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January 2018 Archives

Financial planning for senior citizens

Most California residents would prefer to spend their retirement years in their own homes, but this may not always be possible. Taking steps to prepare for the financial costs of long-term care is an important part of estate planning, but individuals face a number of other important decisions as they near retirement. Large homes that were once filled with children may be unsuitable for retirement living, and not paying attention to tax issues could cause Medicare premiums to rise.

The next step after being denied twice for SS benefits

California residents who have medical conditions that prevent them from working might be entitled to Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income. But for many people, the first application for benefits is denied. Being denied does not mean there is no chance for receiving benefits. A denied application can be appealed or people can reapply, even if they have been denied twice.

Spendthrift trusts often call for a cautious approach

California is one of a number of states in which domestic asset protection trusts, which are also known as spendthrift trusts, can be used to safeguard assets. They have become more popular in recent years because they protect trust assets from creditors even when the grantor is a discretionary beneficiary. In addition to shielding assets from creditors, spendthrift trusts provide income and transfer tax planning benefits, allow for greater privacy and can be particularly useful when young adults inherit significant sums or beneficiaries do not pay U.S. taxes.

Relocation and SSD benefits

California residents who relocate to another state and who are receiving Social Security Disability benefits should see no change in the amount that they receive. Because the program is a national one, there will be no change even if the recipient's new state of residence requires less to live. The cost of living is not used to determine how much SSD benefits one receives.

Executive order helps veterans with mental health needs

Veterans in California and throughout the country may benefit from a recent executive order signed by President Trump that is set to take effect on March 9. The order would allow immediate access to mental health services for those out of the military for a year or less. Typically, an individual is only entitled to VA benefits once a health issue has been identified.

Navigating the disability benefit appeals process

A mental or physical disability may make it impossible for a person to work, and those individuals may be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits. However, it is possible that applicants in California and around the country could have their initial claim denied. It is also possible that a reconsideration of that denial may yield the same result. Those who have had their applications denied at the first two levels of the appeal process can ask for a disability hearing.

Applicants denied disability can appeal the decision

People in California afflicted by significant physical or mental problems often seek benefits through the Social Security Disability program. The federal agency frequently denies benefits to applicants, but an appeals process is in place. A rejected applicant has 60 days from the date of the denial notice to initiate an appeal. Technically, the agency allows an extra five days for mailing paperwork, which really makes the deadline 65 days.

How to handle returns to work while receiving disability benefits

Some individuals in California with a short-term disability that keeps them from working may consider applying for benefits from Social Security to cover this period of time. Using Social Security for this purpose isn't possible due to the requirements that need to be met to apply for disability benefits. Even so, disability beneficiaries may be able to suspend or stop benefits if circumstances change.

How some mental conditions affect SSI and SSD benefit eligibility

In California and the rest of the U.S., people with disabling mental conditions may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The Social Security Administration has a disability guidebook listing all the severity requirements that applicants must satisfy in order to receive benefits. Anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, PTSD, ADD, and learning disorders are among the mental impairments listed.

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