How Much Is Social Security Per Month?

In Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) cases we often hear the question, “How much is social security per month?”  There is no easy answer, as there are two basic disability programs, Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) also known as SSDI and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).  The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program pays benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources. Under the SSI program the maximum monthly benefit currently in 2019 is $771 per month for individuals and $1,157 for couples.  This amount may be different depending on other wages or income.  Social Security does not count the first $20 and does not count the first $65 of wages, but then considers the wages and divides by 2 and subtracts that amount from the possible $771.  Social Security also considers if someone is allowing you to stay with them for free and may reduce the monthly benefit amount.

The other disability program of DIB is based on your work history, your recent work credits and the taxes you paid into social security out of each paycheck from when you were working.  The amount of the monthly benefit will depend on those factors.  The DIB program

SSDI benefits..

It can be a confusing process, consult with an attorney for more information about social security disability and your potential benefits.

 

By

Jonathan Breyfogle

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Can I Work While On SSDI?

A common question I get from my clients is can I work while applying for or while receiving Social Security? The short answer is of course yes but it is important to understand the rules and how they may impact your benefits. Social Security Disability Insurance is only concerned with substantial gainful activity- or SGA. If your income is passive or unearned income such as that from a retirement plan or annuity it will not be counted against you. Supplemental Security Income is a different matter however, any income will affect SSI benefits.

So, what is SGA anyway? SGA is the set amount of income you’re allowed to earn in a month before it will affect your benefits. For the year 2019 SGA is set at $1220 per month minus any disability related work expenses. If you are working and earning above this amount it will have some effect on your claim. A single month of earnings over SGA will have little impact but consistently working above this amount will preclude benefits or lead to your benefits being discontinued. This does not just happen abruptly but in stages. Frist a trial work period would be triggered. A trial work period actually has a lower threshold than SGA. Earned income over $880 will count as a month of trial work and up to 9 such months in a 60-month period are allowable.  During a trail work period you can still receive benefits as you would normally.

If you work over your 9-month trial work period you are not eligible to receive benefits for any months you are working and earning over SGA- $1220. There is however a 36-month extended period of eligibility when you are eligible of benefits any month you are not able to work over SGA. For these reasons it is important to contact Social Security and update them with any changes to your work or income. You may be surprised by how much more eligibility you may have! A useful reference from the social security administration can be found at https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10095.pdf or contact an attorney for help understanding your claim.

 

By

Joshua Millard

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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The Difference Between Social Security Disability And Supplemental Security Income And Attorneys Who Can Help

Social Security Disability is eligible to workers who have accumulated a sufficient number of work credits and are considered “insured” for the disability benefit. Supplemental Security Income is eligible to low-income individuals who have never worked or those who haven’t worked enough to earn the work credits necessary for SSDI.

 

Supplemental Security Income is a need-based benefit based on the income and assets of the individual. It is strictly based on financial need. To meet the income requirements, you must have less than $2,000 in assets and a very limited income. These figures may adjust depending on marital status and those with legal dependents.

 

Social Security Disability Insurance is paid through payroll taxes. While working, an individual can make contributions to the Social Security trust fund in the form of FICA Social Security taxes. Individuals are “insured” based on the length of time they have worked and how much they have paid into this benefit.

 

If you are having questions about the difference between these two benefits or have been turned down for social security benefits, you can contact an attorney in the area of Social Security Disability. You have the right to have an attorney represent you at all levels of the administrative process. Statistics have shown that claimants represented by social security disability attorneys have been much more successful in obtaining benefits than people who chose to represent themselves.

 

By

Jacklyn Zappa

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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How Does Social Security Disability Work?

The disability program through social security is funded by workers and set up to support individuals that become unable to work due to physical or mental limitations.  As an individual is working and paying into social security they are paying into retirement but also disability “insurance”, should they become unable to work.  “Insurance” meaning, Disability Insurance Benefits, aka your benefit amount and the time frame for which you qualify.  There are two disability programs, Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) under Title II and Supplemental Security Income Benefits (SSI) under Title XVI.

The DIB program is based solely on an individual’s past work and how much that person paid into the system.  Social security will look back 20 years and determine the amount a person qualifies for and for how long they qualify.  How long a person qualifies is called your Date Last Insured (DLI).  An individual must be found disabled prior to the expiration of their DLI in order to collect on those benefits.  The SSI program is based on household income and assets.  This program pays out on the same household basis.  A person may qualify for either program individually or both programs concurrently.

For help understanding which programs you qualify for or any other questions related to social security disability please contact us at Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik.

 

By

Lyndsey Sharpe

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Do You Get Back Pay For Being On Social Security Disability?

The simple answer to the question: yes. You can get back pay depending on when Social Security finds you to be disabled. After being found disabled, Social Security will determine the date you were disabled and whether you qualify for backpay. To receive backpay, you must be found to be disabled for at least five months. If you were disabled for five months before being approved, you have possibility to receive backpay.

 

If you have any further questions, please contact our office to speak with an attorney. (855-513-4357)

 

By

Brady Cysiewski

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Social Security For Mentally Disabled Adults

There are multiple areas that fall within the mental disorder category for Social Security Disability. Each category has a listing relevant to the cause of the impairment.  For this blog post, we will focus on four listings – intellectual disorders, schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders, autism spectrum disorder, and neurodevelopmental disorders.

 

First, we will go through what is required to meet the listing for an intellectual disorder. This listing requires that an individual meet one of two sections of conditions. The first section’s conditions are that an individual is (1) unable to take standardized testing due to significantly subaverage intellectual function, (2) deficits in the ability to perform personal needs, such as dressing, bathing or eating, and (3) the evidence for the first two sections began prior to the age of 22.

 

The second section of this listing that can be met by meeting each of the following three requirements. The first requirement is the below average intellectual functioning that is shown by an IQ score lower than 70, or an IQ score between 71 and 75 along with a verbal or performance below 70. The second requirement is the extreme limitation of one of the following, or the marked limitation of two or more of the following: (a) ability to understand, remember, apply information, (b) interact with others, (c) concentrate, persist, or maintain pace, (d) adapt or manage oneself. The final limitation is that the evidence and history show that the impairment began before turning 22.

Meeting either of the paragraphs above would meet the listing for an intellectual disorder.

The next listing that we will go into is schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. To meet this requirement, an individual must have medical documentation of hallucinations, disorganized thinking or speech, or grossly disorganized behavior. The second requirement for this listing requires one of two conditions to be met. The first is either the extreme limitation of one of the following, or the marked limitation of two or more of the following: (a) ability to understand, remember, apply information, (b) interact with others, (c) concentrate, persist, or maintain pace, (d) adapt or manage oneself. The second condition is evidence that the disorder was serious and persistent for at least two years, with evidence of medical treatment, mental health therapy psychosocial support, or a highly structured setting that diminishes the symptoms, as well as a marginal adjustment showing that there is minimal capacity to adapt to changes in the environment that are not a part one’s daily life.

 

The next listing that we will be going over is regarding autism spectrum disorder. To meet this listing, an individual must satisfy both requirements. The first is either the extreme limitation of one of the following, or the marked limitation of two or more of the following: (a) ability to understand, remember, apply information, (b) interact with others, (c) concentrate, persist, or maintain pace, (d) adapt or manage oneself. The second is the medical documentation of qualitative deficits in verbal communication, nonverbal communication and social interaction, as well as having restrictive, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests or activities.

