Special Rules For People Who Are Blind Or Have Low Vision
We consider you to be legally blind under Social Security rules if your vision cannot be corrected to better than 20/200 in your better eye or if your visual field is 20 degrees or less, even with a corrective lens. Many people who meet the legal definition of blindness still have some sight and may be able to read large print and get around without a cane or a guide dog.
If you do not meet the legal definition of blindness, you may still qualify for disability benefits if your vision problems alone or combined with other health problems prevent you from working.
There are a number of special rules for people who are blind that recognize the severe impact of blindness on a person’s ability to work. For example, the monthly earnings limit for people who are blind is generally higher than the limit that applies to non-blind disabled workers.
In 2021, the monthly earnings limit is $2,190.
Waiver Of Social Security Disability Income
When youre permanently disabled, its natural to want to keep Social Security disability income because it provides a safety net, but for some people, the income guidelines are too strict. Some people just have to work more to pay their bills, and they may need to make a final decision on whether they should forgo their SSDI benefits.
If you decide to make more money than your state income guidelines allow, you may not have to reapply for benefits in the future if you cant work again. Current SSA guidelines state that if you give up your full-time job within five years and want to withdraw your benefits, you can do so without reapplying.
Also, if you want to try a job after your disability, you can try it for 18 months before deciding whether to continue. Depending on how much you earn on the job, you may be able to maintain your current benefit level for the first month of work in your new job. The trial period will continue until you have used nine cumulative trial periods within a 60-month period.
As long as the monthly premium is paid, Medicare recipients can continue to receive this benefit even if they stop receiving Social Security disability income. This helps many people with disabilities who have pre-existing conditions who do not have other coverage to maintain current levels of medical care.
What Happens To Social Security Disability Benefits When A Spouse Dies
- When a spouse dies, you may be able to receive Social Security disability benefits. Find out how Social Security disability works when your spouse passes.
The loss of a spouse is difficult enough, but along with it, there are financial issues to sort out. When a spouse who had been collecting Social Security disability benefits passes away, that benefit is sometimes passed onto the surviving spouse if they meet certain criteria.
Remember that each person’s situation is different, and if you have any questions about whether or not you’d qualify to receive Social Security disability after a spouse passes, you can contact your local Social Security office or call 1-800-772-1213 to speak to a Social Security representative.
Learn more below about the intricacies of how Social Security disability works after a spouse dies.
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Benefits For Your Divorced Spouse
If you are divorced, even if you have remarried, your ex-spouse may qualify for benefits on your record.
To qualify on your record, your ex-spouse must:
- Have been married to you for at least 10 years.
- Be at least 62 years old.
- Be unmarried.
- Not be eligible for an equal or higher benefit on their own Social Security record, or on someone else’s Social Security record.
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.
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How Social Security Disability Works
If you have a medical condition that prevents you from working a full-time job, whether it is physical or mental in nature, you may be able to claim disability benefits from the Social Security Administration . Understanding the eligibility requirements, application procedures, and appeals process can be confusing, especially for individuals sidelined by a disability.
The SSA offers two types of benefits for disabled workers, Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income . While SSDI is funded by Social Security deductions from paychecks and serves individuals who have paid into the system, SSI is for low-income people, the blind, and children.
To be considered disabled for the purposes of claiming SSDI or SSI benefits, you must have a condition that prevents you from earning a certain monthly income as a full-time worker. Also, the disability must have lasted for 12 continuous months, or is expected to result in death.
The SSA maintains an official listing of medical impairments, commonly referred to as the blue book, of approved medical conditions. This list includes chronic coronary disease mental disorders such as autism, anxiety, and depression hearing or vision loss and Parkinsons disease. But you may still be eligible even if your condition is not listed in the blue book, since each case is considered on an individual basis.
How Your Job History Impacts Disability
As part of the disability evaluation process, SSA will decide whether your medical impairments prevent you from returning to work. Theyll specifically look at the type of work youve performed over the last 15 years. To complete this assessment, SSA must have a thorough understanding of your job title, the industry in which you were working, and the day-to-day physical and mental demands of the work activity. The more details and description you provide about work demands, the better.
However, this is an area to exercise caution because claimants often make mistakes at this step. In some cases, these mistakes unnecessarily delay or torpedo a good claim.
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How Your Ssdi Payments Are Calculated
The severity of your disability will not affect the amount of SSDI benefits you receive. The Social Security Administration will determine your payment based on your lifetime average earnings before you became disabled. Your benefit amount will be calculated using your covered earnings. These are your earnings at jobs where your employer took money out of your wages for Social Security or FICA.
Your SSDI monthly benefit will be based on your average covered earnings over a period of time, which is referred to as your average indexed monthly earnings . The SSA uses these amounts in a formula to determine your primary insurance amount . This is the basic amount used to establish your benefit.
SSDI payments range on average between $800 and $1,800 per month. The maximum benefit you could receive in 2020 is $3,011 per month. The SSA has an online benefits calculator that you can use to obtain an estimate of your monthly benefits.
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What Happens If The Adult Child Gets Married
If he or she receives benefits as a disabled “adult child,” the benefits generally end if he or she gets married. However, some marriages are considered protected.
The rules vary depending on the situation. Contact a Social Security representative at 1-800-772-1213 to find out if the benefits can continue.
To speed up the application process, complete an Adult Disability Report and have it available at the time of your appointment.
