Social Security Turns Most People Down
As anyone who’s been through the process will tell you, it isn’t easy to get Social Security disability benefits. Our survey backed up that general impression. Overall, only about four in ten of our readers were ultimately approved for benefits.
Of course, the outcome for your individual claim will depend on whether you meet the medical and other eligibility requirements. Still, many people who sincerely believe they’re too disabled to work aren’t able to get benefits. Are there certain characteristics or circumstances that make some claims more likely than others to be approved? Our survey confirmed what you might suspect: It’s easier to get benefits for some medical conditions than others . But the results also pointed to other, less-obvious factors that make a difference.
“Go to your doctors, do all they ask, and follow up with your specialists. Have witnesses who can speak to the limitations your health issues create. My attorney helped make the process smoother and less stressful.”
Cecilia, 47, California
How Does Social Security Work
1. To qualify for benefits on retirement, a US citizen needs to have collected 40 lifetime work credits.
Thats not all, as of 2021, a working person gets one credit for every $1,470 in Social Security taxable earnings. A maximum of four credits could be earned in a year, so to become eligible, the person would have to work for at least ten years with earnings of at least $5,880 per year. These earnings required for each credit are adjusted annually, so the figure would keep changing for every year of employment.
2. Social Security statistics show that waiting to take benefits until age 70 will increase your receivables by 8% a year beyond full retirement age.
Because of legislation passed in 1983, Social Securitys full-benefit retirement age has been increased from the traditional 65 to 67 for people born in or after 1960. Early retirement benefits will continue to be available from 62. When the full-benefit age reaches 67, however, the benefits available at 62 would be 70% of the full benefit. On the flip side, if you delay benefits until the latest claiming age of 70, your projected Social Security income per year would be notably higher than if you had claimed the benefits at 67 or earlier.
3. Social Security facts and figures suggest that the largest Social Security payment an individual can receive in 2021 is $3,895 per month.
4. As of 2020, the FICA tax rate has remained mostly unchanged at 7.65% since 1990.
We’re Just Hiding You Guys
There’s a story we hear all the time these days that doesn’t, on its face, seem to have anything to do with disability: Local Mill Shuts Down. Or, maybe: Factory To Close.
Four years ago, when I was working as a reporter in Seattle, I did that story. I stood with workers in a dead mill in Aberdeen, Washington and memorialized the era when you could graduate from high school and get a job at a mill and live a good life. That was the end of the story.
But after I got interested in disability, I followed up with some of the guys to see what happened to them after the mill closed. One of them, Scott Birdsall, went to lots of meetings where he learned about retraining programs and educational opportunities. At one meeting, he says, a staff member pulled him aside.
“Scotty, I’m gonna be honest with you,” the guy told him. “There’s nobody gonna hire you Ã¢â¬Â¦ We’re just hiding you guys.” The staff member’s advice to Scott was blunt: “Just suck all the benefits you can out of the system until everything is gone, and then you’re on your own.”
Scott, who was 56 years old at the time, says it was the most real thing anyone had said to him in a while.
There used to be a lot of jobs that you could do with just a high school degree, and that paid enough to be considered middle class. I knew, of course, that those have been disappearing for decades. What surprised me was what has been happening to many of the people who lost those jobs: They’ve been going on disability.
Recommended Reading: Is Disability Insurance Tax-deductible For Self-employed
Expect Possibly Longer Wait Times
In March 2020, the Social Security Administration mostly shuttered its in-person services.
Today, it is still largely processing correspondence online and via postal mail.
A recent investigation by the Social Security Office of the Inspector General found there have been some big delays for people waiting on application decisions.
Currently, it’s taking about 125 days for the agency to process an initial claim, Geist said. For applications that are reconsidered, there’s an additional four months to six months, he said.
So if you’re planning to file an application for benefits for any disabling condition, including Covid-19 and associated long haul issues, “the earlier, the better,” Geist said.
Do Many People Lose Their Social Security Benefits After A Disability Update
Social Security may require a doctor visit as part of a medical review.
Social Security offers disability insurance to workers who have paid in to the system through their payroll taxes. If you’ve been approved for disability, you draw a monthly benefit that is calculated in the same way as the monthly pension Social Security pays to retirees. However, disability beneficiaries must go through periodic Continuing Disability Re-Evaluations, in which Social Security examines their records to decide if a return to work is possible.
