West Disability team explains how marriage may or may not affect those who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and why Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients are likely to see their disability benefits reduced or even eliminated after getting married.

How much disability can you get if you’re married

How Marriage Affects SSDI Benefits

If you’re disabled and receive SSDI benefits based upon your own work record, your marital status has no bearing on your monthly amount. That won’t change after you get married, regardless of how much your spouse earns.

However, if you’ve qualified for SSDI – also known as Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) – under someone else’s earnings record, this may not be the case. You might lose your disability benefits if any of the following are true:

  • You receive SSDI benefits under the earnings record of your ex-spouse and you remarry.
  • You receive benefits because you’re the widow or surviving divorced spouse of a SSD recipient, and you get married before the age of 60 (or, if you’re disabled, before your 50th birthday).
  • You’re an adult disabled child who gets married when receiving benefits under the work record of an eligible parent. But, if your spouse is disabled and also collects disability benefits, yours may not be terminated.

How Marriage Affects SSI Benefits

The change in your marital status in itself won’t have an impact on your eligibility for Supplemental Security Income. However, if your new spouse earns an income, that could result in the reduction or elimination of your SSI benefits.

The Social Security Administration places a strict limit on income amounts for SSI recipients, and when you get married, a portion of your spouse’s earnings will be counted as yours. As a result of this – which is referred to as deeming spousal income – you may no longer be eligible for benefits. Or, the amount you receive may be significantly reduced.

What if your spouse also receives SSI benefits? You may both still be eligible, but the amount the two of you receive will be calculated at the rate for couples. The maximum monthly SSI payment changes each year, but in 2020, the amount you and your spouse receive will be no more than $1,175.

Get Answers to Your Social Security Disability Questions

Want more details on how getting married will affect your SSDI or SSI claim? Do you need help applying for Social Security Disability benefits? The experienced professional advocates at Mountain West Disability, based in Murray, Utah, can provide you with the information and assistance you need.

For more information on the services we offer and how our team can help prevent you from unknowingly compromising your Social Security Disability benefits, contact us today.

Filing for Social Security Disability? Tips for Getting an Approval

In an ideal world, Social Security disability benefits would be easily available for everyone in need. In reality, most claims are initially denied – and while many applicants are able to successfully appeal the decision, the process can take years.

No one can guarantee that your application for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) will be approved at the start. However, taking the following steps may improve your chances of getting a favorable decision.

How to get a Social Security Disability claim approved

Talk to Your Doctor

Enlisting your doctor’s support can be worthwhile. See if they’re willing to provide a residual functional capacity (RFC) evaluation, a written statement that details exactly how your condition limits your ability to work. Include this with your Social Security disability application, and it may assist you in winning an approval.

Follow All Treatment Advice

When the SSA reviews your application for disability benefits, they’ll go over your treatment history quite thoroughly. This isn’t a problem if you’ve been doing everything your doctor has suggested, but if you aren’t following their treatment recommendations, you’re hurting your chances of having your claim approved.

Gather Your Medical Records

The SSA will contact your doctor to request your medical records, but seeing how many physicians are extremely busy, the paperwork may not make it into the right hands all that quickly. Gather your records yourself, and you can make sure the SSA has all of the documentation that’s relevant to your disability claim.

Be Thorough on the Application

Social Security disability experts know that claims are often denied due to insufficient evidence. Filling out the application with extreme care is important, and be sure to list details like clinic addresses and dates of treatment. Don’t leave anything out, as the SSA won’t issue a favorable decision if crucial information is missing.

Keep Tabs on Your SSD Claim

Millions of people apply for disability benefits every year. To make sure your claim is moving along as it should be, you’ll need to contact the SSA on a regular basis. Call for status updates, and you’ll know whether more information is needed to process your application or if you have any important deadlines to meet, issues that could decrease your odds for approval.

Get Expert Help with the Process

You can apply for Social Security disability benefits on your own, but you’ll have a much easier time – and a better chance of approval – if you work with an experienced advocate.

The Mountain West Disability team of professional advocates delivers the advantages of working with an attorney – and much more. From thoroughly documenting your disability claim to finding the right doctors, representing you at SSA hearings and fighting to get you the benefits you need, we’ll be there for you in every way.

For answers to your questions and expert assistance with the Social Security disability claim process, contact Mountain West Disability in Murray, Utah, today.

How Social Media Can Affect Your Social Security Disability Claim

Many people who file Social Security Disability claims continue to use social media while they await a decision. But is doing so a bad idea?

