Social Security Disability (SSD) is a federal insurance program of the United States government that provides monthly benefits to individuals with physical or mental disabilities. Workers earn coverage for this program when they pay Social Security taxes.
While this program may sound straightforward enough, many people find the eligibility and application process stressful and confusing. Others have tried to file a claim for SSD only to have their claim and coverage denied.
Understanding the ins and outs of this government insurance program can help you determine your eligibility and take the necessary steps to receive your benefits.
Read on to learn the answers to the five most frequently asked questions about SSD. Then contact our Personal Injury and Social Security Disability Attorney at DiBiaggio Law in West Palm Beach, Florida to learn how we can help you increase your chances of qualifying for these benefits.
1. Who Can Apply for SSD?
Your eligibility for SSD is dependent upon your previous work experience. To apply for this coverage, you must have previously worked in a job covered by Social Security. You also must have worked in the career for a specific time or made a minimum amount of income.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) requires individuals to have a certain number of “work credits” to qualify for SSD benefits. As of 2021, you earn one work credit for every $1,470 you make through your job.
The number of credits you need in order to be eligible for SSD depends on the age at which you become disabled. However, most applicants need 40 credits, and they must have earned at least 20 of those credits in the 10 years before they became disabled.
To be eligible for benefits, you must also meet the disability requirements from the SSA. SSD is a total disability program. If your disability is partial or temporary, you will not qualify for these benefits.
The SSA defines “total disability” as encompassing all of the following:
- Your disability prevents you from doing the work you did before you became disabled;
- Your disability prevents you from adjusting to other work; and
- Your disability will last at least one year or result in death.
2. What Is Involved in the SSD Application Process?
You can apply for SSD by phone, online, or in person at your local Social Security office. Before you apply, you should first gather all the documents and information detailed in the SSA’s Adult Disability Checklist. Finding all of this information in advance will streamline your application process.
Next, you will need to complete and submit the application. The SSA will review your application and ensure that you meet all of the minimum requirements, including the number of years you have worked. The SSA will also evaluate any current work that you are engaged in.
Finally, the SSA will forward your application to your state’s Disability Determination Services office. This state office will review your application and determine your eligibility and benefits through SSD.
3. When Can I Apply for SSD?
The SSA recommends that you apply for SSD benefits as soon as you become disabled.
Once the SSA processes your application, you will need to wait another five months before you can begin using your insurance benefits. As a result, you will not start receiving benefits until at least six full months after becoming disabled. However, this waiting period does not apply to individuals who become disabled due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis if you were approved for benefits on or after July 23, 2020.
Applying as soon as you become disabled can allow you to file your first SSD claim in just over six months following your disability. If you are unsure where to start or how to streamline your application process, we recommend talking to an experienced SSD lawyer.
4. How Long Will My Benefits Last?
SSD benefits do not have a specific expiration date. Most people can continue receiving benefits as long as they remain disabled. Additionally, the SSA rarely terminates benefits due to medical improvement.
However, if you begin earning too much income or acquire too many assets, you may lose some or all of your SSD benefits. Additionally, the SSA can end your disability benefits under certain circumstances. An SSD attorney can help you understand how long you can expect to receive these benefits.
5. What Is the Difference Between SSD and Social Security Income?
SSD and Social Security Income (SSI) both provide benefits to individuals through the SSA. However, SSD determines eligibility based on disability and work history, while SSI considers age, disability, and income.
If you have recently become disabled, we recommend applying for SSD benefits as soon as possible to jumpstart your coverage.
DiBiaggio Law Can Help with Your SSD Claim
At DiBiaggio Law, we know the SSD eligibility requirements and application process like the back of our hands. We can walk you through every step of qualifying for this federal insurance program so that you can receive benefits as long as you need them.
Contact us at DiBiaggio Law today at (561) 473-9800 to schedule a free consultation with a West Palm Beach, Florida, SSD attorney. We serve clients in Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe Counties.
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