Also Check: Can My Va Disability Be Garnished
Why Is There A Shortfall In The Disability Insurance Trust Fund And What Can Be Done About It
As described above, Disability Insurance is funded by a dedicated share of payroll tax contributions0.9 percent of taxable wages paid by workers and the same amount by employers. Since the mid-1990s the Social Security Administration has consistently projected that the Disability Insurance trust fund would have sufficient reserves to cover all scheduled benefits until 2016, but that after that date, additional funds would be needed to avoid a shortfall in the necessary funds to continue paying full benefits. If no action is taken to address the shortfall, the Disability Insurance trust fund will only be able to pay 80 percent of scheduled benefit levels after 2016.
Congress has addressed similar shortfallsin both the Disability Insurance trust fund and the Old Age and Survivors Insurance trust fund, which pays retirement benefitsnearly a dozen times in the past by temporarily reallocating the share of overall payroll tax revenues that is dedicated to each trust fund. In some cases, they have reallocated funds from the Disability Insurance trust fund to the Old Age and Survivors Insurance trust fund in others, they have reallocated funds from the Old Age and Survivors Insurance trust fund to the Disability Insurance trust fund.
What Are The Most Common Disabilities For Di Recipients
Many beneficiaries have multiple conditions. Of the nearly 9 million individuals receiving disabled worker benefits at the end of 2014, 31 percent had mental impairments as the main disabling condition, or primary diagnosis. Musculoskeletal conditions such as arthritis, back injuries and other disorders of the skeleton and connective tissues were the main condition for 32 percent of the disabled workers. These conditions were more common among beneficiaries over the age of 50. About 8 percent had conditions of the circulatory system as their primary diagnosis. Another 9 percent had impairments of the nervous system and sense organs. The remaining 20 percent includes those with injuries, cancers, infectious diseases, metabolic and endocrine diseases, such as diabetes, diseases of the respiratory system, and diseases of other body systems. Moreover, many beneficiaries have life-threatening conditions: about 1 in 5 men and nearly 1 in 6 women who enter the program die within five years.
Also Check: California State Disability Amount
Social Security Disability Thresholds
Disabled Worker, Spouse and One or More Children: $2,195
All Disabled Workers: $1,261
Disabled Worker, Spouse and One or More Children: $2,224
All Disabled Workers: $1,277
How can you increase your social security disability benefits or how can you receive the maximum social security disability benefits?
Unfortunately, since the formula is largely based on your work history, there are not many ways to increase the amount you can receive for social security disability payments or benefits.
However, it is crucial to take immediate steps as soon as you become disabled and are no longer able to work. Your condition must last for at least a year, is expected to last for at least a year, or will end in death. You can ask an SSDI lawyer or representative for assistance or receive a free evaluation to determine the amount you may be eligible for. Further, you can ask your doctor to help you fill out some of the forms required to prove your disability. You must be specific when filling out this information, reporting your diagnosis, and how the disability affects your everyday life and inability to work.
In addition to social security disability benefit payments, you can also receive other forms of disability benefits, such as SSI, food stamps, affordable housing programs, or other forms of assistance.
The Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool is also a great resource that you can use to find the right social security benefits for you.
Monthly Statistical Snapshot December 2021
|Type of beneficiary||Both Social Security and SSI|
|Disabled, under age 65 a||12,555|
|. . .|
|NOTES: Social Security beneficiaries who are entitled to a primary and a secondary benefit are counted only once in this table. SSI counts include recipients of federal SSI, federally administered state supplementation, or both.|
|. . . = not applicable.|
|a. Includes children receiving SSI based on their own disability.|
|b. Social Security beneficiaries who are neither aged nor disabled .|
|CONTACT: 965-0090 or .|
For detailed annual and time series program data, see our .
|Type of beneficiary|
You May Like: Can You Get Disability If You Ve Never Worked
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.
How Many Social Security Recipients Die Every Day
About 1.6 million retired beneficiaries and 250,000 disabled worker beneficiaries of Social Security die every year. This brings the per day figure to about 4,380 for retired workers and 680 for disabled workers.
What percent of seniors live only on Social Security?
According to 2020 figures from the SSA, among elderly Social Security beneficiaries, 21% of married couples and about 45% of unmarried persons rely on Social Security for 90% or more of their post-retirement income.
Will Social Security be around in 2055?
While Social Security is expected to be still around in 2055, it is estimated that the Social Security Trust Fund will be depleted by 2035.
This means that, from 2035 onward, Social Security payouts will be funded only by the income from payroll taxes. These taxes are expected to be able to account for only about 75% of the benefits due to retirees. This is, of course, assuming that the present trends continue and Congress doesnt come up with alternatives to ensure the continuation of 100% benefits.
Also Check: Va Claims Insider Elite Reviews
Who Is Eligible For Di Benefits
The Social Security test of disability is very strict. To be eligible for disability benefits, the Social Security law says that the applicant must be unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months. Furthermore, the impairment or combination of impairments must be of such severity that the applicant is not only unable to do his or her previous work but cannot, considering his or her age, education, and work experience, engage in any other kind of substantial gainful work which exists in the national economy ).
