Scammers Target Social Security Disability Applicants

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Text MessagingWhat You Need to Know

  1. Patrick P. O’Carroll, Jr., Inspector General for the Social Security Administration, warns those who are applying for disability and those receiving benefits about a texting scam. The text requests applicants and beneficiaries “call a telephone number for information about their Social Security disability benefit claims.”
  1. The text message reads “Disability Alert: Please call 253-xxx-xxx regarding your recent disability benefits application.”
  1. The Inspector General, in a Fraud Advisory Press Release, said that Social Security will NEVER send you a text message about your application. He also said that, “Social Security representatives may call to follow up on a benefit application-but they will not send text messages-and they generally will not ask for personal identifiers or financial information.”
  1. This type of texting scam is just one way thieves attempt to obtain personal information. If you would like more information on identity theft, and other ways people attempt to get your information click here. You can also contact the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-ID-THEFT for more information, or to report identity theft.
  1. If you receive a suspicious text message regarding your Social Security Application contact the Social Security Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271 from 10am to 4pm Easter Time, or online here.

ALICE Report Highlights Hoosier Struggles

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Many Hoosiers are pinching pennies to get by.

The United Ways of several states, including Indiana, have partnered to produce the ALICE report, and the numbers for Indiana are in. According to the United Way’s website, ALICE stands for asset limited, income constrained, employed, “and represents the population of individuals and families who are working, but are unable to afford the basic necessities of housing, food, child care, health care, and transportation.” The report, focusing on Indiana, was released Monday November 10th, and highlights the struggles Hoosiers face every day to make ends meet.

Do Federal Poverty Levels Need Updating?

The foundation of the report is the notion that the Federal Poverty Guidelines are out of date and inadequate. To quote the report, “Yet the Indiana poverty rate of 14 percent obscures the true magnitude of financial instability in the state. The official U.S. poverty rate, which was developed in 1965, has not been updated since 1974, and is not adjusted to reflect cost of living differences across the U.S.” To better measure the true number of struggling Hoosiers the report attempts to update the poverty guidelines which are currently $23,050 for a family, and $11,170 for a single adult. The United Way, based on the current cost of living in Indiana, created an annual Household Survival Budget and an annual Household Stability Budget. The Survival Budget is absolutely bare bones, and does not allow for any savings. For a family of four the annual Survival Budget is $46,495, and for a single adult it is $17,026. The annual Household Stability Budget is, “one that enables not just survival, but self-sufficiency.” For a family of four in Indiana the annual stability budget is $82,740, and for a single adult it is $22,836.

Many Hoosiers Make Less Than The Household Survival Budget

The number of Hoosiers making less than the annual Survival Budget is staggering. The report states that 922,342 households (37 percent) are below the ALICE threshold, or make less than the annual Survival Budget. How far from the Survival Budget are these households? According to the report, “ALICE and poverty-level households earn only 36 percent of the income needed to reach the ALICE Threshold for basic economic survival.” What’s most disturbing is that even when factoring in government, nonprofit, and health care resources these households, “remain 23 percent short of the income needed to reach the ALICE Threshold.” This means that after applying all of our current aid mechanisms households below the ALICE Threshold collectively fall $7.9 billion dollars short (23 percent) of reaching the ALICE Threshold.

Report Highlights Inequality in Indiana – Women Hurting

The ALICE report is full of interesting statistics about the State. One being, “Sixty-nine percent of all jobs in Indiana pay less than $20 per hour ($40,000 per year if full-time), and more than half (51 percent) pay less than $15 per hour ($30,000 per year if full-time). It goes on to state that in order to reduce the number of ALICE households, “a significant increase in the wages of current jobs or in the number of medium-and high-skilled jobs in both the public and private sectors in Indiana” is necessary. It also highlights income inequality in the State which, “increased by 17 percent from 1979 to 2012.” Currently, if you are in the top 20 percent of wage earners in the State you make 48 percent of all the income. The report notes that if five Hoosiers divided 100.00 based on the current distribution of income in the State then the first person would get 48.00, the second 24.00, the third 15.00, the fourth 9.00, and the last would get 4.00.

Other facts coming from the report expose the wage disparity between women and men in Indiana, which the report believes helps to explain why so many households headed by single women fall below the ALICE Threshold (54 percent). The report says, “Indiana has the sixth-lowest earnings ratio of any state in the country, with women earning just 73 percent of what men earn.” This disparity persists even among those who have achieved educational degrees. “In terms of education, men earn at least 40 percent more than women across all educational levels: the highest earnings gap is 59 percent for those with some college or an associate’s degree.”

Disabled Hoosiers Hit Hard

The ALICE report also highlights the struggles Hoosiers with disabilities face to get by. Disturbingly, “15 percent of people in Indiana have a lasting physical, mental, or emotional disability that impedes them from being independent or able to work.” Not only this, but for those who are working, they tend to make less. According to the report, those who are working with a disability make a median wage of $17,335 compared to the median wage of a non-disabled Hoosier which is $28,484. The report also notes that a household with a disabled member is twice as likely to be in poverty or below the ALICE Threshold.

