Social Security Disability

The Federal government has two different programs available to individuals, Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income. Both programs are administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and available only to individuals who have disability and meet the medical criteria set out by each program. Upon applying for either program an individual must provide medical information and information about the individual’s previous employment in order to determine whether the individual qualifies.

Social Security Disability Insurance

The SSA does not pay for partial or short term disability. An individual can collect only if he or she has a total disability. Whether a disability is a total disability or not depends on

  • Whether the individual is working and how much money they make a month;
  • Whether the individual’s condition “interferes with basic work-related activities”;
  • Whether the individual’s condition is maintained on the list of medical conditions that the government finds to be extremely severe;
  • Whether the individual can perform the work he performed prior to the disability.
  • Whether the individual can adjust to other work. In making this decision the SSA considers the individual’s medical conditions, age, education, past work experience and any transferable skills that the individual may have.

If the Social Security Disability application was approved, the individual will be paid for the sixth (6) full month after the date the disability began. Social Security payments are paid in the month following the month for which they are due. The amount of the monthly benefit is based on the individual’s lifetime average earnings covered by Social Security. An individual’s current and former spouse and the individual’s children can receive up to 50% of the individual’s disability rate. Receiving other government benefits may reduce the amount an individual and the family members are receiving.

Supplemental Security Income

An individual is eligible for Supplemental Security Income if that individual is over the age of 65, blind or disabled. The individual must also have limited income and resources; be a U.S. citizen or an alien; reside within one of the 50 states; not absent from the country for a full calendar month; allow the SSA to contact any financial institution and request financial records; file an application and meet other requirements.

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