Not necessarily. Posting on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn or any other platform may not affect your chances of approval – if, that is, you take care to guard your privacy. If you don’t play it safe, using social media could have an effect on the outcome of your claim. Here’s what you need to know.

Can Social Security see my social media posts?

The SSA May Consider Social Media in Deciding Disability Claims

Last year, the Social Security Administration (SSA) proposed the idea of using the information gained from social media platforms in disability determinations. The intended purpose is to identify fraud based upon photos and details applicants post.

Making sure that those whose disability claims are approved are actually disabled is important, but what the proposal fails to recognize is that people often post about happy times. Many also submit pictures that paint them in a favorable light, not photos where they’re grimacing in pain. Therefore, being judged for what you post doesn’t seem quite fair – but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

Tips for Safe Social Media Use When Filing a Disability Claim

If you’re planning on filing for disability, you don’t need to stop using social media. You can keep posting, but we suggest that you take the following precautions:

  • Limit the amount of personal information in your account profiles. Use only your first name or a nickname, leaving off your last name and other details like your city, state, date of birth and phone number.
  • Take a close look at each account’s privacy settings. On many social media platforms, profiles are not automatically set to be private. Make sure yours isn’t public, as you’re better off sharing information with only friends and family.
  • Think twice before you submit any post. Keeping your posts private is smart, but you still shouldn’t submit anything you wouldn’t want everyone to see. Consider, too, whether the SSA might misinterpret something you’re posting.

Get Expert Assistance with Your Social Security Disability Claim

If you’re disabled and cannot work, filing a disability claim could be in your best interests – and, the expert team at Mountain West Disability can provide you with all of the help you need.

During our many years in business, we’ve guided hundreds of people through the Social Security Disability process. We offer highly personalized service tailored to meet your needs, and we don’t charge a fee unless your claim is approved. As such, you can count on us to make every effort to ensure you’re awarded benefits.

For more information on our legal services, or to discuss filing a Social Security Disability claim with a highly experienced advocate, contact Mountain West Disability today.

Is There a Waiting Period for Social Security Disability Benefits?

If you’re approved for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you may not get your first payment right away.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) imposes a five-month waiting period on all approved applicants, with only two exceptions. Dependents of disabled workers and those who previously received SSDI benefits and need them reinstated are the only people who aren’t subject to the waiting period.

If you’re not in either group, how long will you have to wait before you start receiving your disability benefits? Here’s what you need to know.

Time to start getting SSDI

When the Waiting Period Starts

The waiting period for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits will begin on the date the SSA believes you became disabled. This is officially known as the established onset date (EOD) of your disability.

Your first monthly payment will arrive once you have been disabled for at least five months. As an example, if your EOD is May 15, 2020, your first check will be for the month of November. However, SSDI benefits are paid the month after they’re due, so you wouldn’t actually get paid until December 2020.

Why the five-month waiting period? The SSA aims to only provide SSDI to people with long-term disabilities, and the mandatory wait helps ensure that no one who is ineligible receives SSDI benefits.

How the Waiting Period Affects Back Payments

Depending upon when you apply for Social Security Disability Insurance, you may receive back pay. The SSA recognizes that processing disability applications takes time, and back payments are issued for the months between the date of application and the date of approval.

But, the five-month wait still applies. So, let’s say you apply for SSDI benefits in May 2020, and the established onset date of your disability is January 2020 – but your application isn’t approved until January 2021. Twelve months have passed, but your back payment will only cover seven of those months.

Why You Shouldn’t Wait to File an SSDI Application 

As we’ve already mentioned, almost everyone who applies for SSDI is subject to the SSA’s waiting period. Therefore, it’s in your best interests to file your application as soon as you become disabled. If you hold off until the end of the five-month period, it may take twice as long to begin receiving disability benefits.

What if you’ve already been putting off filing your SSDI application? You may be eligible for retroactive benefits, or money that you would have been paid if you had applied earlier. However, the farthest back retroactive benefits can reach is 17 months before the application date. So, if you became disabled months ago, you’ll need to take action soon.

For expert advice and assistance with every step of the SSDI process, turn to the professional team at Mountain West Disability.

Our experienced advocates work on a contingency basis, and since we don’t get paid unless you do, you can rely on us to do everything in our power to make sure your claim is approved. For more information on how Mountain West Disability can help you get the Social Security Disability Insurance benefits you need, contact our Murray, Utah, office today.

New Rule Limits Social Security Disability Eligibility

Since 1978, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has taken language barriers into account when evaluating applications for Social Security disability. The lack of proficiency in English, while not considered disabling in and of itself, has been viewed as having a significant impact on an individual’s ability to find work.

