It’s A Horrible Situation To Be In Here’s How To Handle It
Social Security fraud has been a glaring problem for a long time, but last year’s major Equifax breach did a fine job of taking things up a notch. In 2017, an estimated 143 million Americans had their data compromised, including their Social Security numbers, which means that the likelihood of falling victim to fraud is all the more great.
If you have reason to believe your Social Security benefits have been stolen, you’ll need to take action right away. Otherwise, you risk losing out on money that’s rightfully yours.
Can My Social Security Be Garnished Or Levied
Social Security disability is a federal benefit funded by the Social Security Administration. There are two types of disability benefits: Social Security disability Insurance and Supplemental Security income .To qualify for Social Securityâs Disability Insurance, you must have worked for a certain period and your disability must significantly impair your ability to work. If you donât qualify for SSI, you may qualify for Supplemental Security Income which applies when you have limited income and are either disabled or have a disabled dependent. Social Security retirement benefits start when you become eligible under retirement age restrictions. This is a benefit owed to you under the Social Security Act for paying taxes. The good news is, for the most part, your Social Security benefits are protected from creditors. Your benefits are also protected in bankruptcy. However, there are exceptions and issues you should be aware to better ensure that you can protect yourself and your entitlements.
For example, when you receive your monthly Social Security check or if you receive it via direct deposit, those funds shouldnât be commingled with other funds. By mixing your Social Security payments with other money, your income could lose its exempt or protected status. At that point, you would need to request a court hearing to prove which funds are from Social Security and which funds are from other sources.
Appealing Social Security In Federal Court
You have 60 days to appeal from the date of the decision from the Appeals Council. Youll have to visit the U.S. District Court in your region to file your civil complaint, which is a concise statement of the allegations and facts that explain your case to the court.
Since you cant technically sue the SSA, the defendant in your complaint is the acting Social Security commissioner who is in office when you file your complaint. Once you write your complaint, make sure the document is filed with the correct court. You can use the federal district court locator to ensure youre sending your complaint to the right place.
If you decide to appeal your Social Security denial without a lawyer, you still have to follow federal court regulations so your complaint wont be dismissed. You can visit the United States Courts website to learn more about how to make sure your complaint is reviewed.
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What Is An Opening Brief
Briefs are legal documents that clearly state your viewpoint concerning the details of your case. For an SSA appeal, the first brief filed is yours, which is known as the opening brief. This brief investigates your claim denial as it pertains to testimony and medical proof.
Opening briefs are designed to convince the federal judge that the evidence of your case was not thoroughly considered and you need a new ruling that is in keeping with SSA laws. Your opening brief is important since it can determine whether you win or lose your federal appeal.
I’m On Social Security Can I Be Sued
The short answer is yes. I remember a law professor saying “anyone can be sued for anything.” Winning a suit and collecting on a judgment are the hard parts. The bigger question is whether or not the person suing you can collect anything from you even if they win the lawsuit. Debt collectors with judgments sometimes try to garnish bank accounts of disability recipients even though the law protects the Social Security benefits. The banks are required to analyze the account to see if protected funds are in the account, but most people never object to a garnishment – even when the garnishment is improper. A debt collector with a judgment could still place a lien on the debtor’s real property, for instance.
I think that anybody with a judgment against them should carefully think about their situation and try to protect themselves and their property. Most people think it’s too expensive to seek legal help for a relatively small lawsuit. However, not all lawyers charge for a consultation. I do not charge anybody to sit down and look at any Social Security of debt collection matter.
It is a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to for a debt collector to file a lawsuit on a debt when the statute of limitations has passed. When a debt collector violates federal law, the victim of the abusive act is entitled to statutory damages up to $1000.00, plus actual damages, court costs, and attorney’s fees.
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What Is An Ssn And Does Everyone Have A Social Security Number
A social security number is a nine-digit number that is issued to American citizens, generally when they are born. However, a social security number may also be issued to permanent residents as well as temporary residents, pursuant to section 205 of the Social Security Act. It was originally intended to track the earnings history of U.S. workers for social security benefits. A social security number is now used as a universal identifier for a persons records.
Having a social security number is necessary in order to claim tax benefits, as well as to perform a number of other activities. An example of this would be how if you want to claim your child as a dependent on your income tax return, you need a social security number to do so. The child must have a social security number if you plan on:
- Buying savings bonds for the child
- Opening a bank account for the child
- Obtaining health insurance for the child and/or
- Applying for government benefits for the child.