A person is considered to be involved in substantial gainful activity if he or she earns more than a certain amount. If a non-blind individual earns more than $1,170 a month in 2017, he or she would not be eligible for disabled worker benefits. The amount is adjusted each year to keep up with average wages. The substantial gainful activity level for blind individuals in 2017 is $1,950 a month.
State agencies, operating under federal guidelines, make the medical and vocational determinations for the Social Security Administration about whether applicants meet the test of disability in the law. Medical records, work history, and the applicant’s age and education are considered in making the determination.
Fact #: Social Security Lifts Millions Of Elderly Americans Out Of Poverty
Without Social Security benefits, about 4 in 10 Americans aged 65 and older would have incomes below the poverty line, all else being equal, according to official estimates based on the 2019 Current Population Survey. Social Security benefits lift more than 15 million elderly Americans out of poverty, these estimates show.
An important study that matches Census estimates to administrative data suggests that the official estimates overstate elderly reliance on Social Security. That study finds that in 2012, 3 in 10 elderly Americans would be poor without Social Security, and that the program lifted more than 10 million elderly Americans out of poverty.
No matter how it is measured, however, its clear that Social Security brings millions of elderly Americans out of poverty and dramatically reduces the elderly poverty rate.
Also Check: Medically Retired Military Pay Calculator
Social Security Disability Insurance
Social Security Disability Insurance is a payroll tax-funded federal insurance program of the United States government. It is managed by the Social Security Administration and designed to provide monthly benefits to people who have a medically-determinable disability that restricts their ability to be employed. SSDI does not provide partial or temporary benefits but rather pays only full benefits and only pays benefits in cases in which the disability is “expected to last at least one year or result in death.” Relative to disability programs in other countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development , the SSDI program in the United States has strict requirements regarding eligibility.
People frequently confuse Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income . Unlike SSDI where payment is based on contribution credits earned through previous work and therefore treated as an insurance benefit without reference to other income or assets, SSI is a means-tested program in the United States for disabled children, disabled adults, and the elderly who have income and resources below administratively mandated thresholds. A legitimately disabled person of any income level can receive SSDI.
Contact Our Ssi Lawyers To Learn More
Krasno, Krasno, & Onwudinjo can help you with the application process to get SSI benefits. We understand how much these benefits mean to you and your family, and we provide most services at no up-front cost to you. We only get paid if you get benefits. Set up afree, no obligation consultation with our team today.
Also Check: Can You Get 100 Disability For Ptsd
Catching Social Security Disability Fraudsters In The Act
Investigators go undercover to catch people committing fraud.
Undercover Investigation into Disability Fraud
May 9, 2014 — UPDATE: Since this story first aired on May 9, 2014, Cory Eglash was sentenced to 15 months in prison and three years of supervised release for committing disability fraud. He was also ordered to pay a $10,000 fine to the federal government.
The Social Security disability program is meant to be a lifeline for the severely disabled, but shameless con-artists are increasingly seeing it as a way to make easy money, thinking that no one is watching.
The Office of the Inspector General for Social Security says its investigations uncovered $340 million in savings for the government during the last fiscal year. Meanwhile, new applications for disability are on the rise as the U.S. population ages.
In Washington state, Special Agent Joe Rogers leads the state’s “Cooperative Disability Investigations Program,” a sort of a CSI unit of the OIG for sniffing out disability fraud. He said he and his team handle a minimum of ten to 12 cases a week, and they rely on surveillance footage and complex paper trails to catch people in the act.
Rogers and his agents recently busted Ramona Hayes, 42, and Cory Eglash, 52. The two of them ran a coffee shop in Friday Harbor, a beautiful tourist town in Washington’s San Juan Islands. With the eye-catching name “Criminal Coffee” the two of them boasted their cafe was “The place to come when you’re on the run.”
Fact #: Social Security Is Particularly Important For People Of Color
Social Security is a particularly important source of income for groups with low earnings and less opportunity to save and earn pensions, including Black and Latino workers and their families, who face higher poverty rates both during their working lives and in old age. The poverty rate among Black and Latino seniors is over 2.5 times as high as for white seniors. There is a significant racial retirement wealth gap, leading seniors of color to face more retirement insecurity than white seniors. African American and Latino workers are less likely to be offered workplace retirement plans and likelier to work in low-wage jobs with little margin for savings. Social Security helps reduce the economic disparities between white seniors and seniors of color.
Don’t Miss: How To Get 100 Percent Disability For Ptsd