The final listing that will be examined within this post is regarding neurodevelopmental disorders. To meet this listing two conditions must be met. The first is either the extreme limitation of one of the following, or the marked limitation of two or more of the following: (a) ability to understand, remember, apply information, (b) interact with others, (c) concentrate, persist, or maintain pace, (d) adapt or manage oneself. The other condition is the medical documentation of one of three sections. The first is the significant difficulties learning and applying skills. The second is significant difficulties with recurrent motor movement or vocalization. The final section is either having frequent distractibility, or hyperactive behavior.

 

After meeting a listing, Social Security Administration (SSA) will look at how the mental disabilities affect the functioning of the individual. The functionality of a claimant will be determined using documented medical opinions, including the symptoms, medical history, diagnosis, and observations from the medical professionals. In addition, they will look at people who have observed the daily functioning of the claimant, and school records and accommodations made for the student while attending school.

 

It is important to your claim to contact social security or an attorney regarding your claim. Our office can be contacted at 855-513-4357.

 

By

Brady Cysiewski

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Can I Do Bankruptcy Myself?

This is a common question, and a valid one considering an individual’s reason for filing and the cost of attorney’s fees.  If you are unsure about filing bankruptcy and how it may affect your property and financial future, you want to seek the advice of an attorney.  Many bankruptcy attorneys are available to meet with you at no initial cost and can help you determine if filing is right for you.

Bankruptcy is a complicated area of law and requires strong critical thinking skills.  An attorney, or individual filing on their own, must be able to understand what facts and assets are relevant in their case and how to present that information to the court.  In determining what property, you can keep after filing the bankruptcy you must be able to read and apply sections of the bankruptcy code to each asset listed.  Failure to do this properly will put that asset at risk.

A filing party is required to complete statements that disclose various transactions that occurred up to the point of filing.  All statements filed with the court are done so under penalty of perjury.  Some of these transactions may put friends and family members at the mercy of your bankruptcy Trustee without you even realizing.

Once a chapter 7 bankruptcy has been filed it cannot be voluntarily dismissed by the debtor.  Failure to follow through with the bankruptcy could mean losing property and still owing the debt that drove you to bankruptcy in the first place.  A skilled attorney can advise you on how to minimize the potential risks in your case.

To put it plainly, when it comes to bankruptcy, you don’t know what you don’t know.  Not knowing or understanding the consequences associated with filing your case is not a pass for leniency.  If you are uncomfortable or unsure about filing bankruptcy, it is best to talk with an attorney who practices bankruptcy.  Not having to do this alone will provide you with peace of mind, and that is an invaluable feeling.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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How Relatives On Social Security Disability Living With You Can Affect Your Benefits

People often wonder if their monthly benefits are affected if they have a Loved One move in with them who is also collecting Social Security Disability.

The first thing to ask yourself is, “Which program am I receiving benefits from?”  If you are receiving SSDI benefits, you never have to worry about other assets or income in your home.  SSDI benefits are awarded based on your work history and how much you paid in to the program while you were working.  As long as your medical condition prevents you from working, you are entitled to these benefits.

However, if you are receiving SSI (Supplemental Security Income) benefits, there are limits.  SSI is funded by general tax revenues and not by Social Security taxes, so it’s only available for the most needy.  Therefore, your monthly SSI benefits will be reduced if you have other assets, income or assistance.

SSI benefits are calculated using the Federal Benefit Rate (FBR) which is tied to the Consumer Price Index.  Basically, as the cost-of-living goes up, the FBR is adjusted.  For 2019, the FBR is $771 for individuals and $1157 for married couples.  If you and your spouse are both disabled, this is the largest total amount you will receive as a couple.  If your spouse still works full-time and you have no dependent children, it is unlikely that you will qualify for SSI benefits.  (But remember, you may still qualify for SSDI benefits.)

Your monthly SSI benefits will be reduced dollar-for-dollar for any income you receive from things such as employment, annuities, child-support and other monthly insurance payments.  (The first $20 of unearned benefits and $65 of earned benefits are not counted toward your financial limits.)  Your monthly benefits will also be reduced if you are receiving assistance such as living with a family member who is providing you with free or low-cost housing.  If you are living in your own home and a family member (such as a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle) lives with you but is not contributing to your household expenses, your monthly assistance will not be affected but his/her benefits may be reduced by the value you are providing for his/her housing.

You can always contact your local social security office to address how any income or housing changes may affect your monthly SSI payments.  And a good attorney can also help you navigate the application and benefits process.

 

By

Tyler Rasmussen

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Medicaid And Dental Insurance

A common question people having regarding their Social Security Disability benefits is if they are eligible for dental coverage. Under Medicaid, dental benefits for adults are not covered under federal law except for minors and young adults age 21 or younger, but it is optional under some state programs.

 

  • In Illinois, preventive dental care services are covered.
  • In Michigan, the dentist must participate in Healthy Michigan plan for dental coverage.
  • In Minnesota, dental services are covered.
  • In Missouri, dental coverage is available including examinations, x-rays, cleanings, fillings, and extractions.
  • In Ohio, dental coverage is quite extensive including checkups and cleanings.
  • In Wisconsin, dental services are covered.

 

It is recommended that if you receive Medicaid coverage that you speak with your state’s Medicaid program to determine the exact benefits you are eligible for.

 

Under Medicare, dental benefits do not cover most dental care; however, some Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C) do offer extra benefits.

 

By

Deborah E. Bensch

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Process Of A Bankruptcy

A little-known fact of filing for bankruptcy is that, soon after a consumer receives their discharge (usually within a week), that consumer’s mailbox is likely to be inundated with credit card offers. There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, credit card companies will receive notice of the discharge and that the consumer therefore has significantly less debts that would otherwise prevent repayment on a new account. Secondly, the mandatory waiting periods between bankruptcies means that a newly-filed consumer won’t be able to file for bankruptcy again anytime soon. Thirdly, believe it or not, many consumers-especially those who have struggled with debt for years-actually receive a bump to their credit scores during bankruptcy. Finally, and depressingly, filing for bankruptcy paints a consumer as a “mark”—in other words, someone who might jump to take a poor offer.

But filing for bankruptcy does not mean that a consumer will be limited to poor credit card offers. Likewise, it is not the case that a wise consumer should avoid credit card offers altogether. To the contrary, credit cards, smartly used, are the surest path to good credit after bankruptcy. Imagine a credit score like a scrolling newsfeed; new headlines are constantly being added, and old ones are constantly falling off. The goal of the savvy consumer should be to fill their creditor newsfeed with dull, reassuring headlines like “Martin Pays Bill on Time” or “Cassandra’s Visa Credit Card Turns Four Years Old.” Headlines like “Ryan’s Student Loan Remains in Default” are bad, and consumers with these sorts of headlines in their credit newsfeed should seek to bury them in more encouraging stories. Using and promptly paying on credit accounts is an easy way to do this.

