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.

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.

What to Know About Real Estate Investments for Retirement Income

Written by William O. Kresge

If retirement is right around the corner for you, it’s important to ensure that you have enough money to last you through your golden years. Would-be retirees often resort to stock trading and other sidelines to help build retirement funds in a relatively short period of time. This can be especially useful for those who may not have as much saved throughout the years. After all, there’s simply no way of knowing how much you really need. That’s why Becky Wilcox recommends establishing a passive source of income to let you continue earning even during retirement.

One type of investment to consider for reaping passive income is real estate. Entrepreneur Magazine lists some key advantages to investing in real estate, such as lower levels of volatility and better tax benefits. However, while it isn’t too complex to comprehend, real estate investments still require a certain level of knowledge, skill, intuition, and confidence. Fortunately, there are many traditional and online resources available, as well as seminars you can attend.

In fact, the real estate sector offers several different investment opportunities that are great for retirees. Consider these options:

Direct Ownership

When it comes to real estate investments, owning actual property is most likely the first thing that comes to mind. You can opt for short-term and long-term rentals on rooms and studio units, or go for something bigger like renting out a whole apartment building or office space. This route can provide you a lucrative business if you are financially prepared.

In this regard, it’s important to be well informed about your options so you can make better investment decisions. To help you with this process, Yoreevo’s James McGrath suggests taking advantage of a real estate agent’s services. Because an agent is tasked to work solely in your best interests, they can give informed opinions on your investment decisions and help you identify potential issues with a property. They can even negotiate the best possible deal on the property for you. Perhaps more importantly, real estate agents are paid through a commission from listing agents, so their services will not cost you any extra cash.

Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)

A REIT refers to a company that finances income-producing real properties. Many of these companies specialize in specific sectors, like healthcare and corporate real estate. These are made available for investors through initial public offerings (IPOs).

When you buy into REITs, you essentially make money as a shareholder through an IPO. The Street emphasizes REITs’ income-centric approach, noting that 90% of the revenues generated by REITs is regularly distributed to shareholders. The annuity-like income streams from this type of investment makes REITs a good option for retirees.

Tax Lien Certificates

Last but not least, tax lien certificates are a special form of real estate investment.The Balance’s guide to tax lien certificates warns that it can be a little more complicated than owning real estate stocks. However, it can be suited for certain investors, especially those who don’t want to deal with properties directly.

This is how it works: When real estate owners fail to pay their property tax bills, the government can place a tax lien against the property. The lien certificates can then be sold to investors through public auctions. When you successfully win a bid, you pay the tax office the required amount specified on the certificate. With this, you reserve the right to claim the same amount from the homeowner, plus interest. The property owners are given a certain period of time to pay the debt, but if they fail to do so, you then have the rights to the property.

Retirement can be daunting, especially if you haven’t figured out a steady source of income to replace your job. But with enough time and effort to research on real estate options, you can more confidently make investment decisions for your golden years.