As of April 27, 2020, this will no longer be the case. At the end of February, the SSA announced a new rule has been finalized, and the inability to communicate in English will no longer be a factor in determining eligibility for Social Security disability benefits.

Disability benefits advocate

The Rationale Behind the SSA Rule Change

According to the SSA, research shows that proficiency in English is no longer indicative of an individual’s education or their work prospects. The new rule supports this as well as the administration’s commitment to ensuring the Social Security disability rules remain current.

In addition, the Carter-era rule has been criticized for both treating non-English speakers as not educated enough to hold a job and for giving them an unfair advantage over applicants who are proficient in English. The SSA rule change recognizes that our country’s diversity means that communicating in English is not a prerequisite for joining the workforce.

What the New SSA Rule Means for Disability Claimants

For disability applicants who can communicate in English, the SSA rule change will not affect the evaluation process. For non-English speaking individuals, however, qualifying for benefits will be more difficult under the new regulation.

Proficiency in English has only ever been relevant if the applicant has already supplied evidence that a medical or physical disability limits their ability to do the work they have in the past. At this point, Social Security considers whether the individual could transition to another job – and under the previous rule, a language barrier typically meant getting approved for disability benefits.

Now, non-English speakers cannot expect the SSA to rule in their favor because of their inability to communicate – even if they have no work opportunities in their local area. The Social Security disability program is national in scope, and the law only requires the administration to consider whether enough jobs exist in the national economy that are suited for an applicant’s functional capacity, age, level of education and work experience.

Are More SSA Rule Changes Likely?

Yes. This new rule is not the only change on the drawing board – there has been a proposal to create a new category for disability applicants, and the effect of being placed in this group would be the requirement for more frequent continuing disability reviews.

This rule could be implemented in 2020. If that happens, millions of people who already receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) may find it much more difficult to comply with the review process and keep their monthly disability benefits.

Are you worried about SSA rule changes affecting your eligibility? The experienced advocates at Mountain West Disability, based in northern Utah, can answer your questions and offer advice on how to get the Social Security disability benefits you need. To schedule a free consultation, contact us today.

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/02/25/2020-03199/removing-inability-to-communicate-in-english-as-an-education-category
https://blog.ssa.gov/new-rule-modernizes-how-we-award-disability-benefits/

Can a Dire Need Request Help Expedite Your Disability Claim?

People who apply for Social Security disability (SSD) benefits often experience frustrating delays in the process, and for some, a dire need request can help shorten the waiting time on a decision.

The question is, will writing a dire need letter or DNL work to speed up your disability claim? The approach isn’t always effective, but it may be worthy of consideration.

SSDI lawyers vs disability advocates

Criteria for Social Security Disability Dire Need Requests

Your disability claim may be processed more quickly if you can prove that you’re facing one or more of the following situations:

  • You don’t have food and are unable to obtain it
  • Your home is without utilities and has become uninhabitable
  • You’re homeless and can no longer stay at a shelter
  • You’re in imminent danger of eviction or foreclosure
  • You cannot afford the medicine or medical care you need

The Social Security Administration (SSA) may also give your claim expedited processing if either of the following is true:

  • You’re a veteran and you have received a 100 percent permanent and total disability compensation rating from the Department of Veterans Affairs
  • You’re a current or former member of the military who sustained a physical or mental impairment while on active duty status

When to File a Social Security Disability Dire Need Request

You may have a pressing need for assistance, but you cannot file a request for faster processing with your initial disability application. And if your claim is denied, writing a DNL won’t expedite the reconsideration review, the first stage of the appeal process.

The only way a DNL could help is if the reconsideration doesn’t find in your favor. Submitting the letter at this point, when you request an appeal hearing before an administrative law judge, could shave a few months off of the wait time.

How to Write an Effective Dire Need Letter

Due to high case volumes, the SSA is unable to expedite disability claim processing for everyone who submits a DNL. For a better chance at speeding up your appeal hearing, you’ll need a compelling letter. SSD experts recommend:

  • Writing the DNL yourself, as authenticity is crucial
  • Including as many details as possible in the letter
  • Attaching documentation that supports your claim

You can, of course, get guidance and advice on how to write a DNL. Here at Mountain West Disability, we assist clients with every stage of the SSD process. And while our professional team cannot guarantee an approval of your disability claim, we only collect a fee if we’re able to score a win.

