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Read our informative blogs on social security disability.

Social Security Disability FAQ

Social Security is a complicated issue and for those that rely on it in the event of trouble, it can be unsettling when they find out just how challenging it can be to receive the benefits that had been expected. When looking to retain benefits, turn to a Rochester Social Security lawyer for qualified guidance.

Who is eligible for Social Security disability benefits?

Those that work in a job that is covered through Social Security can receive the benefits if the need arises. This is the first part. Next is having a medical condition that falls into the definition of a "disability" as stated by Social Security. It is for those that have a disability that leaves them unable to work for a year or more. It is not for short term use. It will continue on until a person is able to return back to their old job or a new career path that they are able to do with the limitations of their disability. Some are never able to return to their jobs and once they reach the age of retirement, the benefits will change from being disability to retirement, with the amount staying consistent.

What are the Earning Requirements?

There are two earning tests that will need to be met in order to qualify. There are four quarter periods that are used each year to help in this process. The first test is that you must have worked within a certain time frame that will be dependent on your age. For those that become disabled in the quarter during which you turn 31, then you will typically need to work 5 out of the 10 years that end during the quarter that you disability starts. The other test is that you worked for a long enough duration of time. Only the "duration of work" test will need to be met for some blind workers. As a generalization, those that become disabled at 30 will need 1.5 years of work duration, while those that are disabled at 60 will need 9.5 years of work duration.

How do you apply for benefits?

You will want to start by making sure you have all necessary documents. This can be found through the disability benefits checklist that is on the Social Security government website. It includes W-2 forms, information of your spouse and children, medical information and other important items. Next, the Disability Benefit Application will need to be completed and this can be tricky to fully and correctly fill out. You want to make sure that everything is done right so that there is less of a chance of it being denied from a technical error. After this the Disability Report will need to be done for either an adult or a child, then the SSA Form-827 (Authorization to Disclose Information to the Social Security Administration) will need to be completed.

What is considered disability?

Social Security pays for total disabilities. This is defined by them as an impairment that restricts a person from conducting the same line of work they had done before, that prohibits them from being able to adapt to another form or work or the disability is expected to remain (or has remained) a year or till death. It is unlike workers' compensation in that it does not offer temporary relief for those that may be momentarily restrained from their jobs. When the government is assessing who is disabled, they ask five questions:

  • Is the individual working?
  • Is their condition "severe"?
  • Is their disability included in the list of conditions?
  • Are they able to return to their former line of work?
  • Is there another type of work they can do instead?

What are the benefits?

With studies indicating that there is a 30 percent chance of a 20 year old worker finding themselves disabled before they retire, the benefits are something that everyone should be considering. There are two programs that disability benefits are paid through. This is the Social Security Disability Insurance program and the Supplemental Security Income program. The SSDI is a federal program that is payroll tax-funded and offers an income supplement, providing financial assistance to cover day to day costs and medical expenses. There were around 10.6 million Americans that were gaining the benefits of SSDI in 2011.

I was denied. Is there anything else I can do?

Many people have their benefits denied when they actually should be receiving them. Sometimes this is a simple error that can be fixed and other times it requires a dedicated attorney to pursue a more favorable outcome. One option for those that have had benefits denied is to seek further medical opinions that can build a more solid case which demonstrates your disability.

When are benefits paid?

Payment will begin the month after the one that you gained benefits in. Date of birth will also be used as an important factor to decide on the date of payment.

Are there taxes if benefits are earned?

It will depend on the situation. It is important to understand where you fall from the beginning so you will have a better idea of your financial situation. State and local taxes cannot be implemented by Social Security but the state and local governments can take their own stance on how this is handled. There may be federal taxes for those that file their federal tax return with an income that is over $25,000 and as an individual. For a married couple that files together, taxes will be paid if the total income between them is over $32,000. When you are looking to find out if your benefits can be taxed, the information can be found on the back of the Social Security Benefits Statement through the Internal Revenue Service Notice 703.

How are benefits decided for younger individuals?

It will depend largely on the age. For those that are under 18, the benefits are more immediate. After that, other factors come in to play. For those 18 and over, they can receive benefits if they are disabled or are a student in elementary or high school. They can also earn benefits if their disability began before they had reached the age of 22 of if they meet the definitions of an adult disability as listed on the U.S. Social Security Administration's website.

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