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You May Need an Attorney and Not Even Know It

People take legal matters into their own hands every day, and sometimes they lose money and property in the process. You can make a legally binding contract without using an attorney, but you are risking missing some big legal loopholes and laws you may not be familiar with that can not only make your contract invalid but can actually cost you in the end. When you are selling or purchasing real estate, tackling the creation of a will or even just loaning money to a friend, a consultation with an attorney can be a positive step. I'll show you when and why you need an attorney.



You May Need an Attorney and Not Even Know It

It's All About Your Earnings With SSDI

by Barry Butler

If you need to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you may know that the Social Security Administration (SSA) reviews several aspects of your application for benefits. In most cases, claimants must pass through several levels of evaluation before a ruling is made. The SSDI process involves checking your work credits, your medical condition, and the work tasks in relation to your medical condition. If you don't get past the work credits section, though, your application is automatically rejected. To find out how you can ensure that your work credits are ready to go, read on.

What are Work Credits?

The SSA uses a somewhat complicated method of determining your work credits. A work credit is the SSA's way of checking to see if you have worked enough and earned enough money to qualify for SSDI benefits. Only the last few years of your work history are used to determine work credits. A work credit stands for a dollar amount of earnings and the SSA requires that SSDI beneficiaries earn a certain number of work credits each year. While claimants don't need to figure out their work credit situation, they should be concerned about the earnings record that is used to determine them.

IRS Reporting and Earnings

Each year, the IRS sends your income information to the SSA. When you log onto your SSA account, you can review your earnings record. The amounts in the columns go back several years and it's interesting to see how much income you reported to the IRS for a given year. Those with online accounts can also view an estimation of their potential disability payments and other information. Those estimates are based closely on the earnings record. Here are two issues claimants should know about the earnings record:

  1. Claimants should compare the earnings record with their tax records to verify the accuracy.
  2. If the earnings record is not correct, it could affect the amount of your benefit or it could prevent you from earning a benefit at all.

While the SSA, for security reasons, no longer sends out statements in the mail, anyone can register to view their statements online, phone the SSA, or make an appointment at the nearest SSA office (now open again). You can ask the SSA to correct your record if it's incorrect.

It's common for those denied their benefits to have earnings records with errors. If you get denied, speak to a Social Security lawyer about your case and be represented at an appeal hearing. For more information, contact a Social Security law firm such as Gordon & Pont