The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers a variety of programs to protect and compensate America’s workers. One of these is a program to temporarily or permanently subsidize disabled workers through the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD) Program. This plan is also referred to as Disability Insurance or Title II benefits, both of which refer to the chapter title and name of their section within the overall Social Security Act, which became law in 1935.
SSD benefits are funded by the Social Security taxes which are deducted from paychecks, and they are available to workers who have been disabled for at least five full months. They also must have been working and paying Social Security taxes for five of the ten years before their injury. Payments usually begin upon the sixth month of disability. SSD benefits can be awarded permanently or temporarily, either paralleling the amount of time you are unable to work or as your ability to physically work full-time gradually returns.
To qualify for SSD benefits, you must meet a strict set of requirements concerning your work history, income, age, medical condition(s), marital status, and more. Unfortunately, it can take the SSA months to process a claim for benefits, and more than half of initial applications are denied. These denials are often based on an initial ruling by the SSA that you can perform your former job or some other type of work, and that you will not be disabled for a minimum of 12 months, though there are several other possible reasons for denial.
The Benefits You Can Receive
That amount obviously depends on how much money you made when you worked. Benefits can range from $300 a month to a little over $2,000. They are calculated by the Social Security Administration and based on your income and contributions to Social Security. They may also be affected if you are receiving workers’ compensation.
Working and Receiving SSD Benefits
Though the purpose of SSD benefits is to help those who are so disabled that they cannot return to their old job, you can still take advantage of several “transitional” benefits of the department as you fully recover and CAN resume your old duties. The SSA’s Ticket to Work program makes it possible for you to receive SSD benefits if you choose to return to work, and offers a number of free benefits to SSD recipients, such as:
- Job referrals
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Other employment support services.
The SSA allows you to test your ability to work with full benefits during a 60-week trial period. After this period, you may still receive SSD benefits for 36 months if your earnings fall below what the SSA considers “substantial.”
What if you are denied your benefits?
We are here to answer your questions about SSD benefits. Often when filing for SSD, the Agency promises a ruling by a specific date, yet they don’t make the deadline – which is one reason for claim denial; the SSA just ran out of time and automatically denies it.
The Agency is obliged to make the application process responsive and as timely as possible, especially since people with serious medical conditions are waiting on money they need and to which they are rightfully entitled. Sometimes a case worker ignores the fact that an applicant’s disability is on the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances List (CAL) of diseases and conditions that clearly meet disability requirements. And though CAL list-based benefits should be uniformly awarded – or awarded more quickly – the huge governmental bureaucracy at the SSA doesn’t always respond as it legally should.
Do I need an attorney to apply for SSD benefits?
You can file a claim on your own, but an experienced social security benefits attorney understands the administrative “tricks” that can increase your chances of success with fewest problems. But saying the wrong thing on your application (or the right thing but not in the right way) could seriously impact SSA’s ruling on whether or not you receive benefits – and how much. Most certainly if you have already filed an application and your claim was denied, a knowledgeable SSD lawyer can still help you work through things and obtain benefits through the appeals process.
We Want to Help
Call the accident and injury law office of Terry Bryant today at 1 (800) 444-5000 or fill out a FREE initial consultation form. It takes just a few moments to complete, and we’ll get back to you quickly. We will always do our best to help you, or point you in the right direction.