4 Things You Need to Know About Social Security Disability

If you become disabled and you’re unable to do the type of work you have been doing in your career, you may be able to qualify for Social Security disability benefits. However, the complexities involved in qualifying for benefits can seem overwhelming. This guide will help you understand how benefits are determined so you’ll be better prepared for the application process.

Are You Eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits?

In order to be considered eligible for disability benefits, you’ll have to be able to show you’re disabled in a legal sense. This consists of answering a series of questions regarding your ability to work in your chosen career and latest position. Essentially, you’ll have to show that, if you’re working, your income comes to less than $1,310 per month and that your condition inhibits your ability to perform the tasks you’re routinely required to complete.

Your condition must also be listed on the Social Security Administration’s list of approved disabilities. The Social Security Administration will also try to determine if there are other types of work you’re capable and qualified to perform. If they find that you can’t readily adapt to a new line of work, they will approve your request for benefits.

How Much Can You Get on Disability?

This is a common question, although it’s difficult to answer. In your specific situation, the amount you’ll receive will be based on the income you earned before you were disabled. In general, you should expect to earn less than you would receive from Social Security if you had worked until retirement age.

Retirees receive Social Security benefits at an average of $1,407.96 per month. Individuals claiming disability benefits prior to retirement age earn a little less, with benefits averaging $1,197.14 a month.

What Documentation Do You Need to Apply?

Whether you apply online or in person at your local Social Security Administration office, you’ll need the same types of documentation. This list will help you prepare for the application process:

  • Social Security card
  • Birth certificate
  • Medical records related to your disability, including prescriptions and lab test results
  • Detailed work history
  • Tax returns or W-2 forms for the most recent year

You May Also Qualify for Medicare

If you qualify for disability benefits, you may also be able to obtain Medicare coverage. Even though you may not have turned 65 yet, you will automatically receive Medicare after you have received two years of disability benefits. If you have been diagnosed with certain illnesses, such as kidney disease, you may not have to wait the initial two years to begin receiving Medicare coverage.

You’ll Still Need Supplemental Disability Coverage

If you had worked until your 65th birthday and retired with full benefits, your Social Security payments would still only be enough to equal 40% of your working income. On disability, you can expect to earn even less. For that reason, it’s advisable to obtain supplemental disability insurance that will cover the remaining 60% of your income needs. This will ensure you can meet all of your financial obligations and needs with a disability.

Applying for disability benefits involves a tedious process, but hiring a disability lawyer can benefit you in the long run. They can help ensure you’ll have a better chance of getting approved by going over the application and eligibility requirements with you.

If your initial application is denied, the attorney may also be able to help you appeal that decision. While the attorney’s fee is a small added expense, it may be worthwhile to help you ensure your application has the best chance for approval.



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