But where to begin? Ideally, a newly -filed consumer should seek to open three to five credit cards after bankruptcy. This reflects a robust but not excessive level of engagement. Furthermore, these credit cards should be opened all at once, because the act of opening them, at least initially, will lower the average age of the consumer’s accounts and temporarily drop his or her credit score. This is because creditors prefer older accounts. Therefore, by opening the cards all at once, the consumer puts his or her best foot forward on each account. This bolsters his or her chances of acceptance on each card and will likely boost the cards’ initial spending limits. There are five factors a consumer should consider when selecting a credit card, and for the task of building credit, spending limit is by far the most important.

In order of importance, the five factors to consider when applying for credit cards are spending limits (higher is better), annual percentage rates (lower is better), annual fees (best avoided), security deposits (inconvenient), and rewards (always appreciated, but not a priority). The ideal credit card, therefore, is one with a sky-high spending limit, basement-level APR, no annual fees, no need for a security deposit, and great rewards. These sorts of cards are reserved for only consumers with the most stellar credit scores, however, so getting to that point will require making some sacrifices in the meantime. A consumer who can afford it would be wise to ignore rewards altogether and to pay high security deposits for secured credit cards with low APRs, no annual fees, and high spending limits.

Spending limits are important because credit utilization ratio is a key factor in calculating a consumer’s credit score. Ideally, a consumer is using his or her credit cards often, paying them off promptly, and only utilizing around 30% of their available spending limits. Therefore, a consumer with three credit cards with a combined spending limit of $3000 should seek to never carry a combined balance larger than $1000 between all three cards. Therefore, the higher the combined credit limit, the more wiggle room available to the smart consumer. Secured credit cards are convenient for increasing spending limits because the initial spending limits are set by the amount of the refundable deposit, not by the consumer’s credit score.

Consumers who have struggled with debt in the past, however, should be prepared for a possible setback: just because a person is willing to put a deposit down for a secured credit card does not mean that, even with the deposit, they will be approved. If this happens, there is no reason to panic. Most banks offer secured credit cards for their customers, and these cards have much higher acceptance rates than other secured credit cards. Good credit is not necessary for opening a bank account, just an initial deposit of a minimum amount. Therefore, consumers without a bank account need not worry about what will happen if they attempt to open one: most banks will set up an account for any customer with an income and an initial minimum deposit. Once an account is opened with the bank, applying for a secured credit card should be a simple process.

Starting out, building credit can be a frustratingly slow process. A consumer may not be able to qualify for three to five good credit cards initially. It is important for a consumer in this position to stay focused on the future and stay vigilant against exploitative credit card offers. Sites like nerdwallet.com and thepointsguy.com can be helpful for comparing credit offers. However, just as there are deceitful credit card offers, there are deceitful credit card rating sites. It is therefore important not only to research any credit card before applying for it; it is also important to do at least a little research on the credit card rating site one uses to compare credit cards. Selecting the right credit cards is, for most people, the most difficult part of the credit-building process. Once the cards are applied for and received, automatic payments can and should be set up. After this step, the process becomes simpler: just use the cards and check their balances regularly to make sure they are being paid off and aren’t being maxed out. A little effort in the beginning goes a long way. And with the proper preparation, the road to good credit is not only smooth—it is surprisingly short.

 

By

Reagan Healey

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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How Often Can I File Bankruptcy? How Many Years Do I Have To Wait?

How often can I file bankruptcy?  How many years do I have to wait?

 

Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies are both protection from creditors granted to individuals or companies who legally file for bankruptcy.  A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is only 90-day from filing to discharge and you do not file a plan of repayment.  A Chapter 13 lasts from three to five year and provides for repayment of debts by a court-approved plan.

 

When you file either a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13, you purpose is to discharge your debt.  There are time restrictions on when you are eligible for a discharge, if you have a previous filing.

 

If you have file a previous Chapter 7 and want to file another Chapter 7 you must wait eight years from your previous filing date to be able to file another chapter 7 and be eligible for a discharge. (example: chapter 7 file date of 2/1/2001.  This debtor would be eligible to file a chapter 7 again 2/2/2009)

 

If you have file a previous Chapter 13 and want to file another Chapter 13 you must wait two years from your previous filing date to be able to file another chapter 13 and be eligible for a discharge. (example: chapter 13 file date of 2/1/2001.  This debtor would be eligible to file a chapter 13 again 2/2/2003).  However because a chapter 13 usually takes 3-5 years to complete and receive a discharge, Debtors will generally be eligible after discharge.  It is when a case is dismissed and not completed that the calculation becomes most important.

 

If you have file a previous Chapter 13 and want to file a Chapter 7 you must wait six years from your previous chapter 13 filing date to be able to file a chapter 7 and be eligible for a discharge. (example: chapter 13 file date of 2/1/2001.  This debtor would be eligible to file a chapter 7 in 2/2/2007)

 

If you have file a previous Chapter 7 and want to file a Chapter 13 you must wait four years from your previous chapter 7 filing date to be able to file a chapter 13 and be eligible for a discharge. (example: chapter 7 file date of 2/1/2001.  This debtor would be eligible to file a chapter 13 in 2/2/2005)

 

By

Dawn R. Ravn

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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What Is A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

What is a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is a debt adjustment repayment plan.  There are several different reasons that a person may be filing a Chapter 13 and several universal requirements that must be satisfied through your proposed repayment plan.  First, we will cover the main reasons why an individual might file a Chapter 13 as opposed to a Chapter 7.

  • Income exceeds the house hold median limit set by each state- In most instances where household that are seeking bankruptcy fall above the median income level the bankruptcy court will determine that you have the ability to repay some, or all, of your creditors with the help of bankruptcy protection.
  • Previous Chapter 7 bankruptcy was filed less than eight years ago in a case where the debt was discharged (this is six years from the date of filing for previously filed Chapter 13 cases)
  • Catching up on secured debt where the filer wishes to keep the collateral (usually a primary vehicle or homestead)- your repayment plan will account for the payment of all secured arrears and give the filer protection while they work to get current
  • Protection of certain assets that would be liquidated in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Payment of priority and secured State and Federal tax obligations
  • Payment of property tax arrears owed on the filer’s homestead
  • Payment of child support arrears
  • Protection from garnishment of private student loans
  • Lowering the interest rate on an auto loan
  • In some cases a person may be able to cram down or strip off secured loans (this will depend on the age of the secured loan and the amount of equity you hold in the property)

A Chapter 13 repayment plan must be written to satisfy several requirements, regardless of the driving factor.  A Chapter 13 plan must:

  1. Contain a minimum of 36 months and a maximum of 60 months of payment for filers who are below the median income level. Filers who are over the median income level must have 60 months of plan payments provided for in their proposal.
  2. Pay all priority debt in full over the duration of the plan. Some of the more common priority debts include:
    1. Arrears owed to a child support or spousal maintenance recipient
    2. Tax obligations incurred for the last three to four years that have come due (the number of years determined to be priority will depend on what time of the year the bankruptcy is filed)
    3. The balance remaining balance of any attorney’s fees and expenses owed to your bankruptcy attorney
  3. Payment of all secured taxes owed to the Federal or State taxing authority with interest (this includes property tax debt)
  4. Satisfy the Best Interest test- the creditors that would have been paid through the liquidation of assets in a Chapter 7 must receive at least the same amount over the course of the Chapter 13 repayment plan
  5. Satisfy the Best Efforts test- in most cases a Chapter 13 plan payment must consist of a filer’s full disposable income. This is what is left over each month after an individual pays their regular living expenses.  Your attorney will help you put a budget together that accounts for incidentals and other necessary expenses.

