Evanston Disability Attorney Discusses Benefits and Retirement
One of the most common things that an Evanston disability attorney is asked is how Social Security benefits work. Many people have a general knowledge of how these programs work, but there are often many questions about the overall program. Understanding Social Security retirement benefits will allow you to make the necessary plans for your retirement.
How the Social Security Program Works
Most people that receive a paycheck pay into the Social Security program. This is an automatic deduction from your pay that can be found listed under your taxes. As long as you are employed, you are making payments to the Social Security program. When you retire or become unable to work due to a disability, you are eligible to apply for Social Security benefits. The amount that you receive from Social Security will depend on the following three conditions:
- The number of years worked on a Social Security qualifying job
- The money you earned at those jobs
- The age at which you decide to permanently retire
Your Evanston disability attorney will explain that the length of time you pay into the system increases your benefit level. If you wait to retire at a later age, your monthly benefits will be much larger than if you retire early. It is also very important to remember that these benefits are not given to anyone automatically. When you reach retirement age, you must apply for the benefits. At this time, you must have accumulated enough work credits and reached the minimum age of 62 to apply for retirement benefits. Your spouse, dependent children, and eventually your survivors may also receive your Social Security retirement benefits.
How Do Social Security Benefits Work?
It is very important that your Evanston disability attorney explain how credits work for the Social Security program. At this time, anyone who was born after 1929 must have at least 40 credits to claim benefits. This is approximately 10 work years. The Social Security office gives you one credit for every three months that you are employed. As an Evanston disability attorney, it is also very important to explain to clients that these credits stop accumulating when you are not working. However, the credits do not disappear. Your credits will start accumulating again when you return to work. The Social Security Administration has made it easy to track what types of benefits you may receive when you retire. A statement of benefits is issued every five years for those under 60 years of age and not receiving any benefits. After age 60, a statement is issued each year. You can also go to the Social Security website and establish an account to track your benefits.
Is Social Security Retirement in Trouble?
The answer to this question is “maybe.” There are a lot of issues surrounding the Social Security system that have people concerned about how well the program can sustain itself over the coming years. As your Evanston disability attorney can explain, the Baby Boom generation is entering their retirement years at this point in time. This large generation is placing strain on the system simply because there are fewer young people entering the work force. Birth rates have decreased and life spans have increased, placing a strain on the system. When the program was first established, there was a ratio of 15 workers for every person that was collecting benefits. This helped fund the program and build a surplus. According to a report issued in 2010, the current ratio is 3 to 1, which is seriously placing a strain on the system. Sadly, with the significant drop in birth rates, it is expected to decrease even further over the next few decades. When the surplus is depleted, the benefits will have to be based on the money that is taken in from payroll taxes to pay benefits. However, this does not mean that you are not going to receive benefits. Anyone near their retirement age at this time will receive their retirement benefits. It is the younger generation those under 35, that may have some cause for concern. Many people in the government believe that if changes are not made quickly to the system, these younger people will see a 25 percent reduction in the benefits they receive. There are many plans that are being considered to prevent this from happening. Government officials, economists, and think tanks are all working on how to save this important program. Many different options are being considered such as prefunding the program like the United Kingdom does with their retirement benefits, increasing payroll taxes, or establishing a separate fund for the program. Since so many people rely on Social Security for their retirement, the government is working diligently to keep the program running without cutting benefits.
Retirement Benefits versus Disability Payments
The Social Security retirement system is different than that of the disability program. The disability program helps workers who qualify for benefits but are too young to retire yet unable to work. The disability program is available to those who have enough work credits and meet the requirements of being disabled. Anyone receiving Social Security disability benefits will only receive these benefits until retirement age. At that time, retirement benefits are issued.
Speak to an Evanston Disability Attorney Today
If you have become disabled and need to apply for Social Security disability benefits, you are encouraged to speak to one of the Chicago disability attorneys. Your disability case will be quickly reviewed, and your attorney will advise you on the next steps to take to qualify for disability benefits. If you have already applied for disability benefits and have been denied, you have the right to appeal that decision. We can help you with the appeal process. The Social Security benefits system can be difficult to maneuver. The process can become complicated, and any flaws in the paperwork can lead to an automatic denial. Working with an attorney who is familiar with the system increases your chances of being approved for benefits. We work as a contingency-based firm. This means that there are never any up-front costs or fees for legal services. We only collect our fees when you have been approved for your disability benefits. This ensures that everyone who is in need of applying for Social Security disability benefits has access to quality legal representation, regardless of their current financial situation. Call us today and schedule an appointment with an Evanston disability attorney to have your case evaluated for free.