Social Security disability benefits include: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Benefits: These benefits may be available to disabled workers and certain disabled family members if the worker has a recent work history of sufficient duration and has paid Social Security taxes. To qualify, the worker must have earned a specified number of work credits. The number of work credits needed to qualify depends on the worker’s age when he or she became disabled. However, younger workers may qualify with fewer credits.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Disability Benefits: These benefits may be available to disabled individuals who have little or no income. Generally, SSI is awarded to disabled individuals who have not worked for a sufficient period of time to qualify for other programs, such as SSDI.
The definition of disability for adults means that the individual must have a medical condition that can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for at least one year that prevents the individual from performing work he or she did in the past, as well as other types of work that exist in the national economy. This definition applies to adult workers, widows/widowers, and “adult” children seeking disability benefits.
For children younger than age 18, the definition of disability is different. The child must have a medical condition that causes “marked and severe functional limitations” and that can be expected to cause death or that has lasted or can be expected to last at least one year.
To decide whether an adult is disabled, Social Security uses a five-step evaluation process. The steps are:
For children younger than age 18, Social Security uses a different evaluation process. In addition to meeting the Social Security’s definition of disability for children, the child must not be working and earning more than a specified amount monthly.
For adults, Social Security considers medical records from your doctors as well as any consulting doctors who may have examined you at the agency’s request. Social Security also considers other evidence such as: your complaints about symptoms and medication side-effects and how they affect your ability to function; your daily activities; third party reports about your condition and how it affects your ability to function; your age, education, and work experience; and vocational evidence about jobs that may be available in the national economy.
For children, Social Security looks at medical and other information (such as information from schools and from you) about the child’s condition, and considers how the condition affects his or her daily activities. Social Security considers questions such as:
You have the right to appeal when you receive a decision of Social Security denial of benefits. Generally, there are four levels of appeal. They are: reconsideration; hearing before an administrative law judge; review by the Appeals Council; and federal court review. At each level, Social Security will send you a letter explaining its decision and the timeframe for filing an appeal.
For Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, the amount awarded depends on how much the wage earner worked and earned in the past.
For Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits, the amount awarded is pre-established, but may be reduced if you have other sources of income.
For Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, workers and widows will begin receiving benefits on the sixth full month after the date the disability began. The five-month waiting period does not apply to individuals filing as children of workers.
For Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits, benefits may begin as early as the first full month after you apply or became eligible for benefits.
There is no minimum age to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. However, you must meet Social Security’s definition of disability and have earned the required number of work credits. The number of work credits you need for disability benefits depends on your age when you become disabled.
Social Security will automatically enroll you in Medicare after you get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits for two years. Medicare has two parts – hospital insurance and medical insurance. Hospital insurance helps pay hospital bills and some follow-up care. The taxes you paid while you were working financed this coverage, so it is premium free. The other part of Medicare, medical insurance, helps pay doctors’ bills and other services. This coverage requires a monthly premium.
If you get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits, you may be able to get help from your state or county, such as Medicaid, food or other social services.
Some people who get Social Security disability benefits will have to pay taxes on their benefits. You will have to pay federal taxes on your benefits if you file a federal tax return as an “individual” and your total income is more than $25,000. If you file a joint return, you will have to pay taxes if you and your spouse have a total income that is more than $32,000.
Social Security rules make it possible to test your ability to work without losing your right to benefits. Additionally, if you cannot continue working because of your medical condition, your benefits can start again – you may not have to file a new application. There are different rules depending on whether you are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). You can contact a Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) coordinator to obtain more information about the decision to work. More information on Social Security’s WIPA project is available at: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10095.html#a0=1.
Your Social Security disability benefits will continue as long as your medical condition has not improved and you cannot work. Your case will be reviewed at regular intervals to make sure you are still disabled.
If you are still receiving disability benefits when you reach full retirement age, they will automatically be converted to retirement benefits.
There is a time limit on filing for your disability benefits. So contact us today.
The hiring of an attorney is an important decision that should not be based solely upon website communications or advertisements. No assurance of the completeness, comprehensiveness, correctness, or currency of the information included on this website is given. The materials and information presented on this website are not legal advice and should not be relied upon or construed as legal advice. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Kristi Ward Stephens Law, its attorneys, or its clients. The information provided on this website does not create an attorney-client relationship.
The act of sending an email to someone affiliated with us, or submitting information via an electronic or written form, does not create an attorney-client relationship. Accordingly, please do not send us information about representing you in a potential legal matter unless you cleared the matter with the attorney involved. Any unsolicited communication without proper authorization may not be treated as privileged or confidential.