About LoveBeingRetired

Dave Bernard is a California born and raised author and blogger with an extensive 30 year career in Silicon Valley. He has written more than 300 blogs for US News & World On Retirement and his personal blog Retirement – Only the Beginning. He has authored three books: "Are you just existing and calling it a life?"; "I want to retire! Essential Considerations for the Retiree to Be"; and " Navigating the Retirement Jungle". Dave was also a contributing writer for the books 65 Things to do when you Retire (“Positive Aging – Old is the New Young”) as well as 65 Things to do when you Retire – TRAVEL (“Travel to Discover your Family Heritage”). He lives in sunny California with his wife, his Boston Terrier "Frank" and a passion for the San Jose Sharks.

How To Apply For Social Security Disability (SSDI)

Written by Becky Wilcox

Are you unable to work due to injury or illness that causes physical of mental disability? You can apply for Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI). SSDI is a federal program meant to provide monetary assistance to people with disabilities. The Social Security Administration (SSA) oversees the program.

Are you eligible for SSDI?

Ideally, anyone who is unable to work due to some disability qualifies for disability benefits. For instance, if your previous work involved standing for long hours and your current condition prevents you from standing, you can qualify for disability benefits.

The SSA determines SSDI eligibility, and it has stringent acceptance guidelines. Mostly, they only accept individuals with medically proven disabilities. Therefore, before you apply, talk to a medical professional about your disability. The doctor will provide you with the proper medical documentation to prove that your disability is hindering your ability to work.

The doctor should provide the evidence in a written statement. The statement should outline your current medical condition and their opinion of the depth of your disability. Also, the statement should provide details on the type of work you cannot and should not do.

It is also essential that you gather your medical history, records of hospitalization, tests, and procedures leading up to your disability and provide them as proof.

When to apply for SSDI?

You should apply for disability benefits as soon as you become disabled. However, you will only start receiving the benefits after six months of disability. The six-month waiting period begins the date the SSA determines your disability began.

According to the SSA, you are disabled if:

  • You are unable to do any significant work due to your medical condition.
  • Your medical condition has prolonged and is expected to last for at least a year, or the medical condition is expected to cause our death.

How to apply for SSDI

Make an appointment at the nearest SSA office to apply for SSDI. You can either apply via phone, email, or by visiting the offices in person. Whichever application process you chose, you will have to fill out the Social Security Benefit Application form and the Adult Disability and Work History Report.

Reviewing the Adult Disability Starter Kit

Once you decide to apply for disability benefits, the first step should be getting and reviewing the Adult Disability Starter Kit. The kit contains:

  • Factsheet: the fact sheet has the SSA definitions of disability and answers questions about the disability benefits application process.
  • Checklist: the checklist contains information about the documents you should prepare for the disability benefits interview.
  • Worksheet: the worksheet helps you prepare for the interview. It has the information that the SSA will ask you and space for you to write down the answers.

The SSDI interview

A Social Security claims representative will conduct the interview. Usually, it takes at least an hour. If you went through the checklist, you know you should have the following information:

  • Certified copy birth certificate, or proof of residency if you are an immigrant.
  • If you are a vet, provide a certified copy of the military discharge form.
  • The last year’s W-2 form or federal tax returns form if you are self-employed
  • Worker’s compensation history
  • Checking or savings account number
  • SSN of your children and spouse

Filling out the worksheet you received with the starter kit is very important. It helps you prepare for the interview and helps to complete the online disability report. The information required in the worksheet is mostly related to your current medical condition and your work history.

Additional information about SSDI

  • Aside from matching the SSA’s definition of disability, you must have worked and made social security payment for at least five of the last ten years.
  • You cannot qualify for disability benefits if you are over the maximum retirement age.
  • You can apply for disability benefits when receiving worker’s compensation. However, the amount you receive will be reduced.
  • The average SSDI payments were $1,179 in 2017. The amount might not meet all your needs. For that reason, the SSA has the ‘Ticket to Work’ program that helps people who have been approved for disability to return to work.
  • Many applications are rejected the first time. You can increase the odds of qualifying for the benefits by consulting an SSDI professional, such as a disability lawyer. Remember, you have a very short window to file an appeal once your application is denied.

The application process of SSDI is not a difficult process. All you need is proper evidence of disability and to prepare the required information and documentation.

Make the Most of Retirement by Staying Active

Retirement promises a chance to escape the busy lifestyle demanded by fulltime work and raising a family. After decades spent racing madly down the path of life ever struggling to make ends meet retirement tantalizingly tempts with that light at the end of the tunnel, that shelter from the storm, that taste of freedom well deserved.

Before retiring I imagined what life would be like when (and if) I finally got there. No more stress, no more hurry-hurry, no more time spent frozen in immovable traffic, no more struggling to make ends meet. I envisioned myself setting my own comfortable pace, choosing how I spend the hours, content in the knowledge I was in charge. And for the most part it turned out to be just that. But few things worthwhile just happen.After seven years retired (that went fast!) I learned when you finally arrive at the doorstep of retirement it is important to keep moving. Without a variety of interests or passions or distractions the dreaded boredom may find its way into your days and that we do not want. It took supreme effort and commitment to get here – now is not the time to live anything less than the best possible retirement we deserve.

Keep physically active

My wife gave me a Fitbit for my sixtieth. I have always been someone who keeps active. I can’t sit still for long before I feel the urge to move. Whether heading to the garden for a little trimming or firing up the vacuum to tidy up or throwing the ball for our ball-obsessed Boston Terrier Frank or walking up the hill, I like to keep moving. After wearing the Fitbit for a month I found my antsy nature translates well into steps taken for the day. The target is 10,000 steps each day which it turns out I regularly attain. I try to walk rather than ride when possible and take the stairs rather than elevator. I confess at the end of the day should I find myself close to but not quite at 10,000 steps I will walk up and down the house until I get there! Not really cheating since the goal is to ultimately get to 10,000 steps.

