The Social Security Administration Recognizes Your Condition As Disabling
Eligibility for social security disability benefits requires either that the disability lasts, or is expected to last, 12 months or longer, or will result in your death. This means that disability benefits are paid only for long-term disability short-term disability does not qualify.
The Social Security Administration Blue Book lists more than 100 medical conditions the SSA considers disabling. Each condition has specific criteria applicants must meet, through medical evidence, to prove their disability. Being able to meet these criteria doesnt guarantee that the SSA will rule that you are disabled enough to receive disability benefits. Some people can meet a listings criteria from a medical standpoint yet, either through workplace accommodations, treatment, or an ability to adapt to or work through any pain, still be able to work. But meeting the criteria for a specific listing increases your chances of approval.
Information You Need To Apply
Before applying, be ready to provide information about yourself, your medical condition, and your work. We recommend you print and review the . It will help you gather the information you need to complete the application.
Information About You
- Your date and place of birth and Social Security number.
- The name, Social Security number, and date of birth or age of your current spouse and any former spouse. You should also know the dates and places of marriage and dates of divorce or death .
- Names and dates of birth of children not yet 18 years of age.
- Your bank or other and the account number.
Information About Your Medical Condition
- Name, address, and phone number of someone we can contact who knows about your medical conditions and can help with your application.
- Detailed information about your medical illnesses, injuries, or conditions:
- Names, addresses, phone numbers, patient ID numbers, and dates of treatment for all doctors, hospitals, and clinics.
- Names of medicines you are taking and who prescribed them.
- Names and dates of medical tests you have had and who ordered them.
Information About Your Work:
- Award letters, pay stubs, settlement agreements, or other .
We accept photocopies of W-2 forms, self-employment tax returns, or medical documents, but we must see the original of most other documents, such as your birth certificate.
Do not delay applying for benefits because you do not have all the documents. We will help you get them.
Social Security Disability Insurance
To be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance , you must not only be disabled, but you must also have built up sufficient “work credits” with Social Security. Exactly how many credits you will need depends on your age and the year you became disabled. You must have worked some part of five of the last ten years before you became disabled.
If your application is approved, your Social Security disability benefits will include cash payments in an amount determined based on your personal earnings record. Average payments range from $1,100 to $1,300 a month. Higher earners who paid higher FICA taxes will get a larger benefit.
After collecting disability benefits for 24 months, you will become eligible for Medicare, regardless of your age. In the meantime, if your income is low, you may qualify for Medicaid.
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How Do I Get The Most Disability Back Pay
You will want to do two things. First, you will want to make sure Social Security has your medical records going back going back to at least the time you filed your application. You should provide Social Security with the earliest records possible. Two, you will want to prove that you met the definition of disability as far back as possible.
This means reviewing your medical records, but it also means reviewing your work history since Social Security will try to determine what kind of work, if any, you can still do. Work includes your past work, but also other work you might possibly do based on your age, skills, and education. A disability attorney will make the argument that you do not have the ability to do your past work, or other work.
Can You Do Any Other Type Of Work
If you cant do the work you did in the past, we look to see if there is other work you could do despite your medical impairment.
We consider your medical conditions, age, education, past work experience, and any transferable skills you may have. If you cant do other work, well decide you are disabled. If you can do other work, well decide that you dont have a qualifying disability and your claim will be denied.
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Does Ssi Or Ssd Pay More Back Pay
Either program can pay significant back pay. It depends on how long your claim takes. Whether the claim is for SSD or SSI makes no difference since they are handled exactly the same way. SSD, however, has a waiting period, while SSI does not have a waiting period.
What do we mean by waiting period? Think of it as an elimination period. Social Security Disability has a five-month waiting period, meaning that if you get approved the Social Security admininistration will not pay you for the first five months that you were considered disabled. This, of course, is why it is important to prove that your disability began as far back as possible and this is why your medical records are so important. This is a big part of what a disability attorney focuses on when they handle your case.
How disability back pay works can be confusing, but if you apply for disability and get awarded, you will most likley get back pay. Ironically, the only times a person will not get back pay, or get very little back pay, is when they apply after first becoming disabled and are immediately approved. This does not happen often.
