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Social Security Relax Reporting Requirements for Representative Payees


Social Security have recently decided to cut down on administrative work for certain representative payees and are no longer requiring the completion of the annual Representative Payee Report. The report, which payees complete to account for the use of the income that the beneficiary receives, is no longer required as…  
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2019 Medicare Parts A & B Premiums and Deductibles Announced!


The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced the changes to Medicare Parts A and B premiums and deductibles for 2019. While 99% of Medicare recipients pay no Part A premiums, inpatient deductibles will increase from $1,364 in 2018 to $1,340 in 2019. Next year the standard monthly…  
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Questions about Unincurred Business Expenses? Social Security Has the Answers


Social Security’s Ticket to Work program has been running a highly reader-friendly series on work incentives and recently pointed the spotlight on Unincurred Business Expenses, which is one of the incentives available to self-employed SSDI recipients. You can find some straight answers to frequently asked questions right here: https://choosework.ssa.gov/library/faq-unincurred-business-expenses


2019 SSI and SSDI COLAs Announced!


Social Security has announced the Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) for 2019 and it’s good news as there will be a 2.8% increase in benefits in the new year. This means that the standard SSI Federal Payment for an individual will go from $750 to $771 a month; an SSI…  
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Cash on The Nail: Emergency Advance Payments (EAP) and Immediate Payments (IP)


It is somewhat heartening to find that Social Security has recognized that there are times and situations where some people will find themselves utterly without a means to pay for necessary services. To that end the agency has gone some way to provide financial assistance to those in need by…  
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Wait For It: SSI and Retrospective Monthly Accounting


Given the tight space between subsistence and penury in which SSI recipients are often required to exist it is something of a peculiarity of the SSI program that there’s a specific policy that can appear to leave beneficiaries bereft at the very moment they have the greatest need, whilst allowing…  
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What’s Different When Working on Child’s Benefits


Within the wonderful work of federal and state benefits we encounter benefits programs that seem determined to add to their already confusing regulations by laboring under titles that are unquestionably similar to other programs. Thus we have SSI and SSDI, Medicare and Medicaid, and here in Maryland there’s EID (Employed…  
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Compassionate Allowances: Social Security’s Fast-Track to Benefits Eligibility


As anyone who has applied for SSDI and/or SSI knows there’s the rather long and tedious application to get through. As part of that application you have to provide as much medical evidence of your disability as you possibly can, and if you don’t have it to hand then you’re…  
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Social Security Administration’s 2018 Red Book Out Now!


The much anticipated update of Social Security’s Red Book is finally available. The annually published guide is a general reference source for beneficiaries, providers, and the generally curious who need to know about work incentives and employment-related provisions for both the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance…  
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Job Vacancies – Benefits Case Manager


Job Announcements! Maryland Benefits Counseling Network – Benefits Case Manager  The Maryland Benefits Counseling Network is seeking two full-time contractual Benefits Case Managers to provide benefits technical assistance and work incentives counseling to assist individuals within Maryland State psychiatric hospitals to transition successfully into the community. Positions will serve as…  
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Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Made Better Yet


There has been a quite notable change to the ABLE program in Maryland, which actually came into effect on June 1 of this year. The change was designed to be more generous to beneficiaries and goes further than federal regulations in taking consumers’ needs into account. Thanks to a couple…  
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All About EID: Seeking Feedback on Your Experience


If you are currently enrolled in or have had experience applying for Maryland’s Employed Individuals with Disabilities (EID) program, please consider taking a moment to fill out a survey and provide feedback about your experience – positive or negative. Willing to Work, a newly formed Maryland initiative, is seeking personal…  
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Wage Reporting: Now with Automatic Reminders


In a further update to the new wage reporting options, Social Security is now offering beneficiaries the chance to opt in for an automatic reminder to report their wages. It doesn’t matter which method anyone uses to report their wages, be it by mobile app, phone reporting, by accessing their myssa…  
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2018 1619b Threshold Amounts Announced!