A friend from years ago who was a dedicated bodybuilder used to say “If you’re not lifting, you’re shrinking.” I like to retune that sentiment with the emphasis on staying active each day. “If you’re not moving you’re slowing down.”

Keep mentally active

The reality is if you do not keep your mind engaged you begin to lose your edge. That first year after quitting my job for the final time I felt I was not as sharp as while working. Nothing drastic it just seemed I didn’t have the same old pop in daily conversations. Without the job I did not have a lot new to talk about. My career was in sales where I talked with people all the time – that was the job. Now in retirement I was spending more time alone without the interaction I was accustomed. I love having time for myself. I am able to do what I want when I want for as long as I want. That was not the problem. The problem was since I found myself talking less those speaking skills taken for granted were beginning to dull. And that was after only one year! My retirement should last 20-30 years God willing so something needed to happen.

When I left my final job I swore I would never work again. Retirement was to be my salvation from fulltime employment. There was no place in my busy retired life for another job.

After a handful of years feeling relatively content ensconced in an assortment of interests that insidious boredom started to creep into my world. What I was doing began to feel routine, the same thing day in day out. I was running out of things to do earlier and earlier in the day. There were no new activities I wanted to explore. It did not look good.

Then I found what turned out for me to be the perfect retirement gig – pouring wine at a small tasting room within walking distance of home. Three days a week I engage with people from all over the world sharing some excellent wines along with the story of our winery. We tell tales and share laughs in a friendly happy environment (it is a wine tasting room after all). But more importantly I engage with others on a regular basis, keeping my mind active. And I believe my thinking is sharper than it would be if I was alone.

Find meaning (or a reason for being)

One positive aspect of a job is when you look back at the end of the day you feel you have accomplished something. You may not have solved the problem of world hunger but in your own little piece of the universe you made a difference. Achieving goals and completing tasks has a positive impact on our psyche. We are worthy, we made it happen, we matter. Retirement does not typically offer such milestones, such measures of achievement. But you can find your own ways to experience that satisfying end-or-the-day contentment. It may be as simple as pruning a row of roses in preparation for winter. You may exceed those 10,000 steps a day for a whole week. Maybe you plan a surprise sixtieth birthday party for your spouse who comes home from work to be totally surprised (totally) at the whole thing. That expression on his/hers (my) face can be incredibly satisfying.

With time on your hands there are many activities and undertakings, hobbies and interests, passions and experiments to investigate. Whatever floats your personal boat it is important to stay active and engage. You will feel more energized. You will be more interesting. And ultimately you will make the best retirement possible for you and those around you. Good luck and enjoy!

LoveBeingRetired.com

How Individuals Can Prepare Their Final Wishes

Written by Becky Wilcox

Unfortunately, death is a debt we all must pay. Some people will pay their debt sooner than others. It’s a fact of life that everyone must die. Preparing for the end of your life can be a tough decision. The best way to prepare for the end of your life is when you’re young. However, many older people find it a necessity to prepare for life’s departure. Preparing for your death may not be something you want to think about. You can protect yourself, along with your loved ones, by preparing for your final wishes ahead of time. In fact, many older adults don’t want to be a burden to their children.

How Are Older Adults Planning For Their Death

There are two decisions older adults have to make about death: what happens after you die, and how to prepare for power of attorney if you’re unable to make your own decisions. Preparing for your death will determine your last will and testament. Many older adults use an estate tax to plan for their future. Get your affairs in order before you pass away to make life easier for you and your loved ones.

What Is An Estate Tax

An estate task is a levied tax against a deceased person’s property. You have assets imposed on your heir’s. However, it does not apply to the transfer to a surviving spouse. A surviving spouse must take out a marital deduction. Your property must meet an exclusion limit set by the law. If your estate is over the exclusion limit, your loved ones may end up owing an estate tax. An estate tax can be valued at a high rate and require careful planning. There is a difference between an estate tax and a gift tax.

Life Insurance Versus Estate Tax

A life insurance policy pays for your funeral and final expenses. You pay a monthly premium that allows you to designate a beneficiary. For example, your beneficiary will receive $50,000 to pay for your funeral, past due bills, and other expenses. Your life insurance policy allows you added dignity when you pass away. You can also use the money to help your spouse or dependents after you pass. If you have an estate tax, your life insurance policy passes on to your estate. You can talk to a professional estate tax expert for more details.

Why Hire A Professional Estate Tax Planner

A professional estate tax planner is an attorney with experience in state laws. They can draft your documents to allow everything to be carried out according to your last will and testament. They understand that one missing word or the wrong signature can have serious consequences. An attorney will have experience with the state laws that govern your estate. State laws are very

specific about what can and can’t be included in your will or trust. Hiring a professional will help you guarantee your wishes are legally carried out the right way after you’re gone.

Older adults don’t want to be a burden to their children and prepare for their death with estate planning. Aging is a time for transition and many older adults wonder about the next stage of their life. In fact, aging is a natural process, but planning is very important. You never want your loved ones to wrestle with your bills and what you would have wanted. Planning for the finals days of your life will leave your loved ones without stress. Relieve the burden of others guessing about your final wishes.

Planning will also cover your medical wishes. Your estate tax is like your power of attorney. If you can’t handle your affairs at the end of your last days, your last will and testament can help. You’re creating a personal security plan for your last wishes. An estate tax is usually for wealthy people or individuals with a large estate. The Trump Administration has created tax estate cuts that aren’t set to expire until 2023. Dying isn’t something that we want to think about, but it will help your loved ones carry on after you’re gone. Show your family how much you care by planning for your final wishes.