A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is meant to make your debt repayment more manageable by stopping the collection process, reducing or eliminating interest, and eliminating debt as would be in a Chapter 7.  If a Chapter 13 is right for you it should reduce your financial pressure, allowing you to repay what you are able, and provide protection from your creditors.

 

By

Alyssa F. George

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Joint Bankruptcy Filings

It is a difficult decision for most people to face whether or not to file bankruptcy. Further complicating this for some is the decision of whether or not to file jointly. This is an option that is available only to married couples. A marriage can affect a bankruptcy filing in many ways, including the ability to file jointly, something exclusive to married persons and their spouses.

How do you determine if you should file jointly or individually?  The first consideration should be what type of bankruptcy you are looking at. When you are married, your spouse’s income is included in your budget, as are their expenses. For some, this inclusion could be the difference between a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In many cases, the inclusion of a spouse into the budget calculations can make it make sense to file jointly in a Chapter 13, if both spouses can take the hit on their credit or will see a net positive at the end of the plan period.

The next thing to consider would be the types of debt that you and your spouse have. If you have debts that are owned jointly with a spouse, it is generally in the best interest of both spouses to file together. Joint debts are owned equally by both, meaning that both spouses are responsible for 100% of the balance. To file individually would remove the liability of the filing spouse and leave the non-filing spouse as the only one left responsible for that 100% balance. This includes tax debts that were filed jointly, authorized users on credit cards (whether or not the card was actually used by said user), and medical debts in many states, including Minnesota and Missouri. These considerations can also make joint filing the better choice for married couples.

Finally, with some firms, like Hoglund, Chwialkowski, and Mrozik, PLLC, there is little to no cost difference between filing individually and filing jointly. However, if it is a close set of circumstances and both parties file individually at separate times, there will be separate filing fees, as well as significantly more attorneys’ fees, sometimes double the cost or more. It can be a much more straightforward, and easier process in certain circumstances to just file jointly and wrap everything up in one proceeding.  It is always best to be prepared for all options, and for both spouses to speak with an attorney about how filing jointly or separately may affect their unique situation.

By

Barry N. Moore, Jr.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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What Do I Need For Social Security Disability Benefits?

To qualify for social security disability benefits you must have worked for a job that was covered under social security. You must have worked long enough, and recently enough, to build work credits under Social Security to qualify for disability benefits. Social Security work credits are based on your total yearly wages or self-employment income. You can earn up to four credits each year[1].

If you have paid into social security and you are eligible for its benefit, then you must also have a medical condition that falls under socials security’s definition of disability. Social security only pays for total disability; there are no benefits for partial or short-term disability. The social security’s definition of disability is as follows: Your condition must significantly limit your ability to do basic work such as lifting, standing, walking, sitting, and remember- for at least 12 months[2]. Social Security will find you disabled if you cannot do the work that you did before, that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition, and that it has lasted or is expected to last at least one year or result in death.

[1] https://www.ssa.gov/planners/disability/qualify.html

[2] https://www.ssa.gov/planners/disability/qualify.html#anchor3

 

By

Zacklyn Zappa

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Applying For Social Security

Signing up for social security disability benefits is a simple process in concept but can lead to a few complications. To begin you must apply either over the phone with the Social Security Administration(1-800-772-1213) , online at https://www.ssa.gov/applyfordisability/, or by visiting a local office.

To complete your application, you may be asked to provide information, such as your birth certificate, proof of citizenship, U.S. military discharge papers, if applicable, W-2 forms or self-employment tax forms, pay stubs, award letters or other documentation showing payment of worker’s compensation benefits. In addition to these forms, you may be asked to provide any medical evidence you have and an adult disability report[1]. These are necessary to show the extent of the disability. When applying, there are a list of questions that you may be asked to answer. The questions that social security asks are as follows: “

  • Your name, gender and Social Security number;
  • Your name at birth (if different);
  • Your date of birth and place of birth (State or foreign country);
  • Whether a public or religious record was made of your birth before age 5;
  • Your citizenship status;
  • Whether you or anyone else has ever filed for Social Security benefits, Medicare or Supplemental Security Income on your behalf (if so, we will also ask for information on whose Social Security record you applied);
  • Whether you have used any other Social Security number;
  • Whether you were ever in the active military service before 1968 and, if so, the dates of service and whether you have ever been eligible to receive a monthly benefit from a military or Federal civilian agency;
  • Whether you or your spouse have ever worked for the railroad industry;
  • Whether you have earned Social Security credits under another country’s Social Security system;
  • Whether you qualified for or expect to receive a pension or annuity based on your own employment with the Federal government of the United States or one of its States or local subdivisions;
  • Whether you are currently married and, if so, your spouse’s name, date of birth (or age) and Social Security number (if known);
  • The names, dates of birth (or age) and Social Security numbers (if known) of any former spouses;
  • The dates and places of each of your marriages and, for marriages that have ended, how and when they ended;
  • The names of any unmarried children under age 18, age 18-19 and in elementary or secondary school, or disabled before age 22;
  • Whether you have or had a child under age 3 living with you during a calendar year when you had no earnings;
  • Whether you have a parent who was dependent on you for 1/2 of his or her support at the time you became disabled;
  • Whether you had earnings in all years since 1978;
  • The name(s) of your employer(s) or information about your self-employment and the amount of your earnings for this year and last year;
  • Whether you received or expect to receive any money from an employer since the date you became unable to work;
  • Whether you have any unsatisfied felony or arrest warrants for escape from custody, flight to avoid prosecution or confinement, or flight-escape;
  • The date you became unable to work because of illnesses, injuries or conditions and if you are still unable to work; and
  • Information about any workers’ compensation, black lung, and/or similar benefits you filed, or intend to file for. These benefits can:
    • Be temporary or permanent in nature;
    • Include annuities and lump sum payments that you received in the past; and
    • Be paid by your employer or your employer’s insurance carrier, private agencies, or Federal, State or other government or public agencies. ” [2]

 

After completing your application, Social Security will review the application and decide whether you qualify for benefits. It may be helpful to obtain an attorney even while applying.  An attorney can help with completing the application, help you avoid common mistakes and even ask for opinions from current doctors.  The Social Security Administration will not do any of these things.  For any questions, please contact our office at 1-855-780-4357 for further assistance.

[1] https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-3368.pdf

[2] https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-16.html

 

By

Brady Cysiewski

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Applying for a Home Loan After Bankruptcy

Most of us have been conditioned by movies and television to associate personal bankruptcy with a handful of frightening images—movers hauling away furniture, bank officers laughing at an application for a home loan. But not only are these images inaccurate; they also obscure a very important truth. The truth is that for someone considering filing for personal bankruptcy, the frightening part is already upon them. And the frank truth is that for someone who’s falling behind on credit card payments or medical bills, qualifying for a home loan is unlikely without making some changes.

But there’s good news after bad, and the good news is that, for most people struggling with debt, filing for bankruptcy is the end of the frightening part. Depending on whether a person files under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, their debts will either be discharged or reduced to a short-term payment plan set by their budget. Most creditors will be required to cease and desist attempts to collect, and the former debtor will finally be able to set about building their life without all the chaos and threatening letters. Bankruptcy is, after all, a relief service guaranteed to citizens by federal law, not a punishment.