It has been a long while coming, but Social Security have just announced the 2018 threshold amounts for 1619b and in Maryland it has increased from $40,005 to $40,365. For a full list of those changes and for some more information on 1619b please have a look here: https://www.ssa.gov/disabilityresearch/wi/1619b.htm


Breaking News! On-line Wage Reporting Now Available to SSI Recipients


It was not too long ago that any working SSI beneficiary had quite limited and decidedly 20th century methods for reporting his earnings to Social Security. Those options expanded with the introduction of the automated Telephone Wage Reporting system (SSITWR) and the Mobile Wage Reporting application (SSIMWR). Those methods remain…  
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Taking Account of Blind Work Expenses (BWE)


The existence of the rather enticing range of work incentives shows that there’s no denying that Social Security has an interest in encouraging all beneficiaries to see if they can keep working or return to work in some capacity. While there are incentives that cover all recipients, such as the…  
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From Out of the Shadows (Part Two): Unsuccessful Work Attempts


As was promised in last week’s blog this week we’ll be looking at the Unsuccessful Work Attempt (UWA). UWA is another unheralded and under-documented ‘tool’ available to Social Security staff when they’re trying to assess if an SSDI recipient is really working at Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) levels. As with…  
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From Out of the Shadows (Part One): Income Averaging


Tucked away in the vast folds of the SSA’s Program Operating Manual System (POMS) are a couple of Substantial Gainful Activity tools that Social Security must apply to SSDI beneficiaries who are beyond the Trial Work Period but have not yet established a cessation month. Beneficiaries can’t apply for them…  
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Maryland Employment Network is hiring!


The Maryland Employment Network is looking to fill a newly created Career Consultant position! This position is highly independent, and primary responsibilities include assisting individuals with varying disabilities obtain and maintain jobs in the community, as well as building a network of employer partners. The ideal candidate must have a…  
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Needs Improvement: Medical Continuing Disability Reviews


One of the great incentives of the Ticket to Work is that if you have your ticket assigned and if you’re making what Social Security terms ‘timely progress’ you are absolved of having to undergo the chore, infrequent though it may be, of the Medical Continuing Disability Review (CDR). The…  
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A Rite of Passage: The SSI Age-18 Redetermination


There are quite a few milestones along the way as we get older but reaching the age of 18 has come to be a point when you can really acknowledge that you aren’t a child anymore. Of course, you’re not allowed to do everything (notwithstanding the laws on drinking, you’re…  
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The Student Earned Income Exclusion: Appealing to Working Youth


There can be little dispute that the Student Earned Income Exclusion (SEIE) is one of the more generous work incentives devised by the Social Security Administration. As is the nature of all good deals, it’s only actually available to a relatively small percentage of the population, and only if they…  
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New Medicare Cards are Coming Soon!


The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has made changes to the Medicare card and it’s on its way. CMS will be phasing in the new cards gradually and on a state by state basis. Maryland is one of the first states slated for the new cards and beneficiaries…  
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Just Like Starting Over: Expedited Reinstatement and the Initial Reinstatement Period


It might seem that once someone has worked herself off benefits it would be quite the challenge to get them back again, but, under certain circumstances, it is easier to resume eligibility than it is for those seeking benefits for the first time. This is all thanks to the provision…  
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Total and Permanent Disability Discharge: True Student Loan Forgiveness


In 2015 the Student Aid Bill of Rights included plans to make paying for higher education easier for more Americans. As part of that plan the Department of Education teamed up with the Social Security Administration to identify Social Security beneficiaries who would be eligible for a student loan forgiveness…  
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A Few Words on Social Security’s Acronyms


Many of us have now heard of the story of the aged aunt who means to send ‘lots of love’ but instead ‘laughs out loud’ at the news of the death of a loved one. The LOL snafu has hopefully finally been universally resolved but there is no denying that…  
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Those Golden Years: Earned Income and Retirement Benefits


As we enter our sixties there hovers on the near horizon both the haven and the challenge of retirement. For all of us, current SSI/SSDI beneficiaries or not, there are also some quite novel regulations with regard to how Social Security treats us and our earned income. The earliest age…  
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Maryland Employment Network Website Has Arrived!


We are delighted to be able to announce the launch of the new Maryland Employment Network (MD-EN) website! Job seekers, this new-look site will help you learn all about MD-EN, their team of vocational rehabilitation partners, and how they can work with you to achieve your employment goals. It also…  
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Reporting Earnings to Social Security: Common Myths Debunked


The sight of any letter from Social Security often causes your average SSI or SSDI recipient, from fear of what lies within, to want to cast the offending item, unopened, into the nearest recycling bin. Although there are some quite innocuous reasons why Social Security might wish to resume a…  
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Reminder – 2018 SSI & SSDI Figures Are Now In Effect!


The new year brings with it new figures to be aware of with regard to SSI and SSDI. As was broadcasted on this website back in October, SSI and SSDI recipients’ benefit amounts have seen a 2% COLA increase. This change means that the maximum amount of SSI an individual…  
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