Archive for June 2013

Keeping a Disability Diary of how you feel

Keep a Journal

Keep a Journal

Keeping a Disability Diary of how you feel is a great way to present to the Social Security Administration your daily physical limitations.  Disabled people have good days and bad days.  This is understandable by most people.  Write down the days you don’t feel well and note any disruptions to your daily tasks.  Keep this information handy.  You may want to keep track of it on your computer or mobile device, but good old fashioned pen and paper works very well.  Just make sure you keep the physical paper safe from damage.  In your disability diary You should be keeping track of your daily routines and what stops you from completing any task in a normal amount of time.  As a hypothetical example, a 51 year old woman is trying to vacuum her home.  This woman is suffering from a disabling condition.  If she can only run the vacuum cleaner for five minutes without resting, then it should be noted in her diary.  Keeping track of fatigue is important since fatigue is a common qualifying condition.  Keeping track of pain is another way to testify about your condition.  Use a number system for pain like 1 (lowest pain) to 10 (highest pain). An attorney would find this information very important to present you claim to the SSA.  If you find you are in an appeal situation then this information can be used as documentation of your disabling condition.  The more information you write down, the better your chances are of impressing an Administrative Law Judge with your credibility.  Here is an example of what to write down: 10/12/2012 – I had to rest for 10 minutes after vacuuming the floor for 5 minutes.  Pain was 4 was shooting down my arm and lasted 20 minutes.  Advil, helps but not completely.  Stomach upset with Advil. Took over 3 1/2 hours to vacuum 4 rooms.  Took a nap at noon.  Awoke at 1:30pm.  Did last nights supper dishes and took an hour with a 15 minute rest.  Rested for an hour and shooting pain in hands and throbbing for 2 hours.  Advil did not help, needed to take percocet as prescribed by doctor. 10/13/2012 – Was driven to the bank and post office in morning.  Needed assistance in getting in and out of car. Pain was a 6 for the errands. Took at nap at 11:00am for 1 hour. I was going to go to supermarket, but I was feeling pain in shoulders of about an 8. Advil did not do enough, took percocet. Went to bed early with pain at 3, around 8:30 pm. Just write down the problems you have with your functioning.  These situations can show a pattern that experts can pick up on.  When you are filing for these claims, its important to get all the information you can so that when your case is presented to someone they can see what you are going through on a daily basis.  These glimpses in your daily functioning can help a judge glue together all the facts and circumstances of your claim into a real reduction in functionality.  A disability diary is generally considered testimony in the eyes of the law.

How much do I Pay?

Social Security Disability Insurance is just that, insurance.  Just like any insurance you pay a premium and you expect to get a benefit.  Working people in the United States are obligated to pay the insurance premium when we work for an employer.  The premium you pay is 6.2% (limited).  Additionally, your employers will also kick in %6.2 (limited) on your behalf as well.  This is 12.4% of your gross income going into the federal government’s trust fund.  These are your payments into the system and it’s a lot of money.  Here are the rules for how we pay into the system. This is right from Social Security Website: Social Security & Medicare Rates
When you have wages or self-employment income covered by Social Security, you pay Social Security taxes each year up to a maximum amount set by law. For 2013, you will pay Social Security taxes on income below $113,700. You must pay Medicare taxes on all income. Also, beginning in 2013 you must pay 0.9 percent more in Medicare taxes on earned individual income of more than $200,000 ($250,000 for married couples filing jointly). The tax rates shown below do not include the 0.9 percent:
  • Employees — the Social Security tax rate is 6.2 percent on income under $113,700 through the end of 2013. The Medicare tax rate is 1.45 percent of all income;
  • Employers — the Social Security tax rate is 6.2 percent. The Medicate tax rate is 1.45 percent; and
  • Self-employed —the Social Security tax rate is 12.4 percent on income under $113,700 through the end of 2013. The Medicare tax rate is 2.9 percent.
This is a lot of money.  SSDI is not welfare.  You have paid for the benefits and you have the right to make a claim. It is important to understand how much you paid into Social Security in your entire lifetime or working.  It is all online and it is called a Social Security Statement.You can get a copy of your Social Security Statement at the link below. SSA Account Page In it you will find all sorts of information like your estimated benefits, your earnings record, how much you have paid in, and more.  Check it out and see another post on Date Last Insured to figure out why this report can be so important.  Getting the online statement accomplishes two things.  First, you have access to your earnings and benefit records from the Social Security Administration.  Second, your representative has one more piece of the puzzle in building up your claim.