How To Get A Social Security Card
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Earn Ssa Work Credits In Some Countries
You may not have enough credits from your work in the United States to qualify for retirement benefits. But, you may be able to count your work credits from another country. The SSA has agreements with 24 countries. If you earned credits in one of those countries, they can help you qualify for U.S. benefits.
How Does A Person Qualify For Ssi
In addition to meeting the disability criteria , an SSI enrollee must meet several non-medical criteria, including having a low income. SSA has complex rules for determining financial eligibility. In general, income is anything received in cash, earned or unearned, that can be used to meet a persons need for food or shelter.17 Income is countable except for some limited amounts that are disregarded.18 Income also includes in kind support, such as any food or shelter provided or paid by another person. In kind support generally is valued at one-third of the maximum federal benefit amount.19 SSA also deems a portion of income from a persons spouse or parent/step-parent as countable income.20 To financially qualify for SSI, a persons countable income cannot exceed the maximum federal benefit rate , and the amount of SSI that a person actually receives is the maximum federal rate reduced by the amount of their countable income.21 These rules apply to SSI enrollees of all ages.
Figure 4: SSI Disability Determination Process for Adults
Figure 5: Disability and SSI Status of Nonelderly Adults with Medicaid, 2019
Figure 6: SSI Application Allowance Rate for Medical Decisions by Adjudicative Level, 2018
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What Do I Need To Do
It is likely you qualify for EXR if you meet the following conditions.
- Your Social Security payments stopped because you were making too much money after you returned to work
- You submitted your EXR application no later than five years after your benefits stopped
- You stopped working because of a condition that is the same as or closely related to the one you were receiving benefits for
- Your condition has not seen a medical improvement
If you meet these requirements, apply for EXR right away. The SSA is likely to give you provisional benefits for up to 6 months while they review your case. Provisional benefits are usually approximately the same amount as your previous SSDI or SSI benefits, and they usually dont need to be paid back, even if your EXR claim is denied. Provisional benefits may stop if 1) You receive a decision regarding your EXR, 2) You engage in SGA, or you 3) Reach the full retirement age .
Canada Pension Plan Disability Benefits
The Canada Pension Plan provides monthly payments to people who contribute to the plan during their working years.
You may be eligible for CPP disability benefits if:
- you contributed to the CPP for a certain number of years
- you’re under 65 years old
- you have a severe and prolonged mental or physical disability
- your disability prevents you from working on a regular basis
The benefits include payments to children of a person with a disability.
Apply as early as possible if you think you’re eligible for CPP disability benefits. Quebec residents may be eligible for a similar program called the Quebec Pension Plan . It may take several months to process your application.
If you applied for CPP or QPP disability benefits and were told that you’re not eligible, you can ask to have your application reviewed or considered again.
Once you reach age 65, your CPP disability benefit will automatically change to regular CPP payments. Your regular CPP payments may be less than the CPP disability payments you got before.
If so, consider:
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How To Stop Social Security Check Payments
The SSA can not pay benefits for the month of a recipients death. That means if the person died in July, the check received in August must be returned. Find out how to return a check to the SSA.
If the payment is by direct deposit, notify the financial institution as soon as possible so it can return any payments received after death. For more about the requirement to return benefits for the month of a beneficiarys death, see the top of page 11 of this SSA publication.
Family members may be eligible for Social Security survivors benefits when a person getting benefits dies. Visit the SSA’s Survivors Benefits page to learn more.
Tips For Getting Retirement Ready
- Relying on Social Security alone may not be the best option when it comes to saving for retirement. As you approach early retirement age, its best to save as much as you can along the way. Our retirement calculator can help you determine how much money you need to retire comfortably.
- Financial advisors can help you manage Social Security benefits, taxes and much more. If youre having trouble finding the right fit, SmartAssets free financial advisor matching calculator pairs you with up to three advisors in your area.
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How To Receive Federal Benefits
To begin receiving your federal benefits, like Social Security or veterans benefits, you must sign up for electronic payments with direct deposit.
If You Have a Bank or Credit Union Account:
- Call the Go Direct Helpline at .
If You Don’t have a Bank or Credit Union Account:
- Direct Express debit card – a pre-paid debit card. Get help by calling the Go Direct Helpline at .
Make Changes to an Existing Direct Deposit Account:
Learn how to make changes to an existing direct deposit account. You also may contact the federal agency that pays your benefit for help with your enrollment.
