Meeting The Definition Of Disability
The government uses a five-point process to determine whether you meet the SSDI definition of disability, a measure of how severe your condition is in relation to your eligibility for benefits.
Are you working?
Disability insurance replaces your income when you canât work, but itâs possible to continue working and still receive benefits. Under SSDI, if youâre already unable to work at the time you apply, youâll automatically move on to the next part of the process.
If you are still earning an income, you have to earn less than the monthly earnings limit to qualify for benefits. In 2018, the monthly earnings limit for SSDI recipients is $1,180 per month for nonblind people and $1,970 per month for blind people. If you earn more than this amount, your application may be denied.
Additionally, you must report any changes in your work activity after you start receiving disability benefits, including new income, new work-related expenses, or starting a new job. Some changes may affect your benefit amount.
Is your disability âsevereâ?
Your disability must be so severe that it inhibits your ability to perform substantial gainful activity for at least one year. Substantial gainful activity means any physical and mental action you need to do for your job.
Is your disability listed by the SSA or equivalent to a listed disability?
However, if your condition is not on the list, then the administration will determine whether or not it equals a listed condition in severity.
Benefits For Your Divorced Spouse
If you are divorced, even if you have remarried, your ex-spouse may qualify for benefits on your record.
To qualify on your record, your ex-spouse must:
- Have been married to you for at least 10 years.
- Be at least 62 years old.
- Be unmarried.
- Not be eligible for an equal or higher benefit on their own Social Security record, or on someone else’s Social Security record.
How Insurance Companies Handle Overpayments
Insurance companies typically deal with an overpayment in one of three ways. Most companies require immediate reimbursement of the full overpayment amount as soon as you receive your backpay. Others will agree to reduce your monthly LTD payment until the debt is satisfied. Finally, if you dont pay the overpayment out of your Social Security backpay, insurers occasionally stop paying LTD payments entirely until the overpayment has been repaid, but this option is usually a last resort.
Expect your LTD insurance company to require you to sign a Social Security Reimbursement Agreement, stating that youll repay any retroactive Social Security benefits to the company. You may also be sent a Payment Option Form offering you the choice to receive a reduced amount of LTD benefits while your Social Security case is pending, so that you dont have an overpayment to pay back with your Social Security backpay. Predictably, almost no one accepts this rather unappealing offer.
Social Security Benefits Vs Ssi Benefits
The Supplemental Security Income program can help make ends meet but, as you can see, qualifying beneficiaries may need to identify other programs to add extra stretch to the monthly budget. If youre considering SSI and believe you meet the needs-based standards, ask about the SNAP! Program if you dont already receive food stamps.
Many states also offer supplemental income programs . If you qualify, its possible to receive state supplemental income and SSI. A short list of states dont offer state supplemental income programs to residents. If you dont live in Arizona, West Virginia, Arkansas, Texas, Oregon, Mississippi, and Tennessee , its challenging to determine the amount of SSI income you may qualify for. Your living situation may also affect how much money you receive in SSI benefits.
Contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 to discuss your SSI application questions or make an appointment with the SSA office nearest you. If you already receive Social Security benefits, including Social Security disability, its possible to qualify for SSI in some situations.
How Social Security Contributions Affect Your Taxes
The Social Security tax rate is 6.2% for the employee and the same for the employer, for a total of 12.4%. If youâre self-employed, you have to pay the full 12.4%. For this reason, hiring contractors is an advantage for companies since they donât have to pay Social Security taxes or even any payroll processing overhead.
The amount paid by the social security tax reduces your taxable income. For example, if you make $100,000, $6,200 is paid in social security taxes, leaving $93,800 to be taxed by federal and state entities. Social Security taxes are applicable to the first $137,700 of wages for 2020 . The $137,700 limit is called the wage base.
The Medicare tax is split the same way â 1.45% paid by the employee and the same for the employer, for a total of 2.9%. This means your combined FICA tax rate is 7.65%. The Social Security portion of these taxes max out at $8,537.40 for 2020. That is up from $8,239.80 in 2019.
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Benefits For Your Children
When you qualify for Social Security disability benefits, your children may also qualify to receive benefits on your record. Your eligible child can be your biological child, adopted child, or stepchild. A dependent grandchild may also qualify.
To receive benefits, the child must:
- Be unmarried.
- Be under age 18; or
- Be 18-19 years old and a full-time student ; or
Lunn & Forro Pllc: Your Social Security Disability Insurance Attorneys
The Social Security Disability lawyers at Lunn & Forro, PLLC work with people just like you to ensure they receive the benefits they need and deserve. The SSDI qualification and application process does not have to be confusing and frustrating. Let us use our experience, skills, and resources to help you get the monthly benefits you need. Call our office today at 888-966-6566 to schedule a time to talk to a Social Security Disability lawyer or use our online Free Case Evaluation to have an attorney review your case.
