Receiving Disability Benefits Can Take Longer Than You Think
When I was diagnosed with polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis at 18, I had no clue how it would impact my health, let alone ability to work. I was about to attend college, and I would later intern and start working full-time in a corporate office job. For the first few years after my diagnosis, I was doing okay, but I struggled with a limited range of motion in my right wrist, certain parts of both hands, and my right elbow.
Losing any sort of mobility in your upper extremities such as your hands, wrists, elbows, and shoulders is extremely disabling. We use these parts of our bodies for the simplest of tasks that we dont think twice about until you cant do them with ease anymore. My parents and I were concerned that things were going to keep getting worse.
The first time my parents applied on my behalf in 2007 because I was a minor I was denied because I wasnt seen as disabled enough. Apparently, the proof sent in by my medical doctors didnt qualify me. But a rejection letter took months to arrive. It took until 2008 to get the official denial decision, and by then I was four years into my diagnosis.
In the years after I graduated, my health continued to have its up and downs until I hit a rough patch and working a typical 9-to-5 job became unbearable. As I was still a minor and under my parents insurance until I turned 26, they applied on my behalf yet again in 2011 our second attempt.
What Is The Disability Standard For Disability Insurance And Supplemental Security
Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security are reserved for workers with the most severe disabilities and conditions, and both use the same strict disability standard: inability to engage in substantial gainful activitydefined as being able to earn $1,040 a month in 2013due to one or more severe physical or mental impairments that are expected to last at least a year or could result in death. A workers impairment or combination of impairments must be so severe that the applicant is not only unable to do his or her previous work but also unableconsidering his or her age, education, and work experienceto engage in any other kind of substantial gainful work that exists in significant numbers in the national economy.
Medical evidence is the cornerstone for the determination of disability in both programs. To qualify, there must be medical evidence from a doctor, specialist, or certain other licensed or certified medical sources that documents a severe impairment. Evidence from other health care providerssuch as nurse practitioners or clinical social workersis not sufficient to document a severe medical impairment. And statements from the applicants themselves, their families, co-workers, friends, or neighbors are not treated as medical evidence.
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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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.
Recognizing That I Needed Disability Benefits A Few Years After Being Diagnosed With Juvenile Arthritis Was Hard The Challenge Of Applying For And Receiving Disability Was Harder Than It Should Have Been
Five years. Thats how long it took for me to start receiving disability benefits after I first applied. According to the Social Security Administration , it should take three to five months to process an application. But a decision doesnt guarantee you will receive assistance, and you have to keep reapplying until you do.
Sure, receiving any amount of income is nice, especially if you have an invisible disability and illness that makes it very challenging to work full-time. The process of applying for Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income shouldnt be as difficult as it was for me. There were so many roadblocks that I had to go through to get the help I needed. Whats more, receiving these benefits didnt automatically make my life easier, either. Heres a look at why.
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Who Pays For Disability Insurance Benefits
Workers and employers pay for the DI program with part of their Social Security taxes. Workers and employers each pay a Social Security tax that is 6.2 percent of workers’ earnings up to a cap of $127,200 in 2017. The cap is adjusted each year to keep pace with average wages. Of the 6.2 percent, 5.015 percent goes to pay for Social Security retirement and survivor benefits and 1.185 percent pays for disability insurance. The combined tax paid by workers and employers for disability insurance is 2.37 percent of wages, while the combined tax for retirement and survivor benefits is 10.03 percent, for a total of 12.4 percent.
Adults Disabled Before Age 22
An adult who has a disability that began before age 22 may be eligible for benefits if a parent is deceased or starts receiving retirement or disability benefits. We consider this a “child’s” benefit because it is paid on a parent’s Social Security earnings record.
The disabled “adult child” including an adopted child, or, in some cases, a stepchild, grandchild, or step grandchild must be unmarried, age 18 or older, have a disability that started before age 22, and meet the definition of disability for adults.
It is not necessary that the disabled “adult child” ever worked. Benefits are paid based on the parent’s earnings record.
- A disabled “adult child” must not have substantial earnings. The amount of earnings we consider “substantial” increases each year. In 2021, this means working and earning more than $1,310 a month.
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Social Security Schedule: When June 2022 Benefits Will Be Sent
In April, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers rose 0.3% and the all items index increased 8.3% over the last 12 months. Rising inflation has pushed the Social Security cost-of-living increase to 5.9%, the largest in nearly 40 years.
For Junes payments, the Social Security schedule is as follows:
If your birth date is on the 1st-10th of the month, your payment is distributed on Wednesday, June 8.
If your birth date is on the 11th-20th, your payment is distributed on Wednesday, June 15.
If your birth date is on the 21st-31st, your payment is distributed on Wednesday, June 22.
Social Security benefits have increased by 64% since 2000, according to The Senior Citizens League and as reported by GOBankingRates. Mary Johnson, Social Security policy analyst for TSCL, found that expenses for typical seniors rose 130% during that same period. To maintain the same buying power from 2000, Social Security benefits would need to be $540 higher per month.
You may also qualify for Supplemental Security Income if Social Security isnt enough to cover basic living expenses. To qualify, you must be age 65 or older, disabled or blind and you have limited income and financial resources.
Can I Qualify For Ssi While Collecting Social Security Retirement Benefits
While you cannot collect Social Security retirement and SSDI at the same time to increase your benefits beyond the full retirement amount, there is a program that may allow you to collect additional income.
