Social Security Disability

Understanding the Basics of Social Security Disability Insurance

If you’re disabled and unable to work, you may be eligible to apply for and receive benefits through the Social Security Administration. Several programs exist that may apply to your situation. Understanding the basics of each program and how you can apply for these benefits is the first step in getting help from Social Security Disability Insurance.

What is a Disability?

In simple terms, if you are unable to earn “substantial” income through work due to a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that will last for at least 12 months or that is terminal, you have a disability that entitles you to assistance from the Social Security Disability Insurance program. Children under 18 may be considered to have a disability under similar conditions, too. There are other qualifications. To learn more about disability definitions, visit: What is a qualifying Social Security disability?

What Programs are Available?

  • Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) – If you have worked and contributed to Social Security in the past, you may qualify for these benefits. Typically, you must have worked and paid FICA taxes for five of the past 10 years. Your disability must prevent you from earning more than a specified monthly income. The amount of that income changes annually. The monthly benefits awarded depend, in part, on your previous earnings. Benefits may be paid retroactively for up to a year. A five-month waiting period applies – that is, you must be disabled five full months before your entitlement to monthly benefits begins.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) – The monthly maximum Federal amounts for 2016 are $733 for an eligible individual and $1,100 for an eligible individual with an eligible spouse. These amounts may be reduced by other income. Retroactive benefits are not awarded. SSI is also available to disabled children in low-income households. Some states also may provide supplemental benefits, in addition to SSI.
  • Disabled Adult Child Benefits – Disabled adult children of adults receiving DIB benefits or who received DIB benefits before their death may qualify for benefits. The disability must have been in effect before the 22nd birthday and the adult child cannot have done “substantial” work after the age of 22.
  • Disabled Widow’s/Widower’s Benefits – If you are a disabled widow or widower over the age of 50, you may be eligible for benefits based on your spouse’s Social Security record. These benefits may apply, even if you were divorced from your spouse, as long as you were married for more than 10 years.
  • Medical Insurance – If you are disabled and receiving Social Security disability benefits, you will be eligible for Medicare or Medicaid insurance. There is a 25-month waiting period for Medicare insurance after you became disabled. Medicaid has no such waiting period but is available only if your income and resources are very low.

For more detailed information on these benefits, visit: What Social Security Benefits are available?

Do I Qualify For Social Security Disability Benefits? How Do I Obtain Benefits

If you have a disability and are unable to engage in “substantial employment” (i.e., earn over $1,010 per month) because of your disability, you might qualify for one of the programs described above. For details about who qualifies for particular programs, visit: Who qualifies for Social Security Benefits?

The first step in applying for Social Security disability benefits is an interview  with the Social Security Administration. To start the process, call the SSA at 1-800-772-1213. They will schedule an interview, either in person at the local Social Security office or by telephone. Once the interview is completed, you will receive a number of forms to review, sign, and return to the Social Security Administration. It may take up to 6 months or longer for the initial decision to be made. If your application is denied, as it is in over 75% of cases, contact Greeman Toomey PLLC to begin the appeal process as soon as you receive notification of denial. For more information on the application and appeal process, visit: How do I apply for Social Security Benefits?


Greeman Toomey PLLC – Your Social Security Disability Attorneys

Social Security Disability Insurance and other programs are complex and confusing for most people. If you are denied benefits, as happens in the majority of cases, you will need timely and expert legal help. At Greeman Toomey PLLC, our experienced and dedicated attorneys have helped many thousands of clients get the benefits they need and to which they are entitled. Our clients pay us nothing unless benefits are received. To schedule a free initial consultation or to ask questions about Social Security Disability Insurance, call us today. There are time limits for every step in the process, so don’t wait until it is too late.