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How Can The Social Security Disability Programs Be Improved To Increase Economic Security And Work Opportunities For Beneficiaries
Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security increase economic security for millions of disabled workers. For beneficiaries whose conditions improve, the programs also provide important incentives and supports for returning to work. Still, the programs could be further strengthened to increase disabled workers economic security and provide a more seamless transition for those who are able to return to work.
Modernize Supplemental Security
The value of Supplemental Security benefits has eroded considerably since the programs inception in 1972, as the programs income exclusions and asset limits have not kept pace with inflation and living standards. The current maximum benefit is equivalent to just three-quarters of the also-outdated federal poverty line for a single person. The general income exclusion and earned income exclusion have never been increased. To address this erosion, H.R. 1601, the Supplemental Security Restoration Act, sponsored by Rep. Raul Grijalva and introduced in Congress in April 2013, would increase the monthly maximum benefit to $937, which is 100 percent of the current federal poverty line, and would increase the general income disregard to $110 per month and the earned income disregard to $357 a month. Increasing the income exclusions and indexing them to inflation going forward would restore the monthly benefit amount to its intended value and significantly increase beneficiaries economic security.
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Social Security Disability Insurance As A Long
SSDI is a disability program that is government funded. You pay Social Security taxes, which pays into this program. If you become unable to work because of a medical condition and you meet the requirements set by the SSA, you can start receiving monthly disability benefits after the six-month waiting period, which is based on the date you are determined to have become disabled.
To be eligible to receive SSDI, you must have worked enough to earn sufficient work credits. The amount of your monthly benefits is dependent upon the work credits you earned and the amount of your earnings from employment.
In order for you to be approved for monthly SSDI benefits, you have to meet the strict criteria set forth by the SSA to be disabled per the government agencys guidelines. This means you must be able to prove that your condition prevents you from being able to perform any kind of work in the national economys current state.
This can be much more complicated that proving you are disabled to receive long-term disability insurance benefits. For SSDI benefits, you must be fully disabled, which means you cannot perform any kind of work duties at all because of your medical condition. There are specific criteria set for different disabling conditions in the Blue Book, which is the SSA medical guide that is used for disability determination.
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Check Your Group Policy What Do Offset Clauses Look Like
Group disability policies have language about offsets, known as an offset clauseor a right of offset, to ensure that claimants only receive a percentage of their pre-disability earnings .
The following is an example of a typical group disability-insurance policys offset clause:
The obligation of a party to indemnify any claim under this Article X shall be reduced by the full amount of any collectible insurance proceeds actually received by the indemnified party with respect to such claim or the underlying facts under any applicable policy or policies.
Put simply, this clause reserves the insurers right to reduce its payments to you by the amount of payment you receive from other, third-party sources.
Sometimes, however, offset clauses say more. In addition to reducing future payments that insurers are required to pay you, insurers can include offset language that requires you to repay them for third-party payments that you have already received.
The following example of an offset clause contains repayment language:
If the amount of any indemnifiable Losses, at any time following the payment of an indemnification obligation, is offset or reduced by the payment of any insurance proceeds, the amount of such insurance proceeds, less any costs, expenses, premiums actually paid or taxes incurred in connection therewith shall be promptly repaid to the Indemnifying Party.
*Source of example offset clauses:
What Is The Disability Standard For Disability Insurance And Supplemental Security
Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security are reserved for workers with the most severe disabilities and conditions, and both use the same strict disability standard: inability to engage in substantial gainful activitydefined as being able to earn $1,040 a month in 2013due to one or more severe physical or mental impairments that are expected to last at least a year or could result in death. A workers impairment or combination of impairments must be so severe that the applicant is not only unable to do his or her previous work but also unableconsidering his or her age, education, and work experienceto engage in any other kind of substantial gainful work that exists in significant numbers in the national economy.
Medical evidence is the cornerstone for the determination of disability in both programs. To qualify, there must be medical evidence from a doctor, specialist, or certain other licensed or certified medical sources that documents a severe impairment. Evidence from other health care providerssuch as nurse practitioners or clinical social workersis not sufficient to document a severe medical impairment. And statements from the applicants themselves, their families, co-workers, friends, or neighbors are not treated as medical evidence.
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The Difference Between Ssi And Social Security Disability
Many people use the terms SSI and Disability interchangeably when referring to payments made by the Social Security Administration to disabled workers. However, there are some major differences that people should understand when it comes to the two different programs. If you are disabled and applying for benefits there is a wealth of information available on the Social Security Administration website, www.ssa.gov, but this article will show some of the most fundamental differences about the programs.