Finally, from the years 2007 to 2012 the State saw a 39 percent increase in those receiving SSI benefits, a 12 percent increase in those receiving Social Security Income, and a 55 percent increase in those receiving Food Stamps. During this same time Indiana, “against the trend of most states,” saw a decrease in those receiving TANF or GA of 7 percent.

Get Assistance if You’re in Need

These numbers demonstrate the huge portion of Hoosiers struggling to get by. If you or someone you love is having trouble making ends meet, don’t feel like you are alone, or that it is your fault. There are programs that you can utilize to help you through difficult times. A Social Security Disability attorney at Hensley Legal Group can help you understand your options, and will work with you to ensure you get the help you need and deserve. Do you have questions about these programs? Call us today. We never charge for a consultation, and we work on a contingency fee basis which means you don’t pay us unless you get paid. Call today at 1-888-436-7539, or you can reach us via the web. Fill out the ‘Get Help Now’ form, and someone from our office will contact you immediately to discuss your options.

Spine Disorders That May Qualify for Social Security Disability in Indiana

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You could be eligible to receive Indiana SSI or SSDI benefits if your functional abilities are severely limited and you can no longer work. To learn if you are entitled to Social Security disability benefits, you should speak with a disability attorney in Indianapolis. An attorney can evaluate your case to determine if you are eligible.

One category found under the musculoskeletal listing of impairments is disorders of the spine. If you meet Social Security Administration’s (SSA) criteria, you could be entitled to disability benefits.

These spine disorders may qualify for Social Security disability:

  • vertebral fracture;
  • herniated nucleus pulposus;
  • facet arthritis;
  • spinal arachnoiditis;
  • osteoarthritis;
  • spinal stenosis; and
  • degenerative disc disease.

These spine disorders must also result in the nerve root or the spinal cord being compromised.

When you are suffering from a severe medical condition or injury related to the musculoskeletal system, Indiana SSI and SSDI benefits may be available. To learn if you qualify and how you can improve your chance at having your application for disability benefits approved, you should speak with a disability attorney in Indianapolis as soon as possible.

A Helping Hand from Disability Attorney in Indianapolis

When you have complications with your Social Security disability benefits claim, the help of a disability attorney in Indianapolis is crucial to getting the assistance you need. In order to get back on track with your Social Security benefits claim, order a copy of our complimentary book, 8 Mistakes to Avoid When Filing for Social Security Disability Benefits, then contact a Social Security attorney at the Hensley Legal Group for a no-cost consultation - (317) 472-3333.

Extension of Trial Work Period in Your Indiana Social Security Disability Case

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Although you may receive Social Security disability benefits, you could be required to engage in a trial work period, which tests your ability to work. Your benefits will not stop at this time. If you have questions concerning your claim, then you may need help from a Social Security disability lawyer.

Once you have completed the trial work period, if your disability benefits end because you were able to work at the substantial gainful activity (SGA), your benefits may be automatically reinstated.
You won’t even need to fill out a new application.

However, this can only happen if your earnings drop below the SGA level during any month. The reinstatement will extend for 36 consecutive months, after you have completed the trial work period. In addition to your earnings falling under the SGA level for any particular month, it must also be demonstrated that you continue to have a disabling impairment.

An attorney in Indiana, particularly Indianapolis, who handles Social Security disability claims, can help if you have concerns or questions about your ability to engage in a trial work period while disabled. Or if your application for disability benefits was denied, then an attorney can also help.

A Helping Hand from a Social Security Disability Lawyer

When you have complications with your Social Security disability benefits claim, the help of an attorney in Indianapolis, Indiana, is crucial to getting the assistance you need. In order to get back on track with your Social Security benefits claim, order a copy of our complimentary book, 8 Mistakes to Avoid When Filing for Social Security Disability Benefits, then contact a Social Security attorney at the Hensley Legal Group for a no-cost consultation at (317) 472-3333.

Waiting for Social Security Disability Benefits in Indianapolis

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When you’ve become disabled and are unable to perform your job to the best of your ability or are left out of your job completely, you may need to apply for Social Security disability benefits. Considering your impairment may leave you without your annual income, you may want to acquire the assistance of a Social Security disability attorney in Indianapolis.

Waiting for Your Social Security Claim to be Approved

It can take your claim an average of 3-5 months just to be approved
. The process as a whole may seem to take forever, considering you have to fill out forms and gather documents that show you’re disabled from work and how long your impairment will last. Once you get approved, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll start to receive benefits right away.

It can get tricky because no one knows what the future holds with your type of disability. They can only guess based on average statistics of the severity of your disability.  [Read more…]

Changes to Social Security List of Impairments Could Affect Your Claim

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In August 2010, the Social Security Administration posted changes to its listing of impairments. This is important for those seeking Social Security disability benefits because it may open up eligibility for those who may previously have been denied.

The changes to Social Security’s listing of impairments deal with speech and other special senses, such as sight and hearing.
The most up-to-date version of the listing is also helpful because it includes the medical evidence that will be required for those seeking Social Security disability benefits for these conditions.

[Read more…]