So how long does it take to buy a house after filing? The short answer is probably around two years. The Federal Housing Administration won’t guarantee a loan until two years after discharge, and most major banks require a minimum of two years after discharge plus proof of extenuating circumstances. A few examples of extenuating circumstances are loss of employment, divorce, and poor health. In fact, most people who file for bankruptcy have suffered these sorts of hardships. These sorts of hardships are a large part of why bankruptcy protections exist. Different banks have their own policies, but for most, applying for a home loan two years after bankruptcy discharge is generally the most practical option.

But before applying for a home loan, a wise consumer should plan. Many creditors, (such as credit card companies) will be happy to extend credit to a former debtor freshly out of bankruptcy. It’s important to take advantage of the reputable offers, as lines of credit, smartly utilized, will help the former debtor to quickly establish an impressive credit score. In fact, a good attorney should advise their client on how best to go about this, so that their client can confidently set the date that they will apply for a home loan with not just a clean slate but also excellent credit.

 

by Reagan Healey

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Can I get fired for filing bankruptcy?

In short – No.  Pursuant to federal law, no employer (either federal or private) “may terminate the employment of, or discriminate with respect to employment against, an individual who”:

  • Has filed bankruptcy
  • Has been insolvent before a case has been discharged
  • Has not paid a debt that is dischargeable, or the debt was discharged

Interesting enough, this protection extends to non-filing individuals that are associated with the debt (like a spouse on a joint debt).

Bankruptcy protection for your employment is based in solid reasoning and advances a common good for all.  Bankruptcy protects you from a creditor’s collection efforts; therefore, it only makes sense that it should protect you from discriminatory treatment by a creditor when that creditor is your employer.  An employer may not discriminate against you for filing bankruptcy if you were going to advance or get a promotion and not give you that promotion due to your filing bankruptcy.  In addition, an employer may not demote you for filing bankruptcy.

Now, the protection is a bit tricky when it comes to applying for a new job.  Government employers may not discriminate nor refuse to hire you because you filed bankruptcy.  In fact, to get a government job or gain a promotion, you may be required to file bankruptcy.  For example, a former client had to file bankruptcy to get a promotion that would gain her Top-Secret clearance.  The rationale is that she would not be susceptible to bribes or coercion for access to the Top-Secret information in return for money for her debts.  On the other hand, there is no protection for gaining employment with a private employer.  A private employer can deny you employment based upon your bankruptcy filing.

In short, bankruptcy laws are designed to protect a debtor achieve a fresh start.  When you reach that point where the debt gets too overwhelming and you want freedom from your debt, bankruptcy affords you that opportunity.  In addition to discharging your debt, bankruptcy law allows you the chance to start over.  Starting over is not starting over with nothing as you can keep most property that you need to reorganize.  In addition, you can keep your job and continue earning an income after the bankruptcy is completed.

 

by Jeff Bursell

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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When a bankruptcy case is filed…

When a bankruptcy case is filed, section 541 of the Bankruptcy Code provides that all the debtor’s legal and equitable interests become assets of the bankruptcy estate.  Commencement of a bankruptcy case creates an “estate”.  Put simply, your stuff isn’t yours anymore; it belongs to the bankruptcy estate.  Generally, your creditors must look to the assets of the estate for satisfaction of their claims. The estate consists of all property interests of the debtor at the time of case commencement, subject to certain exclusions and exemptions. For the most part, your bankruptcy estate consists of all of the property that you own when you file for bankruptcy.

What property is included in the bankruptcy estate?  All of it—without exception. When you file for bankruptcy, you tell the court about your property by listing it on Schedule A/B.  The types of property you’ll list include:  real estate (residence, building, or land); vehicles (cars, vans, trucks, tractors, sport utility vehicles, motorcycles, watercraft, motor homes, ATVs, etc); personal and household items (furnishings, electronics, collectibles, sports equipment, firearms, clothes, and jewelry); financial assets (bank, stock, and retirement accounts, business interests, legal claims, tax returns, etc); business-related property and any other assets you own

Categories of Property

Property you own and possess when you file. If you own something and it’s in your possession, it’s part of your bankruptcy estate, even if you owe money on it. Property you possess but that belongs to someone else (like your friend’s DVD collection) are not part of the estate.

Property you own but don’t possess when you file. Even if you don’t possess an item of property that you own, it’s still in your bankruptcy estate. Examples of this type of property include security deposits held by your landlord, money in a lawyer’s trust account, the daughter’s car titled in your client’s name, or property that you’ve loaned to someone.

Property you are entitled to receive. If you have the legal right to property but have not yet received it, it’s still in your bankruptcy estate. Examples include wages, commissions, tax refunds, vacation pay, an inheritance, insurance policy proceeds from an event that has occurred already, and accounts receivable.

Some types of property that you acquire within 180 days after filing for bankruptcy. If you acquire or become entitled to the following items within 180 days after you file for bankruptcy, the property becomes part of your bankruptcy estate:

  • an inheritance
  • property you receive or have a right to receive from a marital settlement agreement or divorce decree, and
  • death benefits or life insurance policy proceeds.

Revenue generated by other property in your bankruptcy estate. This would encompass any earnings produced by contracts that were in effect when you filed for bankruptcy. For example, if you wrote a book before you filed for bankruptcy, any royalties you collect afterwards are part of your bankruptcy estate.

Property that you fraudulently transferred prior to your bankruptcy. If you sold property during the two-year period prior to your bankruptcy for substantially less than property is worth, or if you gifted valuable property during this period, the transfer may be “fraudulent” and the property considered part of your bankruptcy estate. The trustee can sue to get the property back.

Preference payments. Bankruptcy law does not allow you to “prefer” one creditor over another. If you paid creditors more than a certain dollar amount before your bankruptcy filing (the time period differs depending on the type of creditor), the payments may become part of your bankruptcy estate. This means the trustee can sue your creditor to get the money back.

Protecting your Assets in your Bankruptcy Case

Every state has different rules on what property the debtor is allowed to protect and what value the debtor is allowed protect or “exempt” for that property. The Bankruptcy Code allows an individual debtor to protect some property from the claims of creditors because it is exempt under federal bankruptcy law or under the laws of the debtor’s home state. 11 U.S.C. § 522(b). Many states have taken advantage of a provision in the Bankruptcy Code that permits each state to implement its own exemption law in place of the federal exemptions. In other jurisdictions, the individual debtor has the option of choosing between federal exemptions or the exemptions available under state law. Thus, whether certain property is exempt and may be kept by the debtor is often a question of state law.  Minnesota allows debtors to choose between state and federal bankruptcy exemptions. This means that your attorney has examined both sets of exemptions and elected the exemptions that better protect your assets.

 

The bankruptcy petition filed includes a schedule of “exempt” property And law allows married couples filing jointly to each claim a full set of exemptions, unless otherwise noted.

An exemption limit applies to any equity you have in the property. Equity is the difference between the value of the property and what is owed on the property. For example, a car valued at $5000 with a loan of $4500 has an equity value of only $500.

