Posts in:Blog

Social Security Announces Changes to their Overpayment Process

Posted March 29, 2024 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

An overpayment occurs when the Social Security Administration (SSA) pays an individual more benefits than what they are eligible to receive.  These overpayments most commonly occur when SSA incorrectly calculates the benefits owed to a claimant.  They can also occur if SSA obtains new information that results in either a reduction in what should have been paid, or renders a claimant ineligible for a period for which they already received benefits. 

These overpayments cause a substantial hardship on claimants who are relying on their benefit payments just to get by.  By law, SSA is required to collect these overpayments back from a claimant.  Unfortunately, in many cases, claimants do not realize they have been paid incorrectly and spend the benefits immediately to avoid foreclosure, pay off credit cards, or pay medical bills.  Once SSA realizes they have overpaid an individual, they will start collecting that money back.  If the claimant cannot pay the full amount immediately, SSA can take a claimant’s entire monthly benefit.  This results in disabled Americans facing the same financial hardship that led to them filing for benefits in the first place. 

We are excited to hear that SSA has now changed their overpayment policies to be much more favorable to claimants.  Instead of withholding a claimant’s entire benefit amount to recover an overpayment, SSA is now defaulting to recovering no more than 10% of a claimant’s monthly benefit.  Their agency is also extending the period they will approve payment plans by an additional two years (from 36 to 60 months).  Finally, claimants who request overpayment waivers no longer have to prove they are not at fault for the overpayment.  That burden is now on the agency. 

There is nothing more frustrating for our firm than to see a disabled person who desperately needs financial support have their benefits taken merely because a calculation error occurred.  The changes to SSA’s overpayment collection process are a welcome change that we are excited to see going forward. 

By: Devon Brady of Premier Disability Services, LLC

The Trial Work Period Before Being found Disabled

Posted February 18, 2024 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

In the process of your case for disability, you may think that your impairments have improved. You may feel like you can go back to work, but you are scared to do so. After all, your case for Social Security benefits has lasted this long and you don’t want to go through it all again, so you may find it risky to return to work at all.

            The good news is that the Social Security Administration has a rule that allows you to test your ability to return to work.[1] A “Trial Work Period” is a time in which you can test your ability to work and still be found disabled.[2] This test can happen before you get benefits or after you receive benefits.

            There are some limitations with attempting to go back to work. The first is that you cannot work for more than 9 months in a 5-year period.[3] The months that you do not work do not have to be consecutive, so you could work for 3 months, 4, months, then 2 months and the work would still be considered a “Trial Work Period”.

Another requirement is that you cannot test your ability to perform work within 1 year of the day you became disabled, or your “Alleged Onset Date”.[4] The reason for this requirement is that the Social Security Administration wants to make sure that your impairments really did last for a full 12 months, as injuries that can heal that quickly are not considered when determining disability. Lastly, you must be eligible to receive ongoing benefits before returning to work.[5] This requirement means that there is enough medical evidence in the file to prove that you were disabled prior to returning to work. We at Premier Disability Services, LLC will work diligently to make sure this requirement is met, from requesting medical records to writing letters to judges to point out why the medical records show you are disabled. So contact us today if you are interested in having us represent you in your claim for Social Security Disa

[1] 20 CFR § 404.1592

[2] 20 CFR § 404.1592(a)

[3] 20 CFR § 404.1592(e)(2)

[4] 20 CFR § 404.1592(d)(2)(iii)

[5] 20 CFR § 404.1592(d)(2)(i)

Working While Filing For Disability

Posted January 4, 2024 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

The wait for receiving Social Security disability benefits can be a long, exhausting wait. From filing the initial application to possibly waiting for a hearing, an appeal, or a federal claim, the process can take up to several years before you could see your benefits. In that time, it may be hard to make ends meet and you may feel that you need to tough out your impairments to go back to work. The good news is that there are several ways that you can go back to work and possibly still be found disabled.

            The first is the “Trial Work Period”. We discuss that ability in detail in another article, so feel free to read that one as well. In summary, so long as you go back to work at least 12 months after your initial date you were disabled and you don’t work for more than 9 months in total, it should not affect your ability to receive benefits.[1]

            The second is the “Unsuccessful Work Attempt”. If you go back to work at any time, it could be an unsuccessful work attempt because you couldn’t continue working for a long time due to your impairment.[2] There are other requirements, so please give us at Premier Disability Services, LLC a call to find out what the other factors are.

            The third is the “Sheltered Work Environment”. If you go back to work, your employer may be allowing you to work for them despite your disabilities.[3] There are several factors that the Social Security Administration will consider when figuring out if this rule would apply. Overall, the goal is to find that you are being paid more money than the actual value of the work that you provide. To find out if any of the factors apply today, call our office and we can help walk  you through it!

            Overall, the Social Security Administration has several rules and procedures that allow you to try to return to work or return to work with special conditions. The experts in our company are very familiar with these rules and are willing to help you navigate these complicated rules as your representative before the Social Security Administration.

[1] 20 CFR § 404.1592

[2] 20 CFR § 404.1574(c)

[3] 20 CFR 404.1573(c)