Most people are aware that there are Social Security disability benefits, but the possibility of becoming disabled is not something most people want to think about. Unfortunately, the chance of becoming disabled during your working years is greater than you might think. Studies show that young workers have a 30% chance of becoming disabled before they reach retirement age. Fortunately, Social Security can help if you find you can’t work due to a disability or illness.
In general, Social Security Disability Insurance provides benefits to workers who can no longer work due to an illness or disability that is expected to last for more than one year or to result in death. The federal definition of disability is pretty strict; state and other disability programs may not have such strict requirements to qualify for benefits.
Continue reading Understanding Social Security Disability Benefits…
Before 1935, it was a family’s duty to care for its old and disabled loved ones. But if there was no family, or no willing family, old and disabled people were left to eke out an impoverished existence that may have included begging and that always included working, however unproductively, until they died.
As part of the New Deal, Congress passed and then President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act in 1935. It conferred monetary benefits upon old and disabled Americans who had little recourse other than to give younger or healthier relatives –many of whom were struggling to find work — an extra mouth to feed.
Today when people think of Social Security, most think mainly of Social Security retirement benefits. But the Social Security Administration is more than a repository for retirement funds. To prevent undeserved poverty, it also pays benefits to the disabled and to surviving spouses and the minor children of productive Americans who didn’t live long enough to collect benefits themselves.
Continue reading Social Security – More Than a Retirement Account…
Most people think of retirement when they hear Social Security, however Social Security provides benefits to people who are disabled as well.
The list of requirements that must be met for Social Security disability benefits is pretty long, and many people don’t meet those requirements. In fact, the Social Security Administration says over 60% of applicants are denied each year because they don’t meet the strict definition of disability.
Before filing for disability – tests you must meet to determine if you are eligible for benefits:
First, you must be fully insured, which means you have earned 40 credits over 10 years in covered employment. In 2011, you must earn at least $1,120 to earn one credit and $4,480 to earn four credits (you can only earn four credits in a year). If you have less than 10 years of work history, there is an alternative test based on your age to determine if you meet the duration of work test.
Continue reading Do You Qualify for Disability Benefits?
You should apply for disability as soon as you become disabled since it takes time to process your application. One reason why the process takes so long is that Social Security does not review the applications; they contract with state governments to review and process the applications. The SSA provides the rules and does quality reviews to make sure the state governments are complying, but the work is done by the state agencies, called Disability Determination Services.
Before your application gets forwarded to the appropriate state agency, the SSA reviews your application to determine if you meet the basic requirements for disability, such as whether you have worked enough years and reviewing your current work activities. If you meet these basic requirements, then your application will be forwarded to the appropriate agency in your state for further review.
The state agency then determines if you meet the medical requirements for disability. They ask your doctors for information about your condition, when it began, what treatment you have received, how the illness or condition affects your ability to work (i.e., can you walk, sit, lift, carry, etc.). While your doctors are not asked if you are disabled, they are asked for substantial information to help the state agency determine if you are disabled.
Continue reading What Happens When You Apply for Disability Benefits…
Many people think SSI and Social Security Disability benefits are the same. They are actually two very different programs. One is a need-based program that is only available to low income people, the other is based on your earnings history. The only similarity is that both provide benefits to people who are disabled.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
While SSI is managed by the Social Security Administration, it is not a Social Security program. SSI is funded by the US Treasury, not Social Security taxes. SSI is a program for low income people who are age 65 or older, or who are disabled or blind. Children who are blind or disabled may also qualify for Supplemental Security Income.
The main point to remember about SSI is that it is a need-based program, which means that you must have very limited finances to qualify. Social Security looks at both your income and your assets available when determining if you can receive benefits. For more information on who qualifies, please read SSI Income Limits: How Much Can You Earn and Still Qualify for SSI?.
Continue reading The Difference between SSI and Disability…