What is Social Security Disability?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is directly in charge of social security disability. This government agency provides benefits for many people who are suffering. To receive these benefits, an individual must prove disability.

Although most people will not become disabled, many people still do. Studies show that a 20-year-old worker has a 3-in-10 chance of becoming disabled before reaching retirement age. The effects of disability can be devastating.

Fortunately, Social Security Disability Insurance helps by delivering regular monthly payments. To receive these payments, disability claimants must also demonstrate that they are “insured.” Generally, an individual can prove this insured status by showing a history of work.

Applicants must show that their work history has paid into Social Security taxes for long enough. This is typically 5 of the past 10 years of work.

Social Security and Disability

The importance of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits is two-fold. Firstly, these disability benefits offer disabled workers a safety net. Secondly, these disability benefits help the spouses and family members of disabled workers.

Workers deserve to know that they will not be devastated if they become disabled. The consequences of disability can be severe. Medical disabilities can destroy both the individual and family. Medical costs can rise sharply. Treatments can last for decades. Lost wages can greatly hurt loved ones. Overall, becoming disabled is very difficult. It hurts the livelihoods and lives of more than just the disabled individual.

This is why social security disability benefits are so important

With disability benefits, the disabled recipient can rest assured that costs will be covered. As long as the SSA determines that the claimant qualifies, that individual will receive monthly payments necessary to survive. However, this also depends on the efforts of the claimant.

Many claimants for disability benefits do not fully understand what it takes to apply. Some claimants make simple, noticeable mistakes. Other claimants misunderstand the process entirely. When applying for disability benefits, claimants must be sure to understand social security benefits.

The application must be completed properly and fully. All documents pertaining to medical diagnoses and work histories must be provided. With the right paperwork and necessary information, all applicants can make the most of the social security disability process. This process may be difficult but it is not impossible.

Claimants need to prove that the disability has prevented work. Claimants must also demonstrate that the disability they claim is recognized by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA requires that claimants work in certain jobs and have certain disabilities. Unfortunately, some jobs and conditions may not be recognized.

Social security disability attorneys can help claimants meet these many important SSA requirements.

Social Security Disability Requirements

Disability lawyers can help clients understand the ins-and-outs of the SSA. When the SSA evaluates an application for benefits, several things are considered. Firstly, the applicant must show substantial work history. Secondly, that job or career must be a job or career formally recognized by the SSA. Thirdly, the applicant must show a disability that prevents gainful employment. Finally, that disability must be formally recognized by the SSA.

Typically, the Social Security Administration (SSA) pays monthly cash benefits to people who are unable to work for a year or more because of a disability. However, there are always exceptions. Meanwhile, the benefits themselves are usually paid on a regular monthly basis. These benefits continue until the individual is able to work again.

Special rules, called “work incentives,” offer continued benefits and health care coverage to recipients transitioning back to work. Individuals who receive Social Security disability benefits will receive the same amount of benefits when those individuals reach retirement age.

However, those disability benefits will automatically convert to retirement benefits. Nonetheless, there are cases where the SSA may determine a recipient is no longer qualifying for benefits. The SSA can either determine that the individual is working at a “substantial” level, or that the individual is no longer disabled.

In 2011, average earnings of $1,000 or more per month ($1,640 or more per month for blind recipients) were usually considered substantial. The ending of disability is also important. When the Social Security Administration (SSA) decides that medical conditions are no longer disabling, this determination is based on several factors.

The SSA first looks for improvements in the disability. The SSA also looks for changes in work status, such as a return to work or increase in work capability. These work and disability shifts help the SSA to determine if a recipient still qualifies for social security disability benefits.

Generally, if an individual is able to work, that individual is not going to receive benefits. However, there are still more specific criteria pertaining to work and disability. Moreover, individuals who are no longer disabled can still receive some type of assistance from the SSA. These individuals may be eligible for other social security programs outside of traditional disability assistance.

