Extending Your Student Visa

A student visa that lets you study at the university of your choice is a terrific thing for you. But what happens if your studies take longer than you planned? On top of exams and term papers, you may have to worry about your student visa expiring. That’s where an immigration lawyer can be your best friend. Understanding how immigration laws work can be the first step to making sure that you keep your student visa in good standing. My blog is all about immigration issues, especially those faced by foreign students. Check out the articles for more information that you can use to complete your studies in the country you chose to study in.

Recently Disabled? How Can You Ensure You Receive The Benefits To Which You're Entitled?

Law Blog

If you've recently filed for Social Security Disability (SSD) for the first time, you may be confused and concerned about what to expect. And with nearly 70 percent of SSD claims denied upon initial application, you may assume that you have an uphill battle when it comes to receiving benefits. If you're organized and persistent, it's likely that your claim will succeed -- but you'll still want to do some research to determine precisely how much you can expect to receive benefits, as well as ensure that your earnings history is accurate. Read on to learn more about how you can ensure you receive all the benefits to which your earnings record entitles you.

Has your disability been accurately evaluated?

In order to qualify for SSD, you must be unable to perform even sedentary work -- including sitting at a computer for up to 6 hours per day, lifting up to 10 pounds, or standing or walking for up to 2 hours per day. If you're unable to perform any (or all) of these activities, you should be able to receive SSD benefits. However, your claim could be denied if you have incomplete medical documentation of your disability, or if this documentation doesn't satisfy the question of whether you can perform sedentary work. Your doctor likely has prior experience with the submission of SSD claims, but just in case, you may want to have an attorney look over the disability paperwork before you file it with the Social Security Administration.

Do you have enough work credits to receive SSD?

Another potential stumbling block can involve your past work credits. If you haven't worked enough in the past few years, you may find yourself rendered ineligible for the higher SSD benefits, and instead only subsistence-level Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Before filing your claim, check your online Social Security statement to determine how many years of the last 10 you've worked. If you're over age 31 and have worked at least 5 of the last 10 years before your disability, you should qualify for SSD. If you're under age 31, but have worked at least half the time since you turned 18, you should also qualify. If you don't quite have enough work credits, you may want to do what you can to get there before filing, as this can substantially increase your total benefit amount.

While you're checking your online Social Security statement, you'll also want to ensure that the salary reported on your this statement is accurate -- if your earnings are unreported or underreported for a specific year, your disability benefits (and future retirement benefits) may be based on an artificially reduced amount. Correcting this mistake sooner rather than later can only work to your advantage, and will help you know that you're receiving exactly the benefits to which you're entitled.

How quickly will you begin receiving benefits after you're approved?

When your application is approved or denied, you'll be notified by letter -- and if you've been approved, this letter will contain information on your monthly benefit amount, as well as when you'll get your first bank account direct deposit. If you've been disabled for years but have only recently filed, you'll likely begin receiving benefits almost immediately (and these may be made retroactive to the date of onset of your disability). However, if you filed for disability benefits as soon as you became disabled, you'll need to wait 5 months before your benefits can begin. Your benefits are paid each month to cover the previous month, so you'll receive your first SSD check during Month 6 at the very earliest.

If you have any other questions, consider consulting with a social security attorney, such as Todd East Attorney at Law.


11 June 2015