Types of SSD Benefits
If you have suffered a physical, cognitive, or mental disability that has left you unable to work, you may be eligible for federal disability benefits. These benefits come in one of two types: Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income. Each program has different eligibility requirements. An experienced Social Security Disability benefits (SSD) attorney can help you understand your right to benefits and how to avoid mistakes in the application process.
At the Disability Law Firm, we provide knowledgeable, compassionate legal assistance to disabled people throughout Pasco County and across Florida. Attorney Robert C. Alston has more than 20 years of experience successfully handling disability claims. He and his team have a proven process for filing claims, tracking progress, and resolving challenges.
Whether you are filing your initial application for benefits or want to appeal a denied claim, our firm can take the pressure off you. Contact us today for a free initial consultation with a knowledgeable Dade City SSD lawyer to learn more about your rights and options for seeking disability benefits.
Social Security Disability Insurance
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides financial payments to people who cannot work due to a disabling medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or result in death. The medical condition must render the person unable to do substantial gainful work. SSDI benefits are only granted to those individuals who meet past work requirements and therefore have paid into the Social Security system.
First, an applicant for SSDI must have a sufficient recent work history. The amount of recent work history required depends on the applicant’s age. Applicants under the age of 24 usually only need one and a half years of work during the prior three years before the onset of their disability. Applicants 24 and older but younger than 31 must have worked at least half of the time since turning 21. Generally, applicants 31 and older must have worked at least five of the past 10 years prior to the onset of disability.
The number of total years that an applicant must have worked to become eligible for SSDI benefits also varies with the applicant’s age. This could range from as little as 1.5 years of work for applicants under the age of 28, rising to as much as 9.5 years of work for applicants who have turned 60.
The amount you receive under SSDI will be calculated based upon your average monthly earnings before you suffered your disability. Only those earnings for which you paid into the Social Security system will be counted. If you receive other public disability benefits or workers’ compensation, those financial payments might reduce the amount of your SSDI benefits.
Although an individual receiving SSDI is deemed disabled from work, the program allows you to try returning to work without jeopardizing your benefits. However, if you do return to work or become self-employed, you must report your income to the Social Security Administration as it may reduce or eliminate your SSDI benefits.
Supplemental Security Income
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) refers to the program that provides monthly payments to blind or disabled individuals or people 65 and older who have little income or financial resources. Unlike the SSDI program, eligibility for SSI does not require having a work history. Instead, SSI benefits are based on an applicant’s financial need.
A person must have monthly income that falls below the federal benefit rate, a figure that is regularly updated by the government. However, certain amounts and types of income are excluded from the calculation of an applicant’s income, particularly for blind and disabled applicants. If an applicant is married or under the age of 18, his or her spouse’s or parents’ income may be counted in the calculation.
In addition to the income limit, an applicant may not have more than $2,000 in financial resources, such as real estate, bank accounts, cash, or stocks. However, certain assets are not counted, including your primary residence, your primary vehicle (in most cases), or certain life insurance policies.
SSI is only granted to U.S. citizens and nationals living in the U.S., although non-citizens may qualify for benefits under certain circumstances.
Most states, including Florida, also offer a supplemental payment on top of the SSI benefits received from the federal government.
Certain family members of an individual receiving SSDI benefits may also qualify for benefits, including:
- Spouses age 62 or older and spouses caring for a child who is under 16 years old or disabled
- Unmarried children under 18 years old (or 19 if still in high school)
- Unmarried adult children who suffer from a total disability that began before age 22
In addition, an individual may meet the work history qualifications for SSDI benefits based on their spouse’s work history.
Medicare and SSD Benefits
Everyone who receives SSDI benefits will become eligible for Medicare after observing a 24-month waiting period. After 24 months, an SSDI recipient will automatically receive Medicare Part A and Part B benefits.
How a Dade City SSD Lawyer Can Help
Unfortunately, many people who pursue the SSD application process on their own have their applications denied. A Dade City SSD lawyer can help you avoid mistakes and pursue the full disability benefits you deserve by:
- Reviewing your situation for free and preparing you for the application and appeals process
- Collecting your medical records to establish how you are totally disabled from working
- Gathering your financial records to establish your qualifications for SSI if you apply for those benefits
- Putting together and filing your SSDI or SSI application, including all necessary supporting documentation
- Appealing an adverse decision on your application, including advocating on your behalf during an appeal hearing
- Ensuring you understand your rights and obligations under the SSDI or SSI program, including your ability to work or to receive additional benefits, such as state supplemental payments, SNAP, or Medicare/Medicaid
If you are disabled and cannot work, you need a skilled Dade City SSD lawyer to advocate for the full benefits you need. Contact the Disability Law Firm today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation to learn more about your options.