Although disability is not a topic people like to think about, it is an issue that we all need to consider and plan for. In fact, studies have shown that a 20-year-old working person has a 30% chance of becoming disabled before reaching his or her full retirement age.
A few FAQ’s about Social Security Disability:
- What does Social Security determine to be “disabled”?
In order to determine whether an individual is “disabled” and entitled to receive disability benefits, Social Security uses a five-step evaluation process. Major factors of consideration in the evaluation process is the applicant’s current work activity (if any), their medical condition and how their medical condition affects their overall ability to work. In addition, Social Security only pays benefits for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial or temporary disability.
- If I qualify for disability benefits, how much will I receive per month?
The Social Security Administration pays disability benefits through 2 structured programs: the Social Security Disability Insurance program (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. The amount of your disability benefit will depend on the type of disability benefits you receive.
SSDI benefits are determined by your average lifetime earnings (or those of certain family members) when those earnings are insured under Social Security. Your benefits may be reduced, however, if you receive any payment from worker’s compensation, a public disability benefit, or a pension based on earnings that is not insured under Social Security.
SSI benefits, on the other hand, depend on your individual financial need, as determined by your income, the resources available to you, and your overall living and family situation.
- Will I still receive my Social Security disability benefits if I go back to work?
It is possible for you to work temporarily without losing your monthly Social Security disability benefits. The Social Security Administration allows for a trial work period, which allows you to test your working ability for a period of at least 9 months without cutting off your benefits, regardless of how much you earn at work. After the 9-month trial work period, Social Security will continue to provide you benefits for another 3 years; however, benefits will be limited to $1,690 per month for blind individuals and $1,010 per month for individuals who are not blind.
- Can I receive both Social Security benefits and SSI benefits?
Yes. If you have low income and few resources, you may be entitled to receive SSI in addition to your monthly Social Security benefits.
- Can I receive both Medicare and disability benefits?
Once you become eligible for disability benefits, the Social Security Administration automatically enrolls you in Medicare. You will begin receiving Medicare 24 months after the month in which you were entitled to receive disability benefits. Special rules may apply for different people, so it is always best to consult with an attorney or Social Security administrator about your situation.
- When will my Social Security disability benefits be cut off?
As long as you are disabled, your medical condition has not improved, and you remain unable to work, you will continue to receive your disability benefits. If you continue to receive disability benefits until you reach your full retirement age, your disability benefits will automatically convert to retirement benefits.
- What if I am not satisfied with Social Security’s decision on my benefits application?
If you are not satisfied with Social Security’s decision on your benefits application, you do have the right to request an appeal of their decision. If you choose to do so, you must file your appeal within 60 days from the date you received the decision letter. The appeals process can be very complex. It is best to seek help from an attorney who is experienced in Social Security cases.
Contact Attorney Michael Dennin
Michael J. Dennin, Esq. at The Law Offices of Vincent J. Ciecka, P.C. has protected the rights of people in New Jersey and Pennsylvania since 2005. An accomplished trial lawyer, Michael J. Dennin has successfully obtained significant verdicts and settlements for his clients.
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