Updating Your Social Security Rights For 2012

Social Security has made some exciting updates and changes to your benefits for 2012.
Here are a few:

-Cost of Living increase for 2012
The Social Security Administration will be giving you an increase of 3.6%.  This increase will provide an increase which may also help offset any changes to your medicare costs.

-Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)
In order to be eligible for Social Security benefits based upon your disability, one of the critical requirements is that you be unable to perform SGA for at least one year.  You may already have been out of work a year, or your doctor may say it is reasonable to expect you will be unable to work for at least a year.  Your SGA for 2012 is $1.

-Medicare Part B premiums and deductible
Medicare Part B provides you with general health insurance for doctor treatments, outpatient services and similar and related treatments.  The premium for 2012 is reduced from $115.40 in 2011 to $99.90.  In addition, the deductible for 2011 was $162 and for 2012 will be $140.  Please remember that you will have to pay 20% of the cost of services after the deductible.  For more information you may visit the SSA website.

-Medicare Part A premiums and deductible
Medicare Part A provides you with hospitalization.  The premium depends upon your work history.  For 2012 it will be a minimum of $248 per month.  The deductible for 2012 of $1,156 for a limited number of hospital days with more payments (called co-insurance) to be paid by you for additional days in the hospital.  Visit the SSA website.

-SS and new, additional impairments that may claim a compassionate allowance.
Compassionate Allowance claims are those in which someone with an extremely serious condition can ask for their claim to be fast tracked for a speedier decision.  For 2012 there will be additional conditions for which people may request Compassionate Allowance.  Examples are Malignant Multiple Sclerosis, The ALS/Parinsonism Dementia Complex, and Pulmonary Effusion Lymphoma.  For a full list please speak with your attorney, or visit the SSA site.

-Work Trial Period
Even if you are already getting Social Security benefits for your disability you may be able to work.  This is known as a Trial Work period.  Social Security will allow you to work for up to a total of 9 months, which do not have to be consecutive, and still receive your benefits.  After the 9 months, Social Security will consider whether to suspend your benefits.  However, should your benefits stop and in the future you again become unable to work you may be able to re-start your benefits quickly, within a certain time period.

For 2012 you are considered working for a Trial Work Period if you earn $720 per month.  Remember that you must always report any work activity to Social Security to ensure they properly calculate whether or not a Trial Work Period applies.

-SSI
Program maximum payment to an individual for 2012 will be $698 a month, and for a couple (where the spouse is eligible) is $1,048.  You are limited in the amount of resources you may have, as SSI has income limits.  In 2012 it is $2,000 for an individual applying, and for a couple it is $3,000.