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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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SSA Red Book Updated for 2020


Social Security recently published the long-awaited 2020 version of their Red Book. This handy publication that clearly describes itself in its sub-heading of “A Summary Guide to Employment Supports for Persons with Disabilities under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Programs” is available in PDF,…  
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A Quick Look at How To Qualify for SSDI


Before you set off on that rather arduous trek that is the application process for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), it’s certainly worth making sure that you’re heading out on the right path. If you don’t meet all of the following criteria then your application will be over before it’s…  
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Haven’t Received Your Economic Impact Payment Yet? A Prepaid Debit Card May Be on Its Way


The US Department of the Treasury announced this week that in order to speed up the process for distribution of the Economic Impact Payments (EIP) to the population some four million individuals will be receiving prepaid debit cards instead of the paper check they may have been expecting. Stopping short…  
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Update on Economic Impact Payments


The Social Security Administration recently issues some updates on the schedule of the much sought-after Economic Impact Payments that have begun to be issued around the country. These updates concern recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Social Security retirement and survivors benefits who did not…  
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Maryland Food Stamp Recipients Receiving Increased Allotments


Maryland Department of Human Services (DHS) has joined other agencies both federal and state in responding positively to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this case it has increased its funding of the officially titled Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), but more commonly known as food stamps, by a healthy $66 million….  
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Maryland Unemployment Insurance –


On April 24th the Maryland Department of Labor launched it’s new BEACON one-stop application for Marylanders to file claims for all benefit types including the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. This enabled those who are self-employed, independent contractors, gig workers, sole proprietors, or have insufficient work history to finally file…  
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CMS Announces Changes to Medicare During COVID-19


The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic by adapting some of its regulations regarding Medicare services so as to counter a number of the issues that we are all undergoing at the present time. As we are now severely restricted in where we…  
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