 

Filing bankruptcy under Minnesota exemptions does not mean that you have to give up all of your property. Through exemptions, you can keep a certain amount of your assets safe in bankruptcy. Many exemptions protect specific types of property, such as a motor vehicle or your wedding ring. Sometimes an exemption protects the entire value of the asset. Other times, an exemption protects up to a certain dollar amount of an asset. If you can exempt an asset, then you don’t have to worry about it being taken or affecting your bankruptcy.

If your specific asset does not have an exemption or goes over the dollar amount allotted to protect the asset, then that asset becomes fully or partially non-exempt (not protected in your bankruptcy).  To keep a non-exempt asset in bankruptcy, a debtor must generally pay the trustee the value of the non-exempt asset.  The debtor also has the ability to turn that asset over to the trustee if they do not want to pay to keep it.

 

by Dawn Ravn

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Can you Keep your House and Automobile in a Bankruptcy?

Filing chapter 7 bankruptcy Is a big decision that comes with many worries and questions.  Some of those worries include whether you can keep your house or whether you can keep an automobile in a chapter 7 bankruptcy.

The equity in your home and your automobile is protected by “exempting” it from your chapter 7 bankruptcy case. Every state has different rules on what property the debtor is allowed to protect and what value the debtor is allowed protect or “exempt” for that property.  (this is listed as your state’s exemptions).  Each state also determines whether its residents can use the state exemptions, the federal exemptions or whether you have the ability to choose what works best for your situation.

If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, generally you can keep your house as long as:

  1. The equity in your home is fully exempt, which means fully protected by the state laws of bankruptcy, and
  2. As long as you are current on your home.

If you have fallen behind on your house, a chapter 7 will not help you keep your house or get current on your house payments.  A chapter 7 may help you remain in your home a bit longer – but inevitably will result in foreclosure.  At this point, a Chapter 13 could be a viable option to help you keep your house; as long as your income allows for you to provide for a chapter 13 payment and cure the arrears on the home

 

If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, generally you can keep your automobile as long as:

  1. The equity in your automobile is fully exempt, which means fully protected by the state laws of bankruptcy, and
  2. As long as you are current on your automobile.

As with a house, if you are behind on your automobile, a chapter 7 will not help you keep your automobile or get current on your automobile payments.

 

by Dawn Ravn

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Filing Bankruptcy: Before or After a Divorce?

Divorce is one of the most common reasons that people consider filing bankruptcy. On top of being a taxing time emotionally for many, it can also be a large financial burden. Along with other issues, the impact on both parties’ financial situations and their debts can be too much for some to handle.  Bankruptcy can be a solution for this, and there are many things to consider when it comes to the timing of such an undertaking.

The first thing for most to consider is whether they should file jointly, or separately. There are many benefits to filing jointly. The filing cost is the same whether the bankruptcy petition is joint, or individual, and filing jointly often has little increase in attorney’s fees, while filing individually can double those fees, or more.  There may be other factors to consider, such as your income and how that can affect your eligibility for certain types of bankruptcy.

Chapter 7 is a very quick version of bankruptcy often referred to as a liquidation. This type of bankruptcy is designed to handle certain kinds of unsecured debts such as credit cards and medical bills and can be completed in only several months.  However, household income and expenses can affect your ability to qualify, therefore waiting until after a divorce can sometimes be the quicker and easier route for an individual to take.

Chapter 13 is a more comprehensive type of bankruptcy in which certain debts are paid through a 3 – 5 year plan, either in part or in full. This type of bankruptcy can be the better choice for some, in order to protect certain assets or to address certain kinds of debt. Income is again a consideration here as it could affect how much the plan payment is.  Also, some divorces can be contentious, and it may be wise to consider the relationship with the ex-spouse before entering into a 3 – 5 year legal process with them amidst a divorce proceeding.

Bankruptcy can help make a divorce proceeding easier by eliminating the need to decide which spouse will be responsible for which debts through that process, especially through the quicker process of a Chapter 7 liquidation. In such cases filing bankruptcy before a divorce can be especially helpful when combined with the cost saving considerations of a joint bankruptcy discussed earlier.

If you want to discuss when filing bankruptcy may work best for you, speak with an attorney today.  Many attorneys offer free consultations and can help guide you towards the decision that will best help you.

 

by Barry Moore

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Are there disadvantages to filing bankruptcy?

The answer to that question completely depends on your financial situation before filing.  If you have perfect credit, can pay your bills on time and in full each month and could pay off all your medical and/or credit card debt in less than a year, then there could be disadvantages to filing bankruptcy.

However, if you are searching for bankruptcy information, chances are you do not fit into this category.  If you have debt that you cannot service, if your credit score is sink faster than the Titanic or if you are facing constant threat of a lawsuit, then the advantages of filing bankruptcy far outweigh the disadvantages.

The real question to research is – what are the advantages to filing bankruptcy?  The number one advantage to filing bankruptcy as opposed to not filing is your ability to obtain a fresh start.  The United States does not have a debtor’s prison, but the strain from debt piling up can act as a prison to financial freedom.  In most cases, you can discharge your debts (such as credit cards, medical, other loans and some taxes), keep your assets and move forward with life in about three months.

Once you file bankruptcy, your credit report will have to be cleaned of all inaccuracies.  You should know that you are protected by Federal Law when it involves the information contained on your credit report.  Bottom line – your credit report should be accurate.  For example, if after bankruptcy, one of your credit lines is still showing a balance or still in collections, then you have a right to demand that they fix the credit report.  You want to dispute all inaccuracies to make sure that your FICO score is not lowered because one of your credit lines fails to report accurate information to your bureaus.

After you get your inaccuracies all fixed, you should focus your attention to your credit score.  To improve your credit score, you can read many of the books available regarding credit score repair.  Our office provides a service for our bankruptcy clients through www.720creditscore.com.  With the help of 720 Credit Score, you can obtain a credit score of 720 in as few as 12 months.

Disadvantages to filing bankruptcy fade away rather quickly when you ask the right questions: where is your credit score now? Can you get out of debt within 1 year? Do you have lawsuits pending?  If your answers to these questions are yes, then bankruptcy could be the most positive thing you do to improve your financial life.  Do not let fear get in the way of financial freedom.

by Jeff Bursell

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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SS Language

Sometimes the language Social Security uses can be confusing. I am going to go through some of the terms and rules that can be confusing. I am only dealing with Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). SSDI is the benefit you will receive based on credits you have earned by working. Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) has its own rules, and is a need based program.

The term Date Last Insured (DLI) refers to the date at which you have to be found disabled in order to collect Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Social Security figures out the DLI based on credits you have earned by working. You can earn 4 credits per year, or 1 credit per quarter. Social Security deems you eligible for SSDI if you earned 20 credits in 10 years. Put another way, you must work 5 out of the last 10 years. For example, if I worked from January 1, 2007 to December 31, 2011, my DLI will be 5 years from the date I stopped working (December 31, 2016). This means if Social Security decides I am disabled at any time prior to my DLI (December 31, 2016), I will receive SSDI. If Social Security decides I am disabled January 1, 2017, or later, my DLI is past and my credits will have expired.

Alleged Onset Date (AOD) is another term that seems straightforward, but can be confusing. When you apply for Social Security, you need to tell them what date you consider yourself to be disabled. Usually the day after your last day of work becomes your AOD.

Another rule that is confusing is the 5 month waiting period to be eligible for SSDI payments. The rule is this: When found disabled, I need to be disabled for 5 full calendar months in order to collect SSDI payments. If I am found to be disabled on January 10, 2016, then I will not be eligible for payments until July 1, 2016.

