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Social Security Disability Insurance

Supplemental Security Income and Social Security disability insurance are the largest Federal disability programs managed by the Social Security Administration. Although these two programs are different in many ways, the Social Security Administration administers both programs.

Payroll Funded

Social Security disability insurance is payroll tax-funded. If a claimant meets Social Security's definition of disability, he/she should apply for Social Security disability insurance. The claimant must have a disability that prevents her/him from working or prevents her/him from earning an income over the SGA (substantial gainful activity) level. To qualify for Social Security disability insurance, claimants must prove to the Social Security Administration that they are "permanently disabled," or suffering from a condition, either mental or physical, that has lasted, or is expected to continue for more than 12 consecutive months, OR may result in death. In addition, a individual must be a legal United States resident and have worked a designated amount of time either as an employee or a free lancer where he/she contributed to Social Security taxes. If the person was disabled prior to turning 22, he/she may be able to collect Social Security disability insurance by using their parents' credits without their parents losing any of their own benefits.

If the disabled person is the primary wage earner, Social Security disability insurance assists certain family members by providing them with benefits. Social Security disability insurance is essentially wage replacement income for individuals who have worked and paid FICA (social security) taxes. Social Security disability insurance benefits are payable to disabled workers, widows, widowers, and children or adults disabled since childhood who meet the program's criteria.

Benefits Based on Social Security Earnings

Once an application is approved, the monthly Social Security disability benefit amount is based on the Social Security earnings record of the insured worker. The benefits may continue as long as the person is disabled and meets the work or other eligibility requirements. However, benefits can stop for specific reasons, events, or activities. Periodically the Social Security disability insurance recipient will undergo a review to determine if there is any medical improvement in the individual's condition, as well as to determine whether he/ she continues to be eligible for benefits. When the disabled person reaches "retirement age", generally at age 65, he/ she will leave the Social Security disability insurance program and move into the Social Security retirement program instead.

Some Impairments Are Automatically Considered Disabled

If you have any of the impairments on this list, you are automatically considered disabled. That is not to say, if you have some impairment not on the list that you would be disqualified. If the Social Security Administration deems your impairment equal in severity to the ones on the list, you will be approved. If your impairment is severe enough to prevent you from returning to work at your previous job or any other job, then you may still be eligible to receive benefits.

NOT Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Social Security disability insurance should not be confused with Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI is an income supplement that is not funded by Social Security taxes. SSI is for older individuals or children, who are blind or disabled, with very limited income. SSI gives income for basic needs like shelter, food and clothing.

Many people think they will never need to apply for Security disability insurance. However, a 20-year-old worker has a 3-in-10 chance of becoming disabled before reaching retirement age. The process of applying and obtaining Social Security disability insurance can be long and frustrating. Most people will not be approved in their initial application, or in their reconsideration appeal. Don't be discouraged. Consider consulting with a Social Security disability lawyer. Since each individual's situation is unique, it is wise to contact a Social Security disability lawyer, if your first application or appeal is denied. With representation, you will have a knowledgeable partner who can answer your questions and help streamline the process. A Social Security disability lawyer can be of great assistance to you in pursuing your claim in a court hearing before a judge. An experienced Social Security disability lawyer understands the Social Security disability insurance appeals process. Your Social Security disability lawyer will fight for you to receive the Social Security disability insurance benefits that you deserve.

The content of this website is provided for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice


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