How Long for ALJ Hearing?

This morning I checked the SSA website for the time to wait for the hearing and decision of an ALJ – 381 days in the Omaha, Nebraska office.   This represents “the average number of days until final disposition of the hearing request.”  The hearing request is filed after two denials.

These numbers are updated approximately every month, and can be found at http://goo.gl/GycOy

Social Security Statement Now Available Online

Social Security Statement Now Available Online at www.socialsecurity.gov  In a recent press release, the Social Security Administration’s Commissioner Michael Astrue announced:

… an online version of the Social Security Statement is now available at www.socialsecurity.gov.  The new online Statement provides eligible workers with secure and convenient access to their Social Security earnings and benefit information.

Social Security Judges Are Now Forbidden From Searching Facebook And Internet Websites

When deciding cases, all Internet sites including Facebook are now off-limits for Social Security Judges.  Also, according to a story from the Washington Times earlier this month:

Social Security officials said they don’t object to using information gleaned from the Internet, but they don’t want the front-line deciders going out looking for it. They said that’s a job for fraud investigators to follow up on later in the process.

In 2009, I wrote on my website cautioning use of social media.  In light of the above, that advice stands.  A snoopy neighbor or fraud investigator might be looking at your information even though the Social Security Judge will not.

 

Have You Had More Than One Lawyer on Your Social Security Disability Case?

It happens, sometimes, that a person will have more than one person as their lawyer on a Social Security Disability case.  There can be many reasons.  A common example is that the disabled person moves to another state before the case is finished.

There is an excellent in-depth article on the “Disability Tips” blog written by Tomasz Stasiuk, an attorney in Colorado http://goo.gl/mo5xl

Are My Social Security Disability Benefits Taxable?

 

This is what it says in answer to that question on SSA’s website http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10024.html:

 

Some people who get Social Security will have to pay taxes on their benefits. Less than one-third of our current beneficiaries pay taxes on their benefits.

 

You will have to pay taxes on your benefits if you file a federal tax return as an “individual” and your total income is more than $25,000. If you file a joint return, you will have to pay taxes if you and your spouse have a total income that is more than $32,000.

 

For more information call the Internal Revenue Service’s toll-free number, 1-800-829-3676.

 

Publication 915 is also available on the IRS Web site http://www.irs.gov/formspubs/index.html?portlet=3

 

If you wish to have federal taxes withheld from your check, see “Can I have federal taxes withheld from my Social Security check?

 

The Social Security Administration has no authority to withhold state or local taxes from your benefit.  Many states and local authorities do not tax Social Security benefits.  You should contact your state or local taxing authority for more information.

 

Tax law is very complex.  Please talk to a tax specialist if you have any questions about taxes on your social security benefits.

Tax Benefits & Free Tax Preparation if Disabilities

According to Disability*Gov “Taxpayers with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities may qualify for a number of IRS tax credits and benefits. If you or someone else listed on your federal tax return has a disability, you may be eligible for one of the tax credits listed below. In addition, there are several programs that can help people with disabilities prepare their taxes and file them electronically for free.”
http://bit.ly/f7w52d

Did Social Security Call You?

According to SocialSecurityOnline the The National Beneficiary Survey (“NBS”) has begun. The first three rounds of the NBS were conducted in 2004, 2005, and 2006 and the fourth round of the NBS is being conducted this year (2010).

The website also states “The NBS collects data on a wide range of topics including employment, limiting conditions, experience with SSA programs, employment services, health and functional status, health insurance, income, and socio-demographic information. All information collected is strictly confidential and is not reported in any way that identifies survey respondents. The information collected for the NBS is not used by SSA to determine the continuing eligibility of respondents for disability benefits.”

There is also a “Frequently Asked Questions” section that you can see by scrolling down after you click this link.