How Working in Retirement Affects Your Social Security Benefit – US News and World Report.

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Some timely tips and reminders of how working will impact your Social Security benefits.

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It is not always the most complicated solution that wins the day.

However, in Social Security Disability cases there is one thing to remember: It is always unpredictable.

You can find people who you would not think are disabled, yet Social Security says they are.

You can also find people who you would swear are disabled, yet Social Security disagrees.

What is going on?

There are multiple decision makers at Social Security.

When you apply, there are people who review your paperwork and medical records in your state and approve your claim or deny your claim.

If you appeal a denial, then another group of people review your file.

If you are denied at this level and appeal, then a Social Security Judge will have you testify and make a decision on your case.

You may appeal the Judge’s decision to what is called the Appeals Council.

You get the idea.

There are a large number of decision makers. Many people who can say no, but you only need one of the decision makers to say yes.

The most important thing to remember is that if give up after someone says no, then you will never get approved.

It is natural to get frustrated and want to give up, but keep appealing and moving forward.

Questions about your Social Security Disability claim? Feel free to call Illinois Social Security Disability Lawyer Dirk May at 309-827-4371.

Are you able to work and apply for Social Security Disability?

The rules on work and disability are complex.

The simple answer is: sometimes.

Social Security rules allow part-time work as long as it is below a certain amount of gross earnings.

Remember, gross earnings is the amount before taxes or anything else is taken out.

This year you are allowed to make up to $1010.00 gross per month.

The problem with part-time work before your hearing is that the Administrative Law Judge will sometimes treat part-time work as indicating that you are able to work full time.

There is often a large leap between working part-time and full time, however I have seen Judges who will say if you can do it part-time then you can do it full time.

Of course, full time work requires consistent attendance and high concentration and productivity throughout the day.

The type of work will make a big difference also.

If you are standing and walking and lifting 20 pounds and above or working a highly skilled job, then you are probably not going to win your case.

After you win your Social Security case you have some more freedom to work.

The $1010.10 gross per month is still the limit.

And you must report your earnings to Social Security.

Questions about your Social Security case? Feel free to contact Illinois Social Security Disability Attorney Dirk May at 309-827-4371.

I think it is very important to be prepared for your Social Security Disability hearing.

You usually have to wait about one and half years for your disability hearing. So you do not want to mess it up.

I like to talk with my client about what is going to happen at the hearing at least 30 to 40 days ahead of time.

This gives me time to decide what other records are needed before the hearing.

It also gives the claimant time to think about the questions the Judge will ask and how they will answer the questions.

I also like to remind the claimant right before the hearing what the Judge is going to ask and what she will look for when she decides the case.

This will refresh your memory and help you to focus on what is important to the Judge.

At times I have had people tell me that they have some experience testifying in court and that they do not direction or feedback about their case.

This usually ends very badly.

Never go into court overconfident.

The Judge is the one is making the decision whether you are disabled.

Do not make the Judge mad or frustrate her.

Remember your lawyer is here to help you and get the most out of your testimony and make sure that you are presenting your case in the most favorable light possible.

Questions about your Social Security Disability case? Feel free to contact Illinois Social Security Disability Attorney Dirk May at 309-827-4371.

You want to be prepared to answer these questions at your Social Security Disability hearing.

1. Do you use street drugs? Do you use alcohol to excess? Social Security Judges will deny you if you they believe that your drug or alcohol use interferes with your ability to work. A good response is to explain that you have sought addiction treatment successfully. Or that you attend AA or NA meetings.

2. Do you receive Unemployment benefits? Some Judges will penalize you for receiving unemployment benefits. They believe that you are telling them that you cannot work and you told Unemployment that you were available to work. A legitimate response is that you are willing to try at least a part-time job, or you were seeking work where they would let you take unscheduled breaks as needed, or miss days when you were in too much pain to function.

3. Why can’t you work? Be prepared for the frontal attack. It is usually not good enough to tell the Judge that you have to get up and down too much.
Does your condition make it so that you would miss more than 2 days per month? Why? Does your pain reduce your concentration to the point where you lose focus and keeps you off task for much of the time.

4. What if the Vocational Expert says you can work a job? You need to ask the Vocational Expert how many days can you miss a month and still keep your job? How long do you need to stay on task to keep your job? What if you are limited to using your hands occasionally?

5. What do you do all day? Some Judges equate daily activities with the ability to perform work. Remember to tell the Judge if you need to take breaks and rest throughout the day.

Questions about your Social Security Disability case? Feel free to contact Illinois Social Security Disability Attorney at 309-827-4371.

There is no law that says you must use a lawyer to represent you in your Social Security Disability case.

But here are 5 reasons that may make you think about using a lawyer to help you win your case.

1. An experienced Social Security lawyer understands what Social Security is looking for when they review your disability case. This helps you know what evidence the Judge is looking for when he reviews your file.

2. An experienced Social Security lawyer knows the pitfalls in filling out the forms Social Security sends out. You do not want to mess up your case at the beginning.

3. An experienced Social Security lawyer will help you file your appeals online so that it can be done quickly and correctly.

4. An experienced Social Security lawyer will prepare you for your trial. You need to be prepared to answer the questions the Judge will ask. It helps to know the type of questions that will be asked and to know what questions to ask the vocational expert.

5. An experienced Social Security lawyer charges fees only if you win your case. No back benefits, then no fee. Fees are limited to 25 percent or $6,000, whichever is the lower amount. No fees are your monthly check.

Too much is as stake to fly blind. Questions about your disability case? Feel free to contact Illinois Social Security lawyer Dirk May at 309-827-4371.


I have read that some people are afraid to use a lawyer in a Social Security case because they do not understand how they pay the attorney.

There is a federal law that controls how fees are charged in Social Security Disability cases.

There is no fee unless you win your case.

There is no fee unless you are awarded back benefits.

There is no fee on the monthly benefits you are paid once the checks start.

Social Security calculates your benefits and they do not allow a lawyer or anyone else to have access to your funds.

Social Security also distributes the money to you, and then to the fee to the attorney.

You need to take the long view in Social Security cases.

If you win your case you will receive benefits for the rest of your life.

The highest fee an attorney can receive is $6,000.

Most fees are lower.

Such as 25% of the back benefits.

If you receive $200,000 over your lifetime and lifetime medical benefits, then you can see that the attorney fee is a very small percentage of the overall benefits you may receive.

The goal is to win your case and get the disability benefits started.

Remember, Social Security is a complicated system and it helps to have the advice of an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer.

Questions about your Social Security case? Feel free to contact Illinois Social Security Disability Attorney Dirk May at 309-827-4371.