Social Security Law

Social Security Back Pay in Florida

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Receiving Social Security Back Pay

In Florida, as in most states, the process of applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability (SSD or SSDI) can be incredibly lengthy. This means that when you successfully secure SSI or SSD, you are often owed back payments from the Social Security Administration. These retroactive payments are usually distributed in a lump sum, and there is no maximum amount of disability back payment for SSI and SSD. There are four main factors that can affect the amount of back pay that you receive as a SSI or SSD beneficiary.

Factors that Affect Social Security Back Pay

The first factor is the date that you filed for SSI or SSD. IF you file for SSI, you could potentially receive retroactive payments dating back to the first of the month after you filed for Social Security benefits. If you have what is known as a “protective filing date” earlier than your actual filing date, you may be eligible for payments dating back to that date instead of your filing date. If you are filing for SSD, you can receive retroactive payments that date back to when you first became disabled, even if you applied for Social Security Disability payments at a later date. In this case, your retroactive payments could add up to thousands and be an even more significant contribution than your monthly payments.

The second factor is known as your EOD, or the Established Onset Date for your disability. This is the date that the Social Security Administration recognizes as the day that your disability began. Your EOD may differ from the date that you personally recognize as the onset of your disability. If you are applying for SSI, this date will be set for your filing date or after your filing date (since you cannot receive benefits dating from before this date). For SSD, this date can be set for before or after your filing date.

For SSD applications only, there is an additional factor: a five-month waiting period. Whether your EOD falls before or after your filing date, you will have five months’ benefits automatically removed from your disability back pay period. For example, if your EOD were 19 months before your filing date, you would receive 14 months of retroactive payments prior to the date of your SSD application.

The fourth and final factor is the month of entitlement. This is the first month that your regular monthly SSI or SSD payments would have begun. Disability back payments start at the month of entitlement and will end the moth prior to the adjunction of your claim at which point your regular monthly payments will begin.

Social Security Disability Denial in Florida

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Applying for Social Security Disability in Florida can be a straightforward process, with an individual being deemed eligible immediately after their initial application. Unfortunately, it is rarely that simple. People usually have to go through an appeal in order to get the benefits they need.

In Florida there are some 461 hundred thousand people receiving disability benefits, for a multitude of unforeseen reasons. It may surprise you to know that around 65 percent of social security disability applications are denied at their initial application, and then a large majority are then deemed ineligible again at their first appeal. Quite often it takes being in front of an administrative judge at a hearing in order to be approved for this type of benefit.

If you are denied at the initial application stage (as most people are) it is important to take the correct route so as not to further elongate the process. This means those who choose to begin a brand new application are likely to be refused a second time and go through it all again and again. The guidelines for who is eligible for this type of benefit are fairly strict, and it is expected that the new disability examiner will come to the same conclusions as the first. This is unless there is new evidence to consider – for example a medical condition – or if there was a significant error in the first application. If you are not approved, it usually makes more sense to appeal the decision. In Florida you have a period of 60 days to do this in. This is known as the reconsideration appeal.

If you are still refused, the next step is the hearing. The Office of Disability Adjudication and Review organizes the date of the hearing – these offices are based in various locations throughout the state. You should bear in mind that this is not a quick process, and the length of time you have to wait for your hearing will be dependent on where you reside. However, you have a much higher chance of receiving benefits at this stage, with nearly 60 percent of people being approved if they bring legal representation (the figure goes down to forty for those unrepresented). In short if you are denied your application, then be sure to appeal as opposed to begin new one. You can save yourself time, stress and it is much more probable to be a success.

Applying For SSI in Florida

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You may be wondering if you are eligible for SSI. If you are indeed able to receive it, you might not know how to apply. Luckily the process is not so complicated when you know what you need to do, and it can make a big difference to you and your families’ lives.

What is the SSI?

SSI stands for Supplemental Security Income, an organization which is run by the Social Security Administration. It is paid monthly and differs from Social Security Benefits. In fact if you are entitled to SSI, chances are you will also be eligible for the later. However the two benefits are quite different. The SSI is not based on your family history and you are still able to apply for support medically and for food assistance if you are approved.


In order to be deemed eligible for SSI an individual must be 65 years or over, blind or disabled. They must also legally reside in the United States, are the child of military parents, or be a student living abroad temporarily. The individual must also have an income and resources below a certain amount, and of course they must apply for SSI. You must also not leave the country for 30 days or more, and you have to be a US citizen (although there are exceptions for certain non-citizens).

Children are eligible for SSI if they meet the requirement as stipulated; their disability must be seen to affect their life on a day-to-day basis. In terms of your income, the amount you are allowed to earn whilst still receiving the SSI is dependent on your location. It is worth noting that not all aspects of your income are taken into account.  In Florida, the current amount available for an individual receiving SSI is $733 a month, $1,100 for couple.

How Do I Apply?