File An Ssd Reconsideration Appeal
When your initial SSD claim is denied, the SSA will send you a document outlining the reasons for your applications denial. You have the right to file an appeal if you disagree with the decision. And thisappeal must be made within 60 days after receiving the official denial letter. It is important that you carefully read and understand the reasons for your applications denial so you can make appropriate corrections during your appeal.
If your SSD claims have been denied, it is important to understand your options.
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After The Application Is Completed
Once you complete the application, your file goes to your local Social Security Field Office. The Field Office determines non-medical issues, like if your name matches your Social Security Number, whether you have worked enough to qualify, and other things of that nature.
If everything checks out, then Social Security farms your file out to the State of Californias Disability Determination Service Division . This state agency makes the initial decision on whether you are disabled.
- DDSD will try to order medical records from the doctors and hospitals you remembered to tell them about. They are doing that because they are trying to verify:
- What your medical condition is
- When it began
- What your tests show and
- What treatments you received.
Were There When You Get Married
Whether youre celebrating your anniversary or starting a new chapter alone or with a new spouse, a part of that new life may include a new name. If you legally change your name due to marriage, divorce, or any other reason, let us know so you can get an updated Social Security card and so we can accurately keep track of your earnings. Theres no charge for a.
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Types Of Disability Policies
There are two types of disability policies.
Short-term policies may pay for up to two years. Most last for a few months to a year.
Long-term policies may pay benefits for a few years or until the disability ends.
Employers who offer coverage may provide short-term coverage, long-term coverage, or both.
If you plan to buy your own policy, shop around and ask:
How is disability defined?
How long do benefits last?
How much money will the policy pay?
Were There When You Get Your First Job
Every time you change jobs, your employer verifies your Social Security number with us. Doing so helps reduce fraud and improves the accuracy of your earnings records, ensuring you get the benefits you have earned.
Employers collect FICA, or Federal Insurance Contributions Act withholdings, and report earnings electronically to us. This is how we track your earnings and is how you earn Social Security retirement, disability, spouses, and survivors coverage for you and your family. A worker earns up to four Social Security credits each year and needs 40 credits, or 10 years of work, to qualify for retirement benefits. Its vital that you work at least 10 years to qualify for Social Security benefits to be based on your own work record.
Opening a free allows you to verify your earnings history and see if you will get Social Security retirement benefits. A secure also lets you estimate future benefits.
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How Much Does The Di Program Cost
In 2016, the disability insurance trust fund received $160 billion, mainly from the 1.185 percent tax on wages that workers and employers both pay. Total payments from the DI trust fund were $146 billion, mainly for benefits to disabled workers and their families, meaning that income exceeded outgo by $14 billion in 2016. The cumulative assets in the disability insurance trust fund totaled $46 billion at the end of 2016. Administrative expenses were 1.9 percent of outgo from the DI fund, and the remaining portion paid for benefits.
Social Security Disability Insurance
Social Security Disability Insurance, often shortened to SSDI, is a government program that provides benefits to individuals who cannot work due to disabilities. For many receiving SSDI benefits, this is their only source of income, so wage garnishment due to unpaid debts can be devastating.
Fortunately, disability benefits are protected from garnishment for most kinds of private debts like:
- Medical bills
- Mortgage lenders
Although these entities can receive court orders for garnishment of work paychecks or other forms of income, they cannot touch income from social security benefits. Social security benefits are also protected even if you are sued in a lawsuit, and the court enters a judgment against you.
Other benefits that are also protected from garnishment, much like SSDI, include:
- Supplemental Social Security Income
- Civil service retirement
- Federal Railroad Retirement, unemployment, and sick benefits
These benefits are mostly protected from private debt collection however, they are still vulnerable to collection by the federal government.
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Federal Student Loan Debt And Debt To Other Federal Agencies
Federal student loans are another type of federal debt. If you stop paying your federal student loan and your account becomes delinquent, up to 15% of your SSDI benefits can be garnished to pay the loan.
Garnishment for student loan debt differs from other federal debts in that you are still entitled to the first $750 of your monthly social security and retirement benefits. The wage garnishment cannot leave you with less than $750 a month.
Another situation where you may be subjected to social security disability garnishment is if you owe the federal government for overpayment of food stamps or another government benefit.
We Wouldnt Miss Your Retirement Party
When most people think of Social Security, they think of retirement benefits with good reason. But we are more than retirement benefits we offer many online tools to help you plan for your future.
Use Social Securitys to see what your benefits could be based on when you retire and if your income changes.
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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:
How Many People Currently Receive Social Security Disability Benefits And What Is The Value Of The Benefits They Receive
About 8.8 million workers with disabilities currently receive Disability Insurance. The amount of Disability Insurance benefits that a disabled worker receives is based on his or her earnings before becoming disabled. As Table 1 shows, Disability Insurance benefits typically replace less than half of a disabled workers previous earnings.
As of March 2013, the average monthly benefit for a disabled worker was about $1,129, with male workers receiving $1,255 per month and female workers receiving $993 per month on average. About 1.9 million children of disabled workers and 160,000 spouses of disabled workers also receive supplemental benefits from Social Securityroughly $300 a month on average.
For most beneficiaries of Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security, disability benefits make up most or all of their income. For the vast majority of Disability Insurance beneficiariesabout 71 percenthalf or more of their income comes from Disability Insurance. And for nearly half of beneficiaries, 90 percent or more of their income comes from Disability Insurance. Given the modest extent to which benefits replace lost earnings and the limited sources of other income upon which they can depend, people who receive Disability Insurance are rarely able to maintain the same standard of living they had before becoming disabled. Disability Insurance provides a floor, however, that moderates the decline in their living standards.
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