I have gone over the problems that we get the most questions about, but it doesn’t even represent the tip of the iceberg, as far as Social Security’s rules. The process is usually long and very frustrating. It can take 2-3 years to get your claim before an Administrative Law Judge, which is where you have the best chance of an approval. This is why we recommend getting an attorney to help with the process. The attorney knows Social Security’s rules, and can help you understand them as well.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is a tick borne bacterial infection. You can be infected by the bite of a deer tick. One of Lyme disease’s telltale signs is a rash, called an Erythema migrans rash. This rash typically occurs within the first 2 weeks of infection, and it looks like a bullseye target. Although most prevalent in New England and some of the Midwestern states, you can be infected anytime you are outdoors. Lyme disease has been reported in 49 states (Hawaii has not had a confirmed case of Lyme Disease), and in every continent, except Antarctica.

Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose. Oftentimes, people either do not get a rash. Some people get flu-like symptoms within the first 2 weeks from the infection. Bell’s Palsy can often occur. That is where you lose muscle control on one side of your face, and it appears to droop. Other symptoms can be fatigue, joint pain and swelling, eye inflammation, and swollen lymph nodes. These symptoms usually occur in the first 2 weeks of the infection. However, these are such general symptoms, they can be diagnosed incorrectly.

Some people have “chronic Lyme disease”. This is officially called Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome. This can occur if you are diagnosed months, or even years after the original tick bite. When this happens, Lyme disease can attack your nervous system, cardiovascular system and can often lead to other diseases, such as Hepatitis B, Guillian-Barre Syndrome and even Meningitis. These are auto-immune responses that your body creates as it tries to fight the infection.

Testing for Lyme disease is a 2 step process. The first step is to test the blood to look for Lyme disease enzymes. If this first test is positive, then an immunoblot test is done, typically called a “Western blot” test. If that is also positive, the diagnosis is complete.

Treatment of Lyme disease is the same, whether it is immediately after the tick bite, or months later. Since Lyme disease is a bacterial infection, it is treated with a 2 to 4 week trial of antibiotics.

There is still much more research to be done on Lyme disease. The use of ongoing antibiotics for Post Lyme Disease Syndrome can cause serious complications, such as liver function abnormalities and infection and blood clots at the site of a catheter used to administer antibiotics. If you suspect you may have been bitten by a deer tick, consult your doctor immediately. If you have been treated for Lyme disease, but are still experiencing symptoms, see your doctor. Your doctor may be able to treat your symptoms.

There are ways of preventing Lyme disease. Reducing exposure to ticks is the best way. If you are outside, apply tick repellant that contains DEET. There are also natural remedies of repelling ticks. Using essential oils, such as garlic, peppermint, rosemary, lemongrass, cedar, thyme and geraniol. These natural treatments, however, have not been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, since essential oils are not regulated by the EPA.  There used to be a Lyme disease vaccination, but production was discontinued in 2002, due to low demand. Experts say the protection provided by the vaccination diminishes over time, so if you received the vaccine in the past, it would most likely not be effective by now.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Complex regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic pain condition in which high levels of nerve impulses are sent to an affected site. Experts believe it occurs as a result of dysfunction in the central or peripheral nervous system. This condition most often affects women, and people who are ages 20-35. It is also more common in people with some other inflammatory or autoimmune disorders, such as asthma.

Diagnosing this condition is difficult. In some cases it may take years to get a correct diagnosis. Some doctors think that pain receptors in the affected body part become to catecholamines. These are simply nervous system messengers. In other words these messengers carry a pain message from the brain to the affected area. In 90% of cases, CRPS is be caused by some sort of injury, and this triggers an immune response, such as swelling, warmth, or redness of the affected area. Occasionally CRPS can develop without a known injury. However, there may have been an internal injury caused by infection, a blood vessel problem or entrapment of the nerves.

Some symptoms can include pain, swelling, warmth and redness in a localized area. These symptoms can be caused by so many disorders, and that is why CRPS is so difficult to diagnose. Oftentimes doctors will make a diagnosis by ruling out other disorders, such as arthritis, Lyme disease, generalized muscle diseases, clotted veins, or small nerve fiber polyneuropathies (such as from diabetes). The distinguishing feature to CRPS is a history of an injury to the area.

Some treatments for CRPS include: physical therapy, psychotherapy, medication, sympathetic nerve blocks (injections into the nerves to numb pain), surgical sympathectomy (removing the nerve cluster thought to be causing pain), spinal cord stimulation (electrodes implanted into the spine near the spinal cord) and intrathecal drug pumps (a device that pumps pain relieving medication to the fluid that surrounds the spinal cord). There are also some emerging experimental treatments, such as intravenous immunoglobulin, ketamine (a powerful anesthetic given in low doses over a period of days), or hyperbaric oxygen (pressurized air that delivers more oxygen to the body’s tissue and organs).

The prognosis for CRPS varies. Typically children and teens have good recovery. Some people are left with unremitting pain and crippling, which can be permanent. It is thought by some doctors that early treatment, particularly physical therapy, is helpful in limiting the disorder. This is just a theory right now, because more research needs to be done on the condition. There is, however no known cure for CRPS. If you believe you could be suffering from this condition, you should consult your physician. You are your own best advocate for treatment and diagnosis.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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What documents will I need when I apply for Social Security Disability Benefits?

Certain documents will need to be provided to Social Security when you apply for benefits.  Providing original documents in a timely manner will expedite the process.  Some examples of documents you may need are:

  • Your Social Security card
  • Your birth certificate
  • Your children’s birth certificates and Social Security numbers (if applying for them)
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful immigration status
  • Your spouse’s birth certificate and Social Security number if he or she is applying for benefits based on your earnings
  • Your marriage certificate
  • Your military discharge papers
  • Your most recent W-2 or tax return

Once documents are gathered, benefits can be applied for in person or online at sss.socialsecurity.gov/applyforbenefits .  Applying for benefits is only the beginning of the process.  Knowing one’s rights along the way is very important to a favorable outcome and as such, you have a right to representation.  For questions related to how to apply for disability or any other issues related to your Social Security Disability claim, please contact us at Hoglund, Chwialkowski, and Mrozik.

by Lyndsey Sharpe

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Medicare Wait Period and Retroactive Benefits

Once disability is determined either at the initial level or by an Administrative Law Judge, you may become eligible for Medicare.  Medicare coverage is available if you are approved for Disability Insurance Benefits under Title II and after a 24 month wait period.  This wait period commences upon the onset date of disability. (The date you are determined to have become disabled.)  For many, this wait period will be either completed or near completed by the time you are approved by an Administrative Law Judge as the Social Security Disability evaluation process can take several years.

During the waiting period you may accumulate medical bills.  In some cases Medicare coverage may be retroactive.  If you paid for medical services you can ask your provider to resubmit medical claims to Medicare and generally healthcare providers have one year from the time of service to resubmit claims.  The two parts of Medicare that you will be enrolled in are Hospital Care (Part A) and Medical Insurance (Part B).  The hospital care (Part A) will be provided for free through Medicare as the taxes you paid financed this coverage.  The medical coverage (Part B) which is mostly doctors’ bills, will most likely require additional premiums for which you will be responsible.

