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Charlotte Social Security Disability Blog

Do trusts affect my SSI benefits?

Individuals in Charlotte and throughout North Carolina can seek Supplemental Security Income if they meet the various financial and personal requirements. These include having resources under a certain level, as well as being blind, disabled or over the age of 65. Some people have various financial situations that might call their eligibility into question. One is if they have a trust. The Social Security Administration addresses how having a trust might affect a person's ability to be approved when applying for SSI benefits.

A trust allows one party to control property for another's benefit. A person who is getting SSI can have a trust in some cases. In that trust, there can be cash and other liquid assets as well as property that can be transitioned into cash. In general, the trust will be considered a resource when applying or retaining SSI. With a revocable trust, the entire trust is the person's resource. With an irrevocable trust, if there are parts of the trust in which payments could be made to benefit the person, then that amount will be viewed as a resource. Resources are a key factor in determining a person's eligibility for SSI.

What if I believe the judge was unfair in my disability case?

For residents of North Carolina who are seeking Social Security disability benefits, one of the last things they will think might damage their application is if the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) treats them unfairly. However, if there is a belief that there has been different treatment because of age, race, sex, disability, financial standing, or any other reason, the Social Security Administration should be told. Doing so could affect the case's outcome.

The SSA will examine a case in which there are allegations of unfairness or discrimination. A complaint should be filed even if the applicant does not intend to appeal the case. The complaint must be received by the SSA within 180 days of the date the action occurred or when the applicant found out about the behavior. This can be done even while the decision on the application is in progress.

Can I keep my SSI benefits if I enter a medical facility?

People who are suffering from a condition, illness or injury and meet certain federal requirements can seek Supplemental Security Income. However, given that they are suffering from a medical issue, it is not unusual for them to need hospitalization or a stay at a nursing facility. A question that is often asked is whether a person who enters a facility can continue to receive SSI benefits. The answer is yes, but there are certain rules that go along with that.

If a recipient of SSI benefits enters a hospital, nursing home, or other facility with Medicaid paying for greater than half of the cost, the SSI will be reduced to $30 monthly. A person who receives income in addition to SSI might have their SSI lowered based on that income. Individuals who are 18 and older and reside in a public medical facility without Medicaid paying for more than half of the costs cannot get SSI. For a child under 18 who enters a facility with Medicaid or private insurance paying for all or for more than half of the stay, the benefit will be limited to $30 monthly. If the child has income, the SSI can be reduced further.

Do you have cancer? You could qualify for disability benefits

Cancer is a terrible disease that robs North Carolina residents of much of their ability to enjoy life, and for some victims of this disease, it also robs them of their ability to work. If you have cancer and you are unable to work because of the disease's effects on your body or the negative effects of treatment, you could be eligible for financial support through the Social Security Administration.

The SSA considers cancer to be a qualifying disease for disability benefits, but it can be complex to actually secure the financial support you need. If you believe that you may have a rightful claim to these benefits because of your disease, you do not have to navigate any aspect of the claims process alone.

When denied SSD benefits, a lawyer can help with an appeal

North Carolina residents who apply for Social Security disability and are denied might be under the impression that the case is over and they have no alternatives to appeal. However, that is not the case, and it is a mistake to believe that to be so. Many applications are initially denied and later approved. Sometimes it takes several levels of appeal, but it is possible to have the initial rejection reversed. Understanding how to appeal is key, and a lawyer is often vital to the process.

It is not unusual for SSD benefits applications to be denied when they are first made. In many instances, the denial is only due to a lack of information or mistakes that a person might have made because they did not have legal help when applying. Failing to secure legal assistance for the appeal only compounds the initial error and can lead to another denial. There are numerous aspects to an appeal that must be understood before pushing forward with it.

Evidence from schools and acquaintances in a disability case

For a North Carolina resident who is suffering from mental illness to be approved for Social Security disability benefits, there must be evidence presented to the Social Security Administration to show that he or she meets certain federal requirements. There are multiple forms of evidence that are acceptable to the SSA, but many applicants are unaware that people who know them - friends, relatives, acquaintances - can provide this evidence to help prove the case. Schools and vocational programs can also provide records to indicate that the applicant filing for disability benefits has certain issues that warrant an approval for disability benefits.

The SSA will consider evidence from people who know the claimant and how the mental problems affect their daily functioning. These people will be asked about the symptoms, how it affects the claimant's daily ability to function, and what medical treatment the claimant is receiving. Third-parties can provide this information, but the applicant must give them permission to share it. People who fall into this category include relatives, friends, religious advisors, social workers, case managers, and anyone who has contact or is aware of the applicant's problems. The statements they give will be examined for consistency with medical and other forms of evidence.

What are burial funds and do they affect my SSI benefits?

There are many different rules for North Carolinians who are seeking to receive or are already receiving Supplemental Security Income through the Social Security disability program. One benefit that might not be thought about frequently is burial funds. Often, people do not know the details of a burial fund and how it might affect their SSI benefits. That, however, does not diminish its importance.

Quite simply, a burial fund is meant to help pay for burial expenses. It can be placed in a bank account, be part of a prepaid arrangement for the burial, or be placed in another financial instrument. A burial fund does not count as a resource for SSI benefits provided that it does not go beyond a certain value. The person and his or her spouse can set up to $1,500 aside to pay for burial costs without seeing their SSI benefits diminish. If there is a life insurance policy or some other burial arrangement that goes beyond the $1,500, then the fund might be viewed as a resource. The basic limit for resources that an individual can have is $2,000. For a couple, the limit is $3,000.

What if I need a consultative examination for my SSD benefits?

For North Carolina residents who are ill or injured, Social Security disability benefits are vital to their everyday survival. When applying for SSD benefits, it is necessary to meet certain medical requirements in order to be approved. In some instances, however, the case cannot be decided based on the initial medical information that the claimant provides. If this occurs, it will be necessary to have a consultative examination (CE). It is important to understand the details of this examination, as it can play a crucial role in the outcome of a claim adjudication.

If the initial medical examination is not sufficient, the medical source might be contacted to get more information, or the CE will be required. In general, the Social Security Administration prefers to use the initial medical source's findings to come to a decision. However, if the CE is needed, the SSA will pay for it.

Getting ready to appeal a denied SSD claim

If you are unable to hold gainful employment as the result of an injury or illness, it is important for your well-being and the stability of your North Carolina family to secure certain financial support. You may believe that you have a valid claim to Social Security Disability benefits, and it could be devastating to learn that your claim came back denied.

A denied disability claim is frustrating, but it is not the end of the road for you. You could have grounds to move forward with an appeal. You have the right to keep fighting for the support you need, and you also have the right to seek help for the entire application and appeals processes.

Will my living arrangements affect my SSI benefits?

If a North Carolina resident meets the financial requirements for the need-based program of Supplemental Security Income under the Social Security disability program, there are certain factors that must be known with the benefits. One is living arrangements. If a person lives in his or own residence and pays for food and shelter, it is possible to get the maximum amount available in SSI benefits. This is true whether the person owns or rents. If the person lives in someone else's home but pays for food and shelter, it is also possible to get maximum SSI. For someone who lives in someone else's home but does not pay for food and shelter or pays partially for food and shelter, the SSI might be reduced by as much as one-third.

In general, living expenses will not have an influence on SSI. It is a program that focuses on income and not expenses. If there is another person who is assisting the recipient with living expenses, the SSI can be reduced. If the help comes from a spouse who is living with the recipient, it will not be reduced. It will also not be reduced if it is a minor child who is living with a parent or parents. The amount of food and shelter that is calculated is limited. It is one-third of the maximum federal amount for SSI, plus $20.

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