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Social Security Benefits – Disability Benefits

Social security is generally known as a program that uses public funds to provide a sense of economic security for the public. Motivated largely by the Great Depression, Roosevelt wanted to make sure that the events of that point in time would not occur again: many Americans out of work and the retired elderly left in poverty.

Social security is funded out of payroll taxes, this means that a certain percentage of a worker’s paycheck is automatically sent to the Social Security fund to give social security benefits to current recipients.
Also referred to as “income maintenance”, social security is a program with very strict guidelines. It ultimately ensures that the beneficiaries are those who need it the most.

Think someone you know is eligible? Read on to find out more.

Social Security Benefits: Why give Financial Assistance?

There are many reasons why Social Security programs are so important. For one, living in poverty is something that most people work very hard for to avoid. Being able to have relief of poverty will help boost morale tremendously.
Second, social protection is the concern of almost every American. The idea of social security ensures the protection against poverty and unforeseeable circumstances. Sickness, for example, or unemployment. Having social protection lets them keep their own assets and properties.
Lastly, solidarity is a basic American value. It is not the same as charity. Social security means a mutual co-operation that can be extended to the rest of the welfare state.

Social Security consists of 2 Parts

In social security, the two separate parts are the Old Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) and the Disability Insurance (DI).
Based on information from social security, of the almost 44 million beneficiaries, only 27 million are retired workers. The rolls include 6 million dependents, 7 million survivors of deceased workers, and 4 million disabled workers.
The Old Age and Survivors Insurance grants pensions of two types:

  • those who are of retirement age and
  • those who are dependents of a deceased insured person

Old-Age beneficiaries are allowed financial autonomy for their retirement while families already burdened by a death in the family are spared financial problems.
Under the Disability Insurance, disabled workers who have worked in the past, or whose parents have worked and paid into the social security trust fund and are now disabled or deceased are given disability benefits. SSDI benefits are payable to disabled workers, widows, widowers and children or adults disabled since childhood.

Can You Qualify for Disability Benefits?

Qualifying for a disability and disability benefits are relatively the same. To be eligible for disability benefits, the applicant must also qualify for the Social Security Administration’s definition of disabled. A doctor’s diagnosis and detailed medical records are necessary to prove that the applicant is indeed presently disabled, with a written documentation of the duration of the disability since it is expected to last for at least one year to qualify. A qualified Disability Lawyer may also help the case and improve the chances of the approval of the application. The Social Security Administration pays a set rate for the attorney once the case is approved.

The Social Security Administration defines disability in terms of the person’s ability to work. Those who cannot work for a year or more, or those whose conditions will likely result in death, all qualify. Examiners at state agencies, in consultation with SSA doctors, determine whether the applicant qualifies through clinical evidence and examinations without meeting the applicants personally.
Mental illnesses, much like physical ones, are also considered to be disabilities. Those with schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, manic depression as well as other disabling brain disorders are all entitled to social security.

To qualify, the individual’s monthly earned income must be less than $1,000, the SGA amount for this year. These values are adjusted every January, a process called indexing. Other than this, an individual needs to have worked and paid FICA taxes for a specified period of time to be eligible for SSDI. If the individual earns at least $1120 for three months, and pays FICA taxes, they earn one SSDI “work credit”. A total of four can be earned in a year.

The number of work credits needed to qualify depends on the age of the disability onset. Younger people need fewer credits.

  • If an individual became disabled before the age of 24, they need 6 work credits within the past 3 years to qualify.
  • If an individual became disabled between the ages of 24 and 31, 12 credits within the past 6 years are needed to be eligible.
  • If an individual became disabled after 31, rules get a little more complicated, with those disabled from 31 to 42 needing 20 credits, and then advancing in multiples of two.
    • Those who were disabled by age 44 need 22 credits,
    • those by age 46 need 24, and so on.
  • Individuals who are unable to work by the age of 62 or older need 40 work credits to be eligible.

When an individual reaches 65, they are now enrolled in the Social Security retirement program instead of SSDI.

Social Security Disability Benefits pay $900 a month

A cash payment and insurance comes with Medicare as well as a Supplemental Security Income with Medicaid, depending on the state. Around 2.5 million new applicants apply each year, with millions already given the social security benefits.
In 2007, $623 a month was the most that the SSI will pay for an individual. The amount varies from person to person, depending on work history, but the average is as previously mentioned, around $900 per month.

Eligibility for monthly SSDI benefits begins five months after Social Security determines the disability onset.
Disability benefits continue so long as the individual is disabled and unable to work. A periodic assessment is done to determine a possible improvement in the individual’s condition. Based on specific reasons, events or activities, the social security benefits can stop.

Applying for a Social Security Disability Insurance can be taxing

Like all disability claims, an application to Social Security should be made. This also applies to guardians and family members. The application may be done in person, through a hotline, or over the internet.
Once the application has been processed, a claim representative will now conduct an in-depth interview in person or over the telephone with the applicant and application forms should be completed. Questions of the applicant’s disability, medical history, leisure time activities and financial status will be raised.
The next step involves a caseworker from SSA and another from the state Disability Determination Service to review the case. The decision will more likely take around six months to process.

Ultimately, applying for any Social Security program will require patience and persistence. If your heart is in the right place, there is no doubt that the Social Security Administration will see that.