In Florida, there are a few different ways to apply for the SSI. The application can be completed at your nearest Social Security Office if this is convenient for you. It is advisable to call ahead and schedule an appointment, as you can have an individual to assist you. You may prefer to download forms from the Social Security Administration website, or you may wish to do your application online. If you opt for the later, there are requirements to be met including being between the ages of 18 and 65 and not having applied for the SSI in the past (check the Social Security Administration’s website for more details) If you are applying on behalf of a child or are over the age of 65, then the online option is unfortunately not available to you.

If your application is not approved then you do have the option to appeal, which you are also able to do online.

Social Security Benefits in Florida Divorces

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Divorce is a huge period of change in any persons’ life. There are obviously emotional changes that you are going through, as well as legal and financial. In an ideal world this process would be as simple and straightforward as possible, so as not to add further stress to an already difficult situation. It is important for you as an individual to be aware of what you/ your estranged partner are entitled to legally, so you are able to move forward with clarity – and with the correct knowledge. This is pertinent when it comes to the question of Social Security benefits.

Social Security Benefits Calculations

Firstly, you have to understand how Social Security benefits are determined. For those in employment, their benefits are calculated based on a formula of how many ‘credits’ they have earned; i.e. how any years they have been in work. As some households have a ‘breadwinner’ and a ‘homemaker’, this means that the later would not have been able to build-up their own ‘credits’, even though they have been an important part of the household. In this situation, the individual who was not in employment receives spousal retirement benefits, receiving half of their significant other’s benefit amount.

After Separation

After divorce, an individual may still claim spousal benefit based on their ex-partner’s employment. In order to be deemed eligible to receive this, they must meet the following obligations:

  • The marriage must have lasted for a least a decade
  • They must be currently unmarried
  • They must be at least 62
  • Their ex-partner must be entitled to retirement or disability benefits
  • They must not be eligible for an equal or higher amount of retirement or disability benefits

The individual will still be entitled to half of the benefits if all the requirements are met. If before the age of retirement a person wishes to apply for Social Security spousal benefits, then the amount they receive will be reduced. If the person eligible for Social Security benefits remarried, their ex-partner will still receive the full amount of spousal benefit, regardless.

Who Needs a Social Security Lawyer in Florida?

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There are many reasons you may need a Social Security lawyer. The Social Security system is put in place across the state to ensure that those who need help receive it; however there are invariably flaws and errors that can take place. Sometimes you need to fight for your case. In this instance it helps to have an expert who knows the legal intricacies and can make sure you get the right outcome.

You may need a Social Security lawyer when it comes to important events, such as the hearing of your disability benefits appeal. In these such instances, you are much more likely to be successful in your claim if you have legal representation. In other words, it pays to have someone on your side who knows how to approach these types of cases. They can advise you on the best way to move forward, as well as creating a sound case which will adhere to any requirements the court needs.

Social security lawyers differ from usual legal representation. A great deal of the legal representatives in this field are previous SSA workers or disability examiners, so they know the letter of the law and what is necessary to be successful. There is no fee to be paid upfront and the lawyer is only paid if the case is succeeds. Claimants must sign beforehand to agree to the fees as detailed below.

So how is a social security lawyer paid? Basically the amount depends on how much back-pay you are owed. If the case is won, the lawyer is reimbursed for their work by receiving a quarter of the claimant’s back-pay – up to a capped fee of $6000. This means that if your back pay is $5000, your lawyer will receive $1250.Thus you do not need to physically pay the attorney, rather the amount will be removed from your first disability check. This lack of risk on the claimant’s part makes for another beneficial reason as to why an individual should opt to have legal, expert representation as opposed to attempting to navigate a difficult process in isolation.

Social Security Law Attorney

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What is a Social Security Law Attorney?

A Social Security Law Attorney helps people with their disability claims and can significantly increase a person’s chance of being approved with their claim. While many people who apply for certain benefits often do just fine on their own, it’s been proven that an applicant who is represented by legal counsel is far more likely to get Social Security approved than one who is not (with everything else being equally weighted).

Who needs a Social Security Law Attorney in Florida?

When it comes to figuring out if you need a Social Security attorney or not you should generally stick to the idea that should you even be considering filing for disability, you should get in touch with a disability attorney right away for a free consultation. When looking for disability benefits from the government, your chances of getting your claim approved raise greatly once hiring a lawyer to represent you.

Often times your lawyer will then need you to sign a few release forms that allow them access to your medical records needed in order for them to win your claim. This will allow them to submit them to the Social Security Administration (SSA) at the applicable time before your hearing. During this time, they will review your records and then determine if you need to go through supplementary testing as well as potentially as the SSA for a consultative examination (CE) with one of their doctors.

Your lawyer throughout your hearing process will be working to prove that your condition “meets a disability listing;” you are unable to do any type of work including not being able to do your past work; your non-exertional limitations prevent you from working; and prove that your action level is “less than sedentary.” Once they prove that you meet the standards, that will qualify you for automatic approval of disability benefits.

When it comes to hiring a Social Security lawyer always remember to stick to the idea that “earlier is better.” As long as you are addressing the issues right away and are getting legal representation involved soon enough, your chances of being approved for disability are extremely likely to be approved.