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Author Archives: Charlie Hollins

Maryland Employment Network Is Hiring!

We’re happy to announce that our colleagues at the Maryland Employment Network are looking for a bright and energetic individual to join their team as a full time Employment Specialist. The ideal candidate must have: Extensive experience and success in providing employment services to individuals with disabilities. Strong communication skills…  
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SSA Resumes Hearing Request Dismissal Policy

Early in March Social Security made it be known that they would once again allow hearing requests to be dismissed out of hand if the claim is not made in a timely manner or if the claimant fails to appear for the scheduled hearing. This decision reverses the temporary suspension…  
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BPQYs Lose IRS Records of Yearly Earnings

A significant change has been made to the Benefits Planning Query (BPQY) with the deletion of the ‘IRS Recorded Earnings (Yearly)’ section. The change has been caused by a new regulation that mandates that a fee must be charged to gain the IRS information. In an act of some nobility…  
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Still Waiting on Your Stimulus Checks? Consider the Rebate Recovery Credit

The IRS have issued the second wave of stimulus checks,  officially known as Economic Impact Payments (EIP), and are in the process of delivering a third in the amount of up to $1,400 to eligible individuals and families. If you feel you’ve missed out or didn’t receive the full $600…  
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Social Security Seeking to ‘Slam the Scam’

As part of National Consumer Protection Week the Inspector General of the Social Security Administration, Gail Ennis, has announced the second annual ‘Slam the Scam’ day, which is set for March 4. Whilst there’s likely to be an absence of cake or fireworks to celebrate the day, the plan is…  
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RELIEF Act 2021: A Shot in the Arm for Struggling Marylanders

Maryland’s Governor Hogan has just signed into effect the RELIEF Act 2021 which will provide much needed extra financial assistance to local working residents who have limited incomes. The $1 billion plus package will be providing direct payments of $300 to individuals who received the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)…  
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SNAP Happy: An Update for Food Stamp Recipients

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has had a few significant updates in recent weeks and they are positive for food stamp recipients in Maryland and around the country. It was just over a year ago, on January 27, 2020, that a public health emergency was officially declared and brought…  
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New Federal Poverty Levels Published

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) had announced the 2021 Federal Poverty Levels. The new figures show a slight increase on 2020. Whereas in 2020 it was determined that the FPL for a household of one was $12,760, it has now risen slightly to $12,880. Similarly the…  
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2021’s 1619(b) Thresholds Announced

Social Security is on the ball this year and has already announced the new threshold figures for the 1619(b) SSI work incentive. 1619(b), so-called as that is the section of the Social Security Act that defines the terms, allows working SSI beneficiaries to maintain their Medical Assistance and SSI eligibility…  
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Happy Holidays from the Maryland Benefits Counseling Network!

It’s been quite the year but all of us here at the Maryland Benefits Counseling Network (MDBCN) wish you and yours the very happiest of holiday breaks. The new year promises still a few challenges but as we look forward to the next twelve months and beyond there is hope…  
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Social Security Standardizes the Benefits Verification Letter

Social Security recently announced through their own blog the arrival of a standardized Benefits Verification letter. This has always been the simplest way of verifying your eligibility for benefits and the income you are receiving. The new and improved format will still include all the vital details of your SSI,…  
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Medicare Costs for 2021 Are Out and Up

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently published the new 2021 figures for Medicare costs. As has been the norm in recent years there have been increases across the board. While for most recipients there’s still no premium for Part A, deductibles and coinsurance have risen significantly higher…  
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Social Security Announces 2021 COLAs

The Social Security Administration has just announced the 2021 Cost Of Living Adjustments (COLA) for Social Security and SSI recipients. Across the board there will be a 1.3% increase in income. This means that for SSI recipients the individual monthly maximum income will now be $794, while a married couple…  
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Still Waiting on Your Stimulus Check? IRS Looks to TAS to Get That to You

It was as long ago as the end of March that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was tasked with the admittedly monumental challenge of distributing Economic Impact Payments (EIP), more commonly known as the stimulus payments, to all eligible adults and their dependent children. Since then they have handed out…  
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The Latest on Stimulus Checks and Unemployment

We are in something of a lull as the first round of federally funded financial assistance prompted by COVID19 has come and gone. Most eligible Americans will have received their $1,200 stimulus check, although there are still plenty who are in limbo in that regard, and the last of $600…  
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