SSI, which stands for Supplemental Security Income, is a Social Security program that helps seniors and those with a disability who have an extremely low income or limited assets. To qualify for SSI, you need to meet strict income qualifications and have only a minimum amount of resources. Resources, as the SSA defines the term, can be anything that can be turned into cash, such as:
- Bank accounts, stocks, or U.S. savings bonds
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Taxes On Social Security Disability Benefits
If youre disabled and receive Social Security disability benefitswhether SSDI or SSIyou can qualify for certain tax credits.
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Disability recipients can usually get their child support orders modified.
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Understand how workers’ compensation benefits can affect your Social Security disability payments.
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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?
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Please Answer A Few Questions To Help Us Determine Your Eligibility
If you are disabled due to an accident or injury and are under age 65, you may already know that Social Security Disability benefits are available to help you financially until you can return to work, or in the event that you may never return.
In addition to any assistance received in a worker’s compensation claim or personal injury suit, SSDI may be available as a financial aid to help you pay your bills, visit the doctor, fill prescriptions, and provide for your family.
Types Of Income For Ssi And Ssdi
There are generally two types of income for purposes of the Social Security disability programs. Earned income is, as its name implies, income that you receive in exchange for work performed through employment, self-employment, or a combination of both. It also includes royalty payments you might receive as an author, honoraria paid to guest speakers, and payments in connection with a sheltered workshop.
Income that is not derived from work you perform for others is classified as unearned. Unearned income includes the following:
A). Social Security benefits.
C). Disability payments through a state-administered plan.
D). Unemployment benefits.
E). Interest and dividends from investments or bank deposits.
The SSI program includes as unearned income, money that is given to you by friends and relatives out of generosity rather than in return for work you performed for them. SSI guidelines treat the value of food and lodging given to you by other people without charge or at below fair market value as in-kind income.
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How Common Is It For Beneficiaries To Return To Work
Both Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security provide incentives for beneficiaries to work. Disability Insurance beneficiaries are encouraged to work up to their full capacity and can earn an unlimited amount for up to 12 months without losing any benefits. Beneficiaries who work for more than 12 months and have earnings above the substantial gainful activity level cease to receive a monthly benefit. If at any point in the next five years their condition worsens and they are not able to continue working above the substantial gainful activity level, however, they are eligible for expedited reinstatement of their benefits. This means they do not need to repeat the entire, and typically lengthy, disability-determination process that they initially went through to qualify for benefits.
Supplemental Security beneficiaries who are able to work are encouraged to do so as well. Their benefits are reduced based on their earningsafter the first $85 of earnings each month, which is not counted against the benefitbut by only $1 for every $2 of earnings. Beneficiaries who are able to do some work will therefore always be better off with both earnings and a reduced benefit than just the benefit alone.
How Does The Ssa Define Disabled
There are many ways to perceive a word like disabled. However, the SSA has its own set of rigorous stipulations that it uses to determine whos disabled and whos not when it comes to benefits. Although it might seem obvious, the first rule is that you must have a disabling condition. Heres some things this can mean:
- Your condition must have lasted or be expected to last for at least 12 months consecutively
- Your condition is expected to result in death
The SSA further requires that applicants meet a couple of other work qualifications, including:
- Your condition is stopping you from doing the job youve done in the past and are qualified to continue doing
- Your condition prevents you from completing normal work tasks like remembering information, lifting, walking, sitting and standing
The SSA maintains what it calls the Blue Book. This contains a plethora of medical impairments that almost always qualify for Social Security disability coverage. If your condition doesnt fall into any of the categories in the Blue Book, you can still meet this requirement by having a condition thats medically equivalent to one that is in the document. Below youll find a list of some of the main impairment categories:
- Immune system disorders
- Digestive system
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Programs And Perks For Those On Social Security Disability Benefits
Disability Associates – September 24, 2018
Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security benefits can provide individuals with disabilities the resources they need for everyday life. These programs also provide a number of additional benefits of which some recipients may not be aware. Here, the disability advocates at Disability Associates provide an overview of the programs and perks available to those currently receiving Social Security Disability benefits.
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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When Is A Claim Approved And Who Can Receive Benefits From That Claim
A claim is approved when it’s been determined that the applicant meets all the SSA’s criteria for being disabled. When this happens, there is a 5 month waiting period before your benefits start even if your application is approved right away. However, once the wait period is over and you become eligible, you will receive back pay for those months after which the payments will be deposited monthly. If your household income is over a certain amount, those benefits will be taxed.
Family members can also receive benefits depending on several factors but it’s limited to current/divorced spouse, children, disabled children, and adult children that became disabled prior to the age of 22. Additional documentation will be needed if requesting benefits for any of the above-listed persons. Each approved family member is eligible to receive up to 50 percent of your benefit amount but keep in mind that there is an overall household limit. The benefits awarded to family members will not affect what you as the primary applicant will receive.
Which Medical Conditions Are Likely To Qualify For Disability
While any of the above medical conditions are SSDI and SSI qualifying disabilities, some medical conditions are more likely to lead to an approval of benefits than others. We recently surveyed our readers about their experiences in applying for disability benefits and compared their answers to government statistics. The conditions most likely to get approved were multiple sclerosis and some types of cancers. Respiratory disorders and joint disease were also high on the list. For the details, see our article on survey statistics on getting Social Security disability for common medical conditions.
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