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SSA Issues Warnings on Potential "Stimulus" Scams

Submitted by Kyle on

The Social Security Administration has periodically issued warnings to seniors and disabled individuals regarding potential scams. Recipients of Social Security Disability benefits are the target of many such scams, one of the most recent involving the promise of a sizeable check. This scam involves providing unauthorized parties with information found on the 1099 Social Security form.

The 1099 Social Security form requires a Social Security number, earnings details for several years and other private identifying information. This scam involves requesting Social Security beneficiaries to fill out the form and send it, along with a check for $100, for processing of paperwork that supposedly enables seniors to gain a tax refund or a larger tax refund. The Social Security Administration started issuing warnings in mid-October for individuals requesting 1099 statements to watch out for this scam.

Social Security Disability recipients are constantly warned regarding scams, as the disabled are often prime and easy targets for scammers. Scammers approach Social Security Disability beneficiaries, mainly through telephone calls, alleging to be employees of the Social Security Administration. Such individuals ask for personal information including social security numbers, bank account numbers and other personal and identifying information.

The current "stimulus" scam involves claims by scammers that Social Security Disability beneficiaries are entitled to a "big check", or large payout. One such couple received information from a neighbor that they could get a little over $4,000 in payouts from "help" in preparing their tax return. Because money is tight for many people and was for this couple, they looked into the offer. They were requested to send a $100 check along with their federal 1099 forms. The foundation of the scam is that it offer help with tax preparation and filing that will help Social Security beneficiaries receive additional monies. The scam also designated an end date for the offer, but beneficiaries were unable to find any additional information regarding the offer on websites or through other resources.

The Social Security Administration is asking that all Social Security Disability beneficiaries requesting a copy of their 1099 forms to be aware of this scam and not to divulge personal or financial tax information to anyone claiming to help them prepare their tax forms in order to receive additional funds.

Because of the faltering economy, the eruption of tax, IRS and Social Security Administration benefits scams are popping up around the country. Social Security Disability beneficiaries are cautioned to use common sense and discretion any time additional monies are offered. The FBI and the Social Security Administration, in conjunction with the Internal Revenue Service, encourages individuals to contact local IRS or Social Security Administration offices directly in regard to any such word-of-mouth, mail, or telephone offers of extra tax refunds or Social Security benefits.

The FBI expects all types of stimulus fraud to reach upward of $50 billion this year. Officials determined that up to 10% of federal stimulus dollars would be lost through fraud and scams. In order to protect yourself from fraud, individuals are cautioned to be proactive and do careful research. The Social Security Administration cautions Social Security Disability beneficiaries to never divulge personal information over the phone, through e-mails, websites or in person without verifying the identity of the individual to whom they are "speaking.”

Can You Apply for SSDI and SSI at the Same Time?

Submitted by Kyle on

Social Security Disability Insurance is known as SSDI. Supplemental Security Income is called SSI. What's the difference, and can you collect both at the same time? The short answer is, “Yes.” You can apply for and receive both types of benefits at the same time, and a Social Security attorney will be able to point you in the right direction and tell you which program would be best for your situation.

When Is the Right Time to File for Disability Benefits?

Submitted by Kyle on

How do you know when it's time to file for Social Security Disability benefits? The Social Security Administration encourages individuals to apply for disability benefits as soon as they become disabled. This is because the application process can take months or years from start to finish. Individuals applying for Social Security Disability benefits should fill out the required forms as soon as possible, which can be downloaded from the Social Security Administration website. To ensure faster processing, make sure you supply all requested information and fill out each form in its entirety.

Social Security Disability Eligibility Requirements

In order to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance, you must be able to prove that you are disabled according to definitions provided by the Social Security Administration. The medical eligibility requirements are the most time-consuming aspect of filing a disability claim. Individuals with severe impairments must meet requirements of the Social Security Administration's Impairment Listing Manual.

In addition to meeting medical eligibility requirements, in order to receive SSDI individuals must also meet other requirements. The injury or disability must be severe enough that it impairs your ability to function in a work environment and must be expected to last at least one year. The Disability Determination Services (DDS) examine and analyze each claim through a five-step evaluation process.

The Social Security Administration, via the Disability Determination Services, which are state-based agencies, will determine whether you're capable of performing your past job, whether you can perform any type of job, and in what capacity, based on your age, skills, education and current physical or mental limitations.

One of the most important aspects of your claim will be the RFC, or Residual Functional Capacity. This measures your ability to perform activities. For example, a consultant will assess the level of physical exertion you're able to perform and what types of restrictions or limitations are placed on your job performance based on condition. Medical consultants also analyze information from your medical records and doctor's notes regarding physical restrictions and functional ability to determine your residual functional capacity.

If you have any questions about filing for Social Security Disability benefits, it is best to consult with a knowledgeable and qualified Social Security Disability attorney or advocate. Click here to receive a free evaluation of your claim by an attorney who serves your local area.

What to Expect at a Social Security Disability Video Hearing

Submitted by Kyle on

A Social Security Disability hearing is offered to individuals who have applied for SSDI benefits when their application has initially been denied. A first disability denial is relatively common, necessitating individuals to gather more paperwork or evidence according to comments made in the denial letter. In many cases, individuals may need to attend a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.