Social Security (SSA) provides millions of people with a monthly income. However, its bureaucratic nature often results in people being underpaid or denied benefits altogether. At Kogan & DiSalvo, we know that it is unfair when one of your primary sources of income is reduced or refused. We focus on doing everything possible to get our clients the amount they deserve. SSA has complicated rules that make it challenging to navigate. However, our dedicated and hardworking team know the rules and have years of experience in this field. Call us today to learn more in a free consultation with a Florida Social Security attorney.
To become eligible for Social Security retirement benefits, you must have paid into the system, or the Federal Income Compensation Act (FICA), for at least ten years. You may claim Social Security retirement benefits as early as the age of 62, but doing so will reduce the amount of your monthly benefits, which are derived from your lifetime income. The current retirement age is set at 67, which has increased from 65. Workers who wait until they are 67 will receive full benefits.
If your spouse dies while receiving Social Security retirement benefits, you may be eligible to receive the payments. For example, a spouse who has paid into FICA for a minimum of 10 years is eligible for SSA benefits if the beneficiary dies. However, the surviving spouse cannot claim both. In that case, they would typically claim whichever benefit will pay the most.
A child who is unmarried and under 18 may also be eligible to receive benefits from the deceased beneficiary. If they are a full-time secondary or elementary school student, they can claim these benefits up to the age of 19.
In certain circumstances, step-children, grandchildren, and adopted children may also be eligible to receive benefits from their deceased beneficiary. An experienced South Florida Social Security lawyer can explain whether or not this might apply to your case.
Many people that contact our offices at Kogan & DiSalvo do not fully understand how their monthly Social Security payments are calculated. The SSA will use Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME) to determine the amount of your monthly benefits payment. The Primary Insurance Amount (PIA), a secondary formula, also helps determine the amount of monthly benefits payments based on your AIME.
The U.S Social Security Administration has over 65,000 employees, and more than 60 million people receive payments. Due to the sheer number of people involved, SSA and the recipients frequently make mistakes which may lead to inaccurate payments. Here are some examples:
- Computer errors at SSA headquarters
- Human error by SSA employees when processing your benefits, such as a mistake in calculating the date for starting benefits
- The recipient fails to report crucial information, such as the death of a spouse
- The recipient incorrectly reports important information
- The recipient is late in reporting information
Note that if an applicant makes a false claim for benefits, fails to disclose earnings that should have been reported, or provides false financial statements, their claim for benefits may get denied or modified.
There is an appeals process that allows you the opportunity to get a decision adjusted or reversed. If your benefits are denied or modified, other people–such as a current or former spouse or a representative of SSA–may become involved in the appeal. There are four steps to the appeals process:
- The applicant will submit documents that support the appeal and petitions SSA to reconsider the denial.
- If SSA does not reverse its decision after the reconsideration, the applicant is entitled to an administrative law hearing before a judge where the applicant presents their case.
- If the first two steps are unsuccessful, the applicant submits their case to an appeals council, which reviews the administrative judge’s ruling and determines whether or not to accept the case. If it is accepted, then it will be presented only on paper without the opportunity for oral arguments.
- If the applicant is still unsuccessful, the final step of the SSA appeals process is an appeal to the Federal District Court of Appeals. It adjudicates appeals from federal administrative agencies.
We represent clients from all over Florida in Social Security disputes, including the following cities:
At Kogan & DiSalvo, our attorneys understand how important these benefits are to the financial health of our clients. The emotional and economic fallout from having your claim for benefits denied or modified can be overwhelming. Moreover, as noted, the Social Security system is complex and challenging for people to understand without professional guidance.
With so much at stake for you and your family, we recommend you consult a Florida Social Security lawyer as soon as possible. They can explain how the SSA system works, discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your claim, and provide options for you regarding the next steps.
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At Kogan & DiSalvo, we understand that successful outcomes to Social Security appeals do not come from a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, we offer our clients individualized attention and leave no stone unturned in our pursuit of justice on their behalf. If you have questions, call us today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Florida Social Security appeal attorney. Your lawyer can make all the difference, and we work hard to ensure that our clients receive the payments to which they are entitled.