Social Security Disability Payments Are Modest
At the beginning of 2019, Social Security paid an average monthly disability benefit of about $1,234 to all disabled workers. That is barely enough to keep a beneficiary above the 2018 poverty level . For many beneficiaries, their monthly disability payment represents most of their income. Even these modest payments can make a huge difference in the lives of people who can no longer work. They allow people to meet their basic needs and the needs of their families.
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How Much Is The Disability Benefit
The disability benefit is linked through a formula to a worker’s earnings before he or she became disabled. The following figures show how the disability insurance benefits compare to prior earnings for a worker who became eligible for benefits in 2014 at age 55.
|Earnings Before Disability||Annual DI Benefit|
*Average indexed earnings
The average benefit paid to disabled workers in June 2017 was $1,172 a month or about $14,064 a year.
If Your Application Is Denied
After we review your application and the information you provided, we may decide you do not meet the qualifications for disability benefits.
If you disagree with our decision, you have the right to ask us to look at your application again. The notice you receive from us that says you don’t qualify will explain how to appeal our decision and the time period in which you must make the request.
If we decide you don’t qualify:
Because you are not disabled under our rules, you can appeal our decision online.
The online disability report will ask you for updated information about your medical condition and any treatment, tests, or doctor visits since we made our decision.
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You Could Be Entitled To $3148 Per Month Get A Free Disability Evaluation
The entire process of applying for Social Security disability benefits is overwhelming, from keeping track of deadlines to making sure that your application is complete.
Your attorney can help guide you through the appeals process so that you can be assured that you are doing everything the right way. Though there is no guarantee that hiring a disability benefits attorney will make you win your case, it can greatly improve your chances of success.
You can bring in a disability benefits lawyer at any point in the application or appeals process. Your attorney will know what information should be included in your initial application, as well as what should be added to strengthen your appeal. He or she will know when the deadlines are, and your attorney will be able to help you through every stage of the appeals process so that you do not have to do it on your own.
Most disability benefits attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, so you do not have to pay anything unless you win your case. They will collect their fees from any back pay you are owed, which can either be 25% of the back pay or $6000, whichever is less. Since you do not have to pay up front and you only pay if you win your case, there is a major upside to working with a lawyer through the process.
How Much You Will Receive
The amount of your monthly SSDI benefit is based on your lifetime average earnings covered by Social Security.
If you don’t already have an estimate, you can get your Social Security Statement online with your personal mySocial Security account or use our Benefit Calculators to determine how much you could get if you became disabled right now.
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How To Use The Disability Blue Book To Your Advantage
The Social Security Administration evaluates each claim using a comprehensive list of medical conditions, the Disability Evaluation Under Social Security, commonly referred to as the Blue Book. The Blue Book features 14 different categories of conditions and their related diagnoses, symptoms and treatment. The idea is that the SSA can quickly locate a condition in the Blue Book and determine whether your condition qualifies you for disability benefits.
When you are in the initial application process or in the request for reconsideration phase, the Blue Book can help you determine what medical documentation will help to make your case as strong as possible. If you locate your condition in the Blue Book, you can see what information will be used to decide your claim and you can provide as much evidence to support your case.
In some cases, though, your condition is not enough to qualify you for disability benefits, and so the SSA will request that you complete a residual function capacity form . The RFC determines how much work you are capable of performing given the limitations of your condition.
Your doctor is the one who fills out the RFC form, thus ensuring that the information provided is based entirely upon your medical history.
The RFC form is your chance to present specific information about your unique situation to the SSA. Your doctor knows your case and understands your limitations based upon examination and observation.
Information We Need About Your Work And Education
To decide whether you are disabled, we use a five-step process. Listed below are frequently asked questions about Step 4 and Step 5 of the process.
We need to find out about your past work to decide if you can still do it. To make this decision, we need to know how you did your job. We also need to know if you learned skills on your job.
We need this information to see if you can do any of your past work. Remember that you are not disabled according to our rules unless your illnesses, injuries or conditions prevent you from doing your past work or adjusting to other work.
Information about your education and training are also very important to us. If you cannot do your past work, we look at your age, education, training, and work experience to see if you can do other kinds of work.
Disclaimer: The following is general information only. The Social Security Act and related regulations, rulings and case law should be used or cited as authority for the Social Security disability programs.
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