Mountain West Disability, based in northern Utah, has been helping clients across the country for many years. For more information on Social Security disability dire need requests, contact us today.

Social Security Disability Claims – Debunking the Myths

The Social Security Disability claims process can be quite confusing, and most people in need of information turn to the internet. Unfortunately, much of what they find isn’t actually correct.

Quite a few misconceptions about Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) are floating around, many of which sound completely believable. Below, we shed light on several of the most pervasive myths concerning SSD claims.

SSDI facts and myths

Myth: You Need to Be Disabled for a Year Before Appling for Benefits

Reality: You can file an SSD claim as soon as you become disabled and unable to earn a living. You don’t have to wait a year to apply – rather, the illness or injury that prevents you from working must be expected to last for at least 12 months.

Myth: You Can’t Receive Disability Benefits if You Have a Job

Reality: The Social Security Administration (SSA) allows you to work and receive disability benefits – in fact, they want you to earn a living to the best of your ability. There’s a maximum amount you can make and still be eligible, but your SSD claim won’t be denied just because you’re currently employed.

Myth: Every Social Security Disability Claim is Initially Denied

Reality: Though many people who file SSD claims are denied the first time they file, this isn’t always the case. The Social Security Administration approves some claims at the outset, and some applicants start receiving disability benefits within months of their filing date.

Myth: Your Condition Must Be in the Blue Book to Get SSD Benefits

Reality: The SSA uses what’s known as the Blue Book, which lists disabling physical and mental impairments, in making decisions about SSD claims. But if your illness or injury isn’t listed, you can still qualify for disability benefits if it prevents you from doing any gainful work activity.

Myth: Getting Expert Help with a Disability Claim Costs Too Much

Reality: The law limits how much disability advocates can charge for their services. Furthermore, the fees are typically contingency based – which means you won’t pay a dime until your SSD claim is approved. And the payment for your advocate will automatically come out of your past-due benefits, so you don’t have to worry about coming up with the money.

Do you want the facts on Social Security Disability claims? The expert advocates at Mountain West Disability, based in northern Utah, can answer your questions and explain everything you need to know about applying for Supplemental Security Income or Disability Insurance Benefits.

The Mountain West Disability team can also guide you through the entire SSD claims filing process – and we’ll do whatever we can to help you get the benefits you need. To learn more about our advocate services, or to schedule a free consultation to discuss your Social Security Disability claim, contact us today.

Should You File a Supplemental Security Income Claim?

If your income is limited and you have few resources, filing a Supplemental Security Income claim could be in your best interests.

SSI, a federally funded program administered by the Social Security Administration, can provide you with the financial support you need – if, that is, you qualify to receive benefits. Here, we explain the SSI eligibility requirements, benefit amounts and how to file an application.

How to determine SSI eligibility

Qualifying for SSI Benefits

To be eligible for SSI benefits, one of the following must be true:

  • You’re under 65 years of age
  • You’re partially or totally blind
  • You have a disabling medical condition that will prevent you from working for at least one year

In addition, you must have a limited income. For an individual in 2020, that means earning no more than $783 per month, and for a couple, the monthly earning must be no higher than $1,175. But, not all income counts for the SSI benefit program, so you can bring home more money and still qualify.

Because SSI is a needs-based program, you must also have limited assets. The limits on resources are $2,000 for individuals and $3,000 for couples, but that total doesn’t include everything you own. For instance, the SSA doesn’t count the value of the home you live in and that of your primary vehicle.

SSI Benefit Amounts

If you file a Supplemental Security Income claim, how much can you expect to receive each month?

Everyone who qualifies gets the same basic SSI benefit payment, which is equal to the income limit. For 2020, that amount is:

  • $783 for an individual
  • $1,175 for a couple

However, many states – including Utah – administer supplemental payments, which increase the monthly SSI benefit amount. Conversely, based upon where you live and the size of your household, you could receive less.

Filing an SSI Claim

You can start the application for SSI benefits online, or you could choose to set up an in-person or telephone appointment with an agent from your local Social Security Administration office. For an easier time, however, you may want to work with a Social Security Disability advocate.

An experienced advocate, like the team at Mountain West Disability in northern Utah, can handle every aspect of the Supplemental Security Income claim process. Plus, since Social Security Disability advocates work on a contingency basis, you won’t have to worry about upfront fees – and you can count on an advocate to make every effort to ensure your claim is approved.

For more information on how Mountain West Disability can help you get the SSI benefits you need, or to get expert assistance with your Supplemental Security Income claim, contact our Murray, Utah, office today.