One such program is supplemental security income (SSI), which is based on one’s age, disability, and lack of income and/or resources. Typically, SSI is designed for poor individuals and families. In some cases, an applicant may qualify for both SSI and social security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits.

In the case that applicants are strictly seeking benefits for disability, SSDI is the ideal program. Again, SSDI eligibility is based largely on disability criteria and so-called work credit history. Many applicants who are rejected for SSDI make several crucial mistakes.

Firstly, applicants miss important application and documentation deadlines. Secondly, applicants fail to complete paperwork properly. This includes accurate information concerning personal, medical and employee characteristics. Unfortunately, many disabled workers who are unable to work simply do not understand how the SSA defines ‘disability.’

The system relies on a specific and narrow definition of disability.

How The SSA Defines Social Security

Disability Claimants for social security disability must recognize that benefits are paid only for total disability. The term, total disability,  strictly refers to a disability that has lasted and/or is expected to last. Other types of disability include short term or partial disabilities.

Short term and partial disabilities do not last. They are disabilities that  are reasonably expected to end after a brief period. The SSA will not award benefits to claimants whose disabilities will quickly improve.

When the Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes Disabling Conditions, these conditions must meet certain criteria.

  • A claimant will be determined disabled if:
  • He or she cannot perform work previously performed;
  • He or she cannot adapt to other types of work; and
  • He or she has been disabled for at least 12 months, expects to be disabled for at least 12 months, or expects to die as a result of the disability

In some cases, there are exemptions and exceptions to these rules. Disability claimants should not give up prematurely. In fact, some disabilities are not normally recognized under the standard SSA criteria. Claimants who are blind or have low vision may be eligible for benefits.

Moreover, widows and widowers of workers can also receive benefits. Even disabled children and wounded veterans can receive disability benefits, if they qualify. Claimants for social security benefits have a number of options. Applicants can visit local social security offices.

They can also visit the Social Security Administration (SSA) website for further information. At times, these resources are invaluable.

The requirements for receiving benefits can be very confusing. The work requirements specifically can be confusing. Applicants for social security disability insurance need to fully understand work qualifications.

Disability Work Requirements 

An individual who is participating in “substantial gainful activity” (SGA)   cannot receive disability benefits. SGA typically means that an individual is making more than $1,220 per month in 2019 (or $2,040 if blind).

An individual must also pay into “work credits” to be insured. This      insurance is necessary to qualify for benefits. An individual receives work credits based on total yearly wages or self-employment income.

An individual can earn up to four credits per year. The number of work  credits needed to qualify for disability benefits depends on the age at which the applicant became disabled. Generally, an applicant needs 40 credits, 20 of which must be earned in the past 10 years and end with the   year the applicant became disabled.

Even so, younger workers may receive certain exceptions and qualify with fewer credits. Overall, these individuals can and do qualify if all requirements are met. If the work history and disability diagnosis are recognized by the Social Security Administration (SSA), the applicant will be approved.

However, getting approved can be very difficult. Even if an applicant believes he or she has done everything correctly, benefits may be denied. This can be due to a variety of reasons. Some applicants simply make small mistakes.

This is why legal experts are so important. The best disability attorneys can help clients finally obtain the disability benefits they so desperately need.

Seeking Help From Disability Attorneys

When the process becomes difficult, applicants should seek the expertise of attorneys. Legal professionals understand social security law better than most do. The best social security lawyers will help their clients abide by all SSA requirements.

Some disability advocates have even litigated many client cases. The best social security attorneys will have a keen understanding of the ins-and-outs of the SSA. Some disability lawyers even once worked inside and alongside the SSA. These lawyers can help clients meet the many disability and work requirements for disability benefits.

When in need of social security benefits, claimants should never hesitate. These benefits can mean the difference between a life of struggle and a life of normalcy. Claimants are advised to reach out to the best social security professionals available.

Social security disability benefits can make a world of difference.