Did you know a 20-year-old worker has a one in four chance of becoming disabled before reaching age 67? That is a stunning statistic.
Indeed, disability is something that most people do not really dwell on. We often process it as something that would happen to other people, but would not happen to us, right? But given the statistics, it is always helpful to better understand how you can support yourself in the event that an unfortunate, unforeseen accident renders you disabled in some way.
Accordingly, we will use this blog to discuss the topic of Social Security Disability Insurance. We will cover who can get such disability benefits, and what requirements are necessary to receive those benefits. If, after reading this article, you have more questions or need representation with regard to Social Security disability, call the seasoned professionals at the Law Offices of RITE Law. We can help. Our number is (904) 500-RITE or you can fill out our contact form online. We provide a free case evaluation, so call today.
Social Security Administration Programs
The Social Security Administration pays disability benefits through not one, but two, programs: the Social Security Disability Insurance program, and the Supplemental Security Income program.
1. The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Program pays benefits to you, and specific family members, if you have worked long enough and have paid Social Security taxes during those working years. Also, if you have an adult child who has a disability that started before age 22 then he or she may also qualify for benefits on your earnings.
2. The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Program pays benefits to disabled those adults and children with only limited income and resources.
Who Is Eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security pays disability benefits to individuals who cannot work because of a medical condition that is expected to las at least one year or result in death. That is, in fact, the federal government’s definition of “disability.” It is considered a rather narrow definition because some disability programs under other types of insurance may provide for partial disability. Unfortunately, Social Security does not.
How Do You Apply for Disability Benefits?
If you believe that you have become disabled and are entitled to benefits, there are two ways to apply for disability benefits. You can apply online, at socialsecurity.gov or you can call the Social Security Administration’s toll-free number. If you call, you have the option to set up an in-person appointment with the Social Security Administration (SSA) or a telephone appointment for someone to take your claim by phone.
You have the right to be represented by an attorney in connection with your interaction with SSA. It is highly recommended that you obtain the assistance of an experienced Social Security disability insurance attorney. There are a number of pitfalls in working with the SSA, and having an attorney in your corner will ensure that the process can go as smoothly as possible.
It is important to realize that the processing of a disability claim can take up approximately three to five months. Thus, it is in your interest to begin the process as soon as possible.
When applying for benefits you will need some information for the application, including:
- Your Social Security Number;
- Your birth certificate;
- Details about your medical treatment, such as doctors, medical visits, and hospitals where you were treated;
- Medicines you take;
- Medical records in your possession;
- Lab and test results;
- Details about where you work; and
- Wage and tax statements, and/or tax returns for the past year.
Who Determines Whether You Are “Disabled?”
Whether you are considered “disabled” is a question handled by the state agency in your state that handles such matters.
Once you file your SSA application, the SSA checks off certain preliminary requirements, such as whether you have worked enough years to qualify, and your current work activities. If there are no issues with those preliminaries, then the SSA will forward your application to the Disability Determination Services office in your state.
That state agency then makes the determination on whether you are “disabled” for the purposes of Social Security Disability Insurance. The agency makes the determination by taking a close look at the information you provide about your medical condition, and in consultation with your doctors about your medical condition, and any treatments you received. The case worker will also inquire about your ability to do work-related activities, including walking, lifting, and remembering instructions.
Overall, there is a five-point process to evaluate your case, as follows:
1. Are you currently working? If you are working and you are making more than a certain amount each month, than you normally will not be considered “disabled.”
2. Is your medical condition “severe?” To be disabled for SSDI purposes your medical condition must significantly limit your ability to do basic work activities – like lifting, standing, walking, sitting, and remembering information – for at least one year. If that is not the case, then your will not be eligible for benefits because your condition is not “severe.”
3. Do you meet the “listing?” The SSA has a list of impairments, and gradations of severity for each. If your condition does not fit within a listing, then you may not be eligible for benefits.
4. Can you work as you did in the past? If your medical condition does not prevent you from doing the work you were doing prior to an injury, then you are generally not considered disabled for SSDI purposes.
5. Can you do other types of work? If there is other work that you could do even with your medical condition that might mean you do not have a qualifying disability.
How Much Are SSDI Benefits?
If you are considered disabled so you can receive benefits, then your monthly disability benefit is based on your average lifetime earnings. You begin to receive disability payments in the sixth month after the date your disability began. Your family may also qualify for benefits. For example, your spouse over 62 years old may qualify, as would your spouse if he or she is caring for a disabled child who is younger than 16 years old.
Let Attorneys in Florida Help You with Social Security Disability Insurance.
Without help from the RITE team, making a Social Security Disability Insurance claim can be frustrating and can result in lost time and money. When you turn to our firm, we spring into action, making sure that every detail of your claim is addressed. Call us for help. Our number is (904) 500-RITE or you can fill out our contact form online. We provide a free case evaluation, so call us today.