What is Social Security Disability ?
What is SSI?
The process of determining what a person is or is not eligible for is complicated and can change from month to month based on household factors. It is important to be upfront with SSA when applying for disability benefits of either type about your situation. Keep in mind that things like marriage, divorce, a child turning 18 and the birth of a child can all affect eligibility criteria. The basic thing to remember about Social Security benefits are that if a millionaire wanted to sign up for SSD he could, but only people of limited means can qualify for SSI. There are eligibility and income worksheets available on the SSA website and for specific questions you can always call your local Social Security office.
Report The Death Of A Social Security Or Medicare Beneficiary
You must report the death of a family member receiving Social Security or Medicare benefits. The Social Security Administration processes death reports for both. Find out how you can report a death and how to cancel benefit payments. In addition to canceling SSA and Medicare benefits, find out what other benefits and accounts you should cancel.;
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Applying For Social Security Disability Benefits Can Be A Confusing And Frustrating Process
Obtaining the advice and assistance of a qualified disability attorney can help you avoid unnecessary mistakes and delays and improve your chances for success.
Disability benefits are an important source of income for those who are unable to work. If you are not able to work due to accident or illness, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability or Long Term Disability benefits. If you have applied for benefits and been denied, contact the attorneys at Bemis, Roach and Reed for a free consultation. Call 512-454-4000 and get help NOW.
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Approval For Disability Benefits
After you are approved for disability benefits, you won’t receive SSDI benefits until you have been disabled for five complete months, because SSDi has a five-month waiting period. If you are approved right away , you would still have to wait five months for your checks to start.
However, it’s more likely you wouldn’t be approved for about six months to a year . In that case, when you finally get approved, you would be paid disability backpay starting with the sixth month after your disability began .
After you are paid any backpay owing, you would get a disability benefit check each month. If your household income is over a certain amount, you will have to pay taxes on your disability benefits.
Your family members may also be eligible for a partial monthly benefit. For more information, see How to Get Disability Benefits for Your Dependents.
You can keep receiving SSDI as long as your medical condition prevents you from working. The SSA will perform a continuing disability review on your file every one to three years to determine if your condition has improved.
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Can I Receive Ssdi And Disability Benefits From A Private Insurance Company
If you watch television, you have probably seen the advertisements involving the duck that quacks for an insurance company that provides disability insurance. That has been a very effective advertising campaign as many people and companies have signed up for the insurance. Sometimes, we here at Ascend Disability Lawyers, LLC receive questions regarding whether a disabled person can receive disability benefits from both the Social Security Disability Insurance program and from a private disability insurer. The quick answer is yes, but there will be a set-off. Here is a primer on some legal issues with respect to private disability insurance and SSDI.
Social Security Disability Insurance Benefit Amounts
Social Security disability insurance benefits are usually considerably lower than private disability insurance benefits. The average amount of SSDI benefits as of February 2018 is $1,197 per month, which, for most people, can hardly replace the salary they earned before becoming disabled.
Coupled with the low threshold of income you can earn while disabled and still keep your SSDI benefits, and the possibility that your SSDI benefits will be taxable, you may find that private disability insurance benefits are better suited for your coverage needs. Long-term disability insurance is meant to replace the income you earned before becoming disabled â all of it. Benefits come in at around 60% of your previous income, but because theyâre not taxed, the amount almost entirely replaces your take-home pay.
However, SSDI doesnât cost you anything, whereas long-term disability insurance premiums can cost as much as 1%-3% of your salary. So you have to decide whether the paltry benefits of SSDI are worth the âprice.â You get what you pay for.
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Pros And Cons Of Social Security Disability Insurance
- Almost anyone can apply. Basic eligibility is open to anyone over 18 years old, and mostly based on the severity of your disability.
- Medicare access. If youre on SSDI, then youll be eligible for Medicare for 24 months following the date of your disability.
- Can be used with other disability insurance. Being on SSDI doesnt mean you have to forfeit other disability insurance payments you receive. If you qualify for SSDI and still have another policy, you can collect from both.
- Long-term disability only. SSDI is not a short-term disability plan. Youll have to prove that you cant work for at least 12 months in order to be eligible.
- Long waiting period. From the day that you apply for SSDI, it could be months until you receive benefits if youre approved. You can file an appeal if youre denied, but prepare for a lengthy period of having no SSDI income.
- Strict policy on working. If you collect SSDI, you wont be able to look for employment, even part-time. Once youre able to work at any capacity, youll lose your SSDI benefits.