There are additional parts to Medicare that are available such as prescription drug coverage and gap coverage.  For questions related to Medicare, how to apply or any other issues related to your Social Security Disability claim, please contact us at Hoglund, Chwialkowski, and Mrozik.

 

By Lyndsey Sharpe

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Chapter 13 Can Release the Pressure of Auto Title Loans

Many car owners turn to car title loans to try and get through a financial crunch. Car or truck title loans have become a much more common attempt to prevent a financial crisis: about 2 million Americans took out these types of loans in 2015. The concept sounds very appealing; there is a family crisis and cash is needed immediately to deal with it. The borrower can keep driving the car they need to get to work or school and the emergency is also handled. There are two types of payment terms for title loans; either all the emergency cash is paid back in one payment a short time later, or the balance borrowed can be paid back in installments over a slightly longer period of time. However, this temporary relief comes at a hefty price for many; a recent federal study found that 1 in 5 vehicle owners who took out a title loan ended up losing the car or truck to repossession. Once the car or truck is taken by the title loan company, the borrower is left without transportation and must again find a way to quickly get cash to have the vehicle returned by paying off the entire balance of the title loan. These loans sometimes have different terms than general financial principles would dictate. Usually, when a car or truck is given as collateral for a loan by the owner, the interest rates are low because the value of the car or truck or SUV serves as a kind of insurance that the financer will not lose any money. The terms of the contract say the financer can take the vehicle and sell it to recover the money borrowed if the borrower does not pay on time. Title loans, however, have some of the highest interest rates in the consumer finance world; typical interest rates can be higher than 300%. These higher interest rates make it much more difficult to pay off these loans. Paying back only the amount borrowed without paying all the interest means there is still a balance outstanding and that remaining balance must be paid as well. Consumers who want to get these types of loans are not able to negotiate lower interest rates with the financers and have to accept the interest rate offered in order to get the loan.

Cash-strapped consumers can get out of the financial corner these loans can create by meeting with an experiences attorney and using a powerful concept in a Chapter 13 reorganization called cramdown. Car and truck owners can restructure the loan secured by the vehicle as part of the overall reorganization and keep their necessary transportation. Terms that are otherwise not flexible can be made more manageable by reducing the interest rate to a court-ordered level and giving families enough time to pay the balance at the new interest rate over more time than typically allowed under the initial contract. Chapter 13 cramdown of car and truck loans are just part of the relief available to consumers who have debts secured by their vehicles and a consultation with an attorney who is familiar with the relief available to people in a chapter 13 case can mean the difference between having the financial pressure created by pursuing creditors trying to repossess someone’s only means of transportation and having a financial plan in place that works and allows for financial peace of mind.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Why am I paying an attorney to help me file bankruptcy when I am doing all the work?

This is one of the most common questions I receive during the free consultations provided by our firm. It seems like a fair question at the outset, but the reality is, filing for bankruptcy is more complicated than most people realize. There is a lot of document gathering that needs to be done by the client that cannot be done by the attorney. This gives the impression that the client is doing all the work. However, there are a lot of nuances to the bankruptcy code that can have devastating affects if not addressed properly. That is the reason that it is wise to pay an attorney to help file your bankruptcy.

One of the biggest nuances is protecting the equity in your home. There are limits on how much equity an individual can protect before they may have to turn over other assets. The attorney must help the client understand what assets, if any, may be at risk. A plan must then be formulated on how to handle those assets; whether it is to sell before filing or pay the bankruptcy estate to keep the asset. If you don’t own a home, there are still plenty of other reasons to hire an attorney.

Another potential asset at risk in a bankruptcy is a tax refund. Depending on how large your tax refund is going to be and how many other assets you have, it may be that you need to wait to file your bankruptcy so you don’t have to turn over a portion or all of you tax refund over to your bankruptcy estate. Careful planning by an attorney could save you more money than you pay in attorney fees.

So while your attorney may ask you to gather a lot of documentation to file your case, you could be out more money than if you had hired them.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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Debts and Divorce

If you have been involved in a divorce, you may be wondering what happens to the debt that was divided in your divorce agreement. You may also wonder what happens if your ex files for bankruptcy. These answer depend on a few factors surrounding you and your ex.

If the debts you split in your divorce agreement were joint, you are still on the hook for paying the full amount even if your ex is awarded the full debt amount in the divorce. However, you can be reimbursed by your ex if you back the debt. To do this may require to go through the court system if your ex does not voluntarily pay you back. Going through the courts to collect may cost you more than filing for bankruptcy.

On the flip side, if you were awarded a joint debt in the divorce agreement, filing for bankruptcy does not get you off the hook to reimburse your ex if they pay the debt. Filing for bankruptcy only prevents the creditor or collection agencies from collection efforts. The divorce agreement can still force you to pay damages to your ex for violating the divorce decree.

If you are considering a divorce, it may be wise for you and your spouse to file bankruptcy together before filing for divorce. Doing so can cut down on the headaches described above. It can also cut down on the costs of your bankruptcy and your divorce. Contact us today for a free consultation to review your options.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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What Should You Know about your Social Security Lawyer?

Q & A with Social Security Disability Attorney Andrew Kinney

 

Q:  What should you know about your Social Security Lawyer?

A:  If you have a Social Security Disability or SSI claim, denials lead to a Social Security hearing with a judge and usually at least one expert witness.  At the hearing, you should have an attorney with you.  Attorneys only charge you if you are approved.  You should know the following things about your Social Security attorney:

  1. Verify that your “attorney” is actually a licensed attorney. Non-attorneys can represent people at Social Security hearings.  If you want an attorney—especially one who is skilled in cross-examination and legal argument—ask the firm which state or states the attorney doing your hearing is licensed in.  All licensed Social Security attorneys are licensed in at least one state.  Once you know this, you can verify this online.  If you learn your “representative” going to your hearing is not an attorney, you have the right to change who is helping you.  If your Social Security hearing is already scheduled, you can contact the hearing office to ask about how you can change your representation.

 

  1. Ask about your Social Security attorney’s experience. The most important experience is your attorney’s understanding of Social Security law and medical concepts.  Ask your attorney doing your hearing about years of practice in Social Security law, the number of Social Security hearings he or she has completed, and about how your medical evidence may allow you to be approved.  Reach a comfort level with the answers.  Otherwise, you can ask a multiple attorney Social Security firm to switch the attorney assigned to your hearing, or fire the firm altogether.  This is your right.

 

  1. Verify that the firm you are hiring actually will do your hearing. Surprisingly, some firms merely sign up new clients (meaning YOU!) and then pawn them off the regional attorneys who are not employees.  This means two things.  First, you have no idea who your attorney may be at your hearing.  Second, the firm you are hiring has not trained your attorney.  These are significant issues to learn about.  Find this out from the firm listed on your “fee contract.”

I hope this blog will prove helpful when hiring a Social Security attorney.  If you have questions about your own Social Security claim, you can call our law firm (and our Hoglund Law Offices lawyers) at 855-780-4357.

 

Andrew W. Kinney, Esq.

Written by Hoglund Law

The attorneys of Hoglund law are licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC is based in Roseville, Minnesota. In addition to handling cases involving bankruptcy & social security, Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC handles faulty drugs and toxic exposure.

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