More than 64 million US residents collected social security disability benefits as per December 2019 reports. And while workers made up for the most significant percentage of social security beneficiaries, about 14% of the beneficiaries were disabled children and widows.
If you are nearing retirement or cannot work due to a disability, you probably wonder if you are eligible for social security disability benefits. Here are five things to know about social security pension and what you need for approval.
- What Is Social Security Disability?
Social security disability is a program that offers financial benefits and assistance to workers with disabilities.
It comes in handy when a worker suffers an injury that impairs their ability to work. However, you do not necessarily have to be injured to enjoy social security benefits.
Social security pension provides seniors financial assistance after retirement. Even so, the individuals must have social security disability insurance and attain the pensionable age to qualify for the benefits.
Social security pension offers a replacement income for retirees. It also comes through for their families when they are no longer capable of working.
The social security pension check depends on the age at which you start receiving the benefits. The amount is also based on your work history. That is, the number of years you have worked and how much you earned since you started contributing to the program.
Note that social security is not meant to replace your income entirely or cater to all your financial needs after retirement.
You have to save some amounts into the pay-as-you-go system. You must earn enough credits to qualify for a disability insurance program if you are disabled. Even better, your child or spouse may benefit from the social security income if you are no more.
- How Do You Qualify for Social Security Disability?
A lot comes into play when determining if you qualify for social security disability benefits. For starters, your job must be covered by social security. Moreover, your disability or medical condition must meet the definition of disability as outlined by social security.
Ideally, social security pays monthly benefits to individuals incapable of working for a year or more due to a disability or severe medical condition. You are eligible to receive these benefits until you can go back to your work.
You may also receive work incentives, which are continued financial benefits and healthcare coverage to help you get back on your feet and transition to work efficiently.
If you are already receiving social security benefits, they automatically become retirement benefits as soon as you reach retirement age. You continue to receive the same amount as you did before retirement.
Besides meeting social security’s description of disability, you must have worked long and recently enough under social security to be eligible for the benefits.
Keep in mind that social security work credits are calculated per your total annual wages or income if you are self-employed. You can get up to four credits every year. The amount needed for one credit differs from one year to the next.
Furthermore, the number of credits needed to be eligible for disability benefits depends on your age when you sustained an injury or developed the medical condition that rendered you disabled. Seniors require 40 credits to qualify. But young employees may be eligible with lesser credits.
- Hiring a Social Security Disability Lawyer Streamlines Your Claim Filing Process
The disability application process is complex and filled with uncertainties. It will help if you hire a trustworthy social security attorney to take you through the lengthy claim filing process.
The lawyer is experienced and understands the necessary documents and information to maximize your chances of qualifying for the disability benefits. Moreover, the expert will use their skills and expertise to eliminate errors resulting in delays or rejections.
The attorney will prepare solid evidence to show that you deserve the benefits. Furthermore, the law expert will advise you on the necessary reports to help you build a strong case.
What’s more? The lawyer will represent you during the hearing. Considering your condition, you may not make it to and from the hearing sessions.
You need ample time to rest for a speedy recovery. Your lawyer comes through to ensure everything is sorted in your absence.
Most importantly, your lawyer will fight for appeals. You cannot easily do this, especially with little to no knowledge about disability law and rights.
Unfortunately, most disability applications are denied unfairly. This is why appeals are a critical part of the lawyer’s job. Keep in mind that there are strict deadlines for appeals. So you need a proactive attorney who is wary of procedures and deadlines.
Take your time to look for the best social security disability lawyer based on reputation and experience.
The attorney may be your only chance to speed up the claim filing and approval process. Therefore, look for one who has handled similar cases to yours before. The lawyer should be willing to commit to your case.
- Your Condition Should Be In the Blue Book To Qualify for Disability Benefits
Many individuals with disabilities are skeptical about claiming social security benefits. The reason being, they are unsure if their conditions are disabling enough.
Social security considers a range of aspects to determine who qualifies and who doesn’t.
Sustaining an injury alone is not enough to make you eligible for disability benefits. For instance, a person with terminal cancer may qualify for the benefits. On the other hand, the one with a chronic headache may fail to qualify.
As earlier mentioned, your disability or ailment must fit in social security’s definition of disability. SSA has a listing manual referred to as the Blue Book. The list outlines all the conditions that qualify for disability benefits.
The conditions feature both physical and mental limitations that hinder you from working for at least one year.
SSA assesses the severity of your condition to determine if it can prevent you from carrying out your daily duties. In this case, you must provide comprehensive medical reports to back up your claim.
Moreover, the Social Security Administration performs a disability check to establish if your medical condition prevents you from doing your past job, depending on the nature of your role.
Your condition may not allow you to carry out house chores. But if you work from your computer, the chances are that you can still be productive. And this disqualifies you for the benefit.
SSA will also confirm if you can handle other jobs despite your disability. Suppose you worked in the warehouse before the ailment that pushed you to disability. You may not be able to go back there.
Nonetheless, if your education and past work allow, you could be transferred to the customer service desk. In such a case, your SSA will reject your claim.
- Your Condition Must Be Severe Enough To Keep You Out of Work for 12 Months
Before filing a claim for SSDI benefits, ensure that your ailment is severe enough to keep you out of office for at least one year. You must have solid proof that you are aged, 100% disabled, or blind.
The moment after getting into an accident or developing an illness can be traumatizing. The pain may make you feel like you have hit rock bottom. But things may get better with time.
Surprisingly, you may recover fully and be able to return to work within a few months. In such a case, SSA will not approve your claim.
Take an example of a knee or hip replacement. The processes are significant surgeries. But unless there are further complications, it is doubtful that healing will take a full year.
Moreover, you can adjust to a less stressful type of job as you wait to recover fully. Meaning you do not qualify as a totally disabled person.
SSA will check your capacity to function or your residual functional capacity despite the illness. This will help them decide if you can perform in your previous duty. If not, they will decide if you can enter a new line of duty.
For seniors, retirement alone does not guarantee eligibility. If the money you contributed to the disability program is insufficient, you will not be eligible for the benefits.
Understand the Basics of Social Security Disability To Increase the Chances of Approval
Social security disability comes in handy to offer financial freedom to the disabled. It is also an excellent opportunity for the aged to minimize financial stress after many years of hard work. Even better, it offers financial security for your kids and spouse when you are gone.
The above guide gives you insights into how the program works and the requirements to qualify for the benefits. With this, you can avoid the common mistakes and increase your chances of being approved for the social security disability benefits.
Do not hesitate to seek a lawyer’s assistance where you feel stuck. And ensure that your condition is disabling enough before attempting to apply for disability benefits.
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