In terms of age requirements, there is no official age by which a person must obtain a social security number. However, those who work and who are 18 or over must have one. This is because their employer is required to report their income to the IRS, which is done by using the social security number.
Can You Sue A Company For Mishandling Your Information
For any legal advice, be sure to contact an attorney. Legal issues can be very complicated, which is why the Law Offices of Blaine A Tucker offers FREE consultation and FREE Case Review. In most cases, there is NO FEE, unless you WIN
Today, its not uncommon for companies with whom people do very casual business cellular phone companies, Internet service providers, etc. to have some very sensitive information about their clients. For example, Social Security numbers are routinely used as forms of identification and many companies require that information in order to open an account.
With so many stories in the news on an almost constant basis about security, its easy to see why some people may have worries about whether they should share this information with companies and what they can do in the event that the company actually miss handles that information.
In some cases, it may be possible to go after the company responsible for mishandling information with a lawsuit.
After You File Your Complaint
When the court receives your complaint, youll be issued a summons. You have to submit a copy of your complaint and your summons to the SSA. There are SSA locations, known as the Office of the General Counsel , where your complaint and summons is served. You can find your nearest OGC address online so youll know where to submit your paperwork.
An SSA attorney will file a response after you turn in your summons and complaint. The answer is basically a written explanation of why your claim was denied. When you receive a response, you should file your opening brief.
Ssi And Social Security Disability Lawyers
- The Fee is FreeTM Unless We Win
The attorneys at Morgan & Morgan understand the impact a denied Social Security Disability claim can have on an individual and their family, especially when these benefits are the applicants main source of income. More often than not, applications for Social Security disability are initially denied however, an initial denial does not necessarily mean that the applicant is not entitled to benefits.
Unfortunately, applicants who have been rejected may choose to abandon their claims instead of proceeding with an appeal a process that is undoubtedly intimidating to claimants even in a more typical personal injury case where they could potentially recover the benefits they are rightfully owed. At Morgan & Morgan, our Social Security attorneys have extensive experience representing individuals in the application and appeals processes, among other practice areas, and have the resources needed to recover the benefits our clients deserve.
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How Can A Beneficiary Recognize A Rep Payees Misuse Of Funds
Rep payees may not:
- Use a beneficiarys funds for the rep payees own personal expenses or spend funds in a way that would leave the beneficiary without necessary items or services
- Put a beneficiarys SSA funds in the rep payees or another persons account
- Keep conserved funds once they are no longer a rep payee for the beneficiary
- Charge the beneficiary for services unless authorized by SSA to do so.
If a beneficiary believes that their rep payee has acted in any of these ways, the beneficiary can report an allegation of misuse.
Who Qualifies For Unemployment Insurance
1. To qualify, you must have earned at least $1,600 during a recent 12-month period and you must have earned at least $440 outside of the base period quarter in which your earnings were the highest. If you do not qualify under the standard base period, IDES may use the most recent four completed quarters as an alternate base period.
|If Your Benefit Year Begins:||Your Base Period Will Be:||Your Alternate Base Period will be:|
|This Year Between:Jan. 1 and March 31||Last Year Between: Jan. 1 and Sept. 30 and the year before between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31||Last year between:|
|This Year Between:Oct. 1 and Dec. 31||Last Year Between: July 1 and Dec. 31 and this year between Jan. 1 and June 30||Last year between:Oct. 1 and Dec. 31 and this year between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30|
*If you have been awarded temporary total disability benefits under a workers compensation act or other similar acts, or if you only have worked within the last few months, your base period may be determined differently.
2. Your employer must be subject to the States unemployment insurance law. Among the types of work not covered are certain agricultural, domestic, railroad and government work, and certain work done for ones family and on commission.
3. You must either be entirely out of work or be working less than full-time because full time work is not available. Your earnings must fall below a certain threshold determined at the time you file your claim.
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Loss Because Of Taxation Liability On Arrears Payments
A lump sum payment in arrears is a payment received in one tax year that includes income that accrued in previous tax years. The lump sum is assessable in the year of receipt. However, a person may be eligible for a lump sum payment in arrears tax offset to reduce the amount of tax the person has to pay. The tax offset is designed to alleviate the problem of more tax being payable in the year in which the lump sum is received than would have been payable if the lump sum had been taxed in each of the years in which it had accrued.
