Last updated 18 hours ago
The U.S. Social Security system is nuanced and full of trade-offs. For individuals nearing retirement, pending Social Security Income (SSI) benefits is the reward for a lifetime of work. While most retirees of the baby boomer generation will receive worry-free benefits from the Social Security Administration, those nearing their sunset years should still be wary of the following pitfalls:
Deciding when and how to collect your SSI benefits can have an impact on the amount you receive. For this reason, it is essential to consult a local attorney to discuss your financial obligations and Social Security applications. For instance, if you have a working younger spouse, you may be able to suspend your SSI checks during your 60s and receive substantially larger benefits in your 70s.
Adjusting for Inflation
Very few online calculators adjust for inflation or changes in the consumer price index. This is because the algorithm used to compute future SSI checks and cash savings goals often provides conservative numbers. Online calculators, such as those on the Social Security website, do not ask you for enough information to properly adjust your finances for inflation in the coming decades. However, consulting a local attorney may help you understand the total scope of benefits you stand to receive.
Considering Lifetime Benefits
Depending on your marriage and the age of your spouse, your strategic choices in your 60s can pay off large dividends for years to come. For instance, your spouse can receive disability benefits, and you may also be eligible to receive a spousal excess benefit. However, the calculations become very complex if you previously earned a higher salary or have been married for fewer than 10 years.
Don’t make a mistake with your SSI: consult the law office of Dixon & Johnston, P.C. Our experienced team of Illinois and Missouri attorneys has secured SSI benefits for many clients, and can use their expertise to apply the law to your situation. If you have questions about how the regulations can benefit your retirement, call our office at (618) 207-3770.
Last updated 7 days ago
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a government benefit that’s available to workers who suffer injuries or ailments that render them unable to work for at least one year. The applications for these benefits are reviewed by the Social Security Administration, which looks at a number of factors when accepting or rejecting petitions. The following is a look at the ways in which your work history can affect your SSDI benefits claim:
Past Work Experience
The federal government is overwhelmed with an influx of SSDI claims, and its examiners will scrutinize your past employment history to determine whether your injuries truly prevent you from going to back to work. First, the agency ensures that you have earned some taxable income at your last job. Second, it looks at your medical records and assesses your functioning capacity. This tells the examiner what kind of work (if any) you may still be able to perform. Third, the agency reviews your last 15 years of work experience to see if your past employment matches your remaining physical capabilities.
Future Ability to Work
The Social Security Administration will grant an SSDI claim if it is convinced that the petitioner cannot find any future work with the skills and abilities he or she has following the injury. A varied work history, particularly one involving non-physical jobs, may hurt an applicant because the agency believes that he or she can find paid work following a serious injury. If you suspect that your initial claim for SSDI benefits was incorrectly rejected, consult a local Social Security attorney as soon as possible.
The law office of Dixon & Johnston, P.C. has decades of experience helping Illinois and Missouri residents appeal their SSDI claims in front of administrative law judges. If you are worried that your previous employment history is a barrier to receiving benefits, call our office today at (618) 207-3770. We offer free initial consultations for all first-time clients, so you have nothing to lose by making an appointment.
Last updated 18 days ago
Due to the rising cost of healthcare, millions of people can’t afford to pay their medical bills. As a result, many people fall deep into debt until their only option is to file for bankruptcy.
This video from the AARP offers a few tips on how you can reduce your medical bills. One way is to simply ask your doctor or pharmacist for more affordable treatment options. Another option is to seek out affordable healthcare providers for services that aren’t covered by Medicare, including dental and eye services. Lastly, ordering your medications over the mail can reduce their cost by as much as 50%.
If your medical bills have become insurmountable, call Dixon & Johnston, P.C. at (618) 207-3770. We’re dedicated to helping residents of Bellevue and the surrounding areas escape debt and move on with their lives.
Last updated 21 days ago
Life is filled with expensive surprises. A medical emergency could burden you with insurmountable medical bills, or you might fall into debt trying to bail a loved one out of jail. If you find yourself in a difficult financial situation, you can eliminate some or all of your debt by filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, you must first pass the “means test.”
Why Does the Means Test Exist?
The Chapter 7 bankruptcy means test was introduced in 2005 as a part of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is reserved for people who are deep in debt and do not have the income to repay their creditors. The means test was designed to prevent people with high incomes from wiping out their debts through Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
How Does One Pass the Means Test?
To pass the means test, you must prove that your current income is less than the median in your state. In Illinois, the median income for a single earner is a bit more than $47,000. If you currently make less than this amount, you are eligible to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You may also pass the means test if you make more than the state median income, but devote much of your paycheck to allowed monthly expenses.
What Happens if You Don’t Pass?
If your income is higher than the state median income, the government assumes you have enough money to pay your debts outright or restructure them via Chapter 13 bankruptcy. If you opt for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will agree to a three-to-five-year debt repayment plan. If you have a complicated financial picture and think you should be able to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it’s a good idea to speak with a bankruptcy attorney.
If you’re struggling with a large amount of debt, let Dixon & Johnston, P.C. help you find solid financial ground. We have decades of experience with bankruptcy, and will gladly help you navigate this complicated process. Contact our Bellevue office at (618) 207-3770 to set up an appointment with a bankruptcy attorney.
Last updated 25 days ago
For years, older citizens either had to work well into their 70s or rely on their younger relatives to stay financially afloat. The proliferation of retirement pensions and the creation of the Social Security Administration helped make live much easier for aging Americans. However, a retirement pension may have some effect on one’s Social Security payments.
When filing your taxes, part of your Social Security benefits will be taxed if the income from your pension and personal savings exceed $25,000. If you file jointly with your spouse, your combined income must be below $32,000 to avoid further taxes. One way to avoid taxation is to request your pension in a lump sum when you retire and put it into a special account. If you’re concerned about how your pension affects your Social Security payments, you should consider contacting a Social Security attorney.
Dixon & Johnston, P.C. is dedicated to helping people throughout the Bellevue area better understand Social Security and how to get the benefits they deserve. If you have any questions about Social Security, call us at (618) 207-3770 or visit our website.