Social Security Disability

The Social Security Disability (SSD) program is administered by the federal government and provides benefits to people who are disabled due to a physical or mental condition. This program does not provide benefits to those who have a partial or short-term disability. Rather, the program administers benefits to those who are unable to do any work for which they are suited and the disability is expected to last for at least one year or result in death.

You may become eligible for SSD at any age. To qualify, you must have 1) the required number of work credits; and 2) a disability as defined by the Social Security Administration.

If you qualify for SSD, other members of your family may also qualify for benefits on your earnings record. The include: your unmarried child and in some cases a stepchild or grandchild; The child must be under the age of 18 or under the age of 19 if in high school full time; your unmarried child age 18 or older, or if he or she has a disability that started before age 22; your spouse who is age 62 or older, or any age if he or she is caring for a child of your who is under age 16 or disabled and also receiving checks; If you die, your disabled widow or widower age 50 or older. The disability must have started before your death or within 7 years after your death.

The Social Security Administration keeps track of your work history. Credits are given each year for work performed and reported to Social Security. You will most likely qualify if you have worked 5 of the last ten years. However, you should go to your local Social Security Office and they will provide you with information regarding your work credits and monthly benefit amount.

The Social Security Administration uses a formula to determine if an individual is disabled. The formula is based on your work history, the severity of your medical condition, whether your condition is found on the Government's List of Disabling Impairments, whether you are able to do the work you have done in the past 15 years, and whether you can do any other type of work.

Do not be surprised if your claim is denied. Sixty percent (60%) of all claims are denied after an initial review. You should therefore appeal this decision. There are four stages of an appeal: Reconsideration, Administrative Law Judge Hearing, Appeals Council Review and Federal Court Appeal. It is recommended that you have an advocate to act on your behalf during the appeals process. A lawyer will represent claimants to assist them through the application and appeals process.

If your claim is approved, you will receive payment based upon a lifetime average of earnings. This amount may be lessened by workers compensation or other benefits being paid to you. The total amount of all benefits being paid cannot exceed 80% of your former average earnings. It is important to note that Social Security Benefits may be taxed if your income is high enough.

If you would like more information on any topics which concern a legal matter, please contact Rob Wertheimer for a free initial consultation at 715-381-1273 or click here.