The lump sum payment in arrears tax offset applies to certain payments made on or after 1 July 1986 and includes arrears in payments of certain non-exempt social security payments.
If a person seeks compensation for a loss in these circumstances, they should first be referred to the ATO for clarification of entitlement to this tax offset. It may be that after application of the tax offset, no economic loss exists.
If the tax offset does not apply, or does not relieve the person of the additional taxation liability in full, the claim should be considered in accordance with PGPA section 23. If it can be accepted that the taxation liability in question arose from departmental or Centrelink negligence, then the negligence claim may be settled. If no negligence occurred, the matter may still be considered under the Compensation for Detriment Caused by Defective Administration Scheme.
Dangers Of Filing A Lawsuit By Yourself
Small claims courts are less formal than regular courts and sometimes don’t even require an attorney, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t cause for professional guidance. Without a lawyer, you are subject to losing your lawsuit or being low-balled in the compensation you deserve for the injustice brought upon you.
This is especially true for people taking on an SSA commissioner, who is more than likely backed by a team of experts. The issue with filing a lawsuit yourself is you may not have extensive legal knowledge or expertise that can help support your case.
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How To Tell If Its Legitimate Or A Scam
Scammers are aware that people are catching on to their attempts, so theyre coming up with new ways to convince Social Security beneficiaries that their frauds are legitimate. Heres what to watch for so you can protect yourself and others from Social Security scams.
1. Threatening arrest or legal action: If you receive a threatening phone call claiming that theres an issue with your Social Security number or benefits, its a scam. The Social Security Administration will never threaten you with arrest or other legal action if you dont immediately pay a fine or fee.
2. Emails or texts with personally identifiable information: If theres a legitimate problem with your Social Security number or record, the SSA will mail you a letter to notify you of any issues.
3. Misspellings and grammar mistakes: If the caller follows up with emails containing falsified letters or reports that appear to be from the SSA or SSAs OIG, look closely. The letters may use government jargon or letterhead that appears official in order to help convince victims, but they may also contain misspellings and grammar mistakes.
5. Offers to increase benefits in exchange for payment: Similarly, SSA employees will never promise to increase your Social Security benefits, or offer other assistance, in exchange for payment.
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How An Experienced Social Security Disability Lawyer Can Help
This level of the process differs from the other levels because it is no longer non-adversarial. When you file a lawsuit in Federal Court, you are suing the Social Security Administration for mishandling your claim and the Social Security Administration has attorneys who defend the Administrations position. How do you move your Social Security case in front of a Federal Judge?
The civil action is filed in the district court of the United States for the judicial district in which you reside or where you have your principal place of business. If you do not reside within any such judicial district or if you do not have your principal place of business within any such judicial district, the civil action must be filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. If you bring a civil action seeking judicial review of the Social Security Administrations final decision, there is a fee for filing a civil action in Federal court.
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What If Social Security Denies Me On Reconsideration
You can ask for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge . You must ask for this hearing within 60 days of the date on the denial notice. To keep getting benefits during this time, you must ask for an ALJ Hearing within ten days of the date on the disability hearing officers decision.
You may file the hearing request at your local Social Security office, or mail it to them. Get a hearing request form at www.ssa.gov.
The hearing will happen many months after you request it. The ALJ will notify you of the hearing date at least 75 days beforehand.
How To Appeal To Federal Court
You have 60 days from the date of the Appeals Council decision to appeal. This is done by filing a civil complaint with the United States District Court in your area. A civil complaint is a brief statement of facts and allegations that tell the court what your case is about.
Under federal law, you cannot sue the Social Security Administration directly. The defendant in a complaint against the SSA is whoever the current Social Security commissioner happens to be when the complaint is filed.
Once you have written your complaint, it must be filed with the proper court. Use the federal district court locator to find the court for your area.
The SSA cannot help you with a complaint for a federal appeal. You can either file the complaint yourself or hire an attorney who is experienced in appealing disability denials at the federal level to assist you.
If you choose to appeal the denial on your own, you must follow the federal court rules or you risk having your complaint dismissed. For more information about the procedural rules for filing a federal complaint, you can visit the United States Courts website.
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