Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on What to Expect When Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits
You probably have a lot of questions regarding the disability process from start to finish. Below are some of our most frequently asked questions and links to obtain more information about your particular question!
When Will My Disability Benefits Start?
If your application is approved, your first monthly Social Security payment will be made 5 months after the date your disability began. Social Security rules state a person must be disabled for 5 consecutive months before disability benefits are paid. For example, if you are awarded benefits starting January 1, 2018, your first monthly payment would begin around June 1, 2018. Other factors, such as any retroactive benefits will be paid under separate cover and calculated based on your date of disability.
How Much Will I Get from Social Security?
The amount of your monthly disability benefit is based on your lifetime average earnings covered by Social Security. If you would like an estimate of your disability benefit, you can request a Social Security Statement that displays your earnings record and provides an estimate of your disability benefit. It will also include estimates of retirement and survivors benefits which you and your family may be eligible to receive now and in the future. The request form is available by calling or visiting Social Security. You can also type www.ssa.gov to get the form from the Social Security Internet website.
How Do Other Payments Affect My Benefits?
The amount of your monthly Social Security disability benefit is based on your last 10 to 15 years of your earnings covered by Social Security. If you would like an estimate of your disability benefit, you can request a Social Security statement from your local office or www.ssa.gov. Your earnings record provides an estimate of your social security disability benefit based on your average yearly earnings and accumulated work history credits. It will also include estimates of your regular retirement; early retirement and any survivors benefits which you and your family may be eligible to receive.
Can I Work and Receive Social Security Disability benefits at the Same Time?
Yes, you can. Social Security will allow you to go through the disability process, as long as you earn under their requirement for Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA).
What is SGA? Substantial Gainful Activity is income or wages you would earn working at a job. Unemployment is not counted as SGA income. Worker’s Compensation is not counted as SGA income. Only wages that are reported to Social Security from an employer (or self-employment) are considered when determining a claimant’s SGA. Social Security will usually allow a claimant applying for Social Security disability benefits or a claimant already receiving Social Security disability benefits to earn a certain amount each month and continue with the disability process or continue to receive disability benefits, which varies from year to year. Want more information to see if you qualify to apply if you are still working? Go to https://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/sga.html.
How Do Other Payments Affect My Benefits?
If you receive any other type of disability benefits from any other entity (such as, short-term disability or long-term disability benefits, sick pay, vacation pay, retirement disability benefits) your Social Security benefits could be off-set. You will need to contact your benefits coordinator or disability specialist to see if your Social Security disability benefits can be off-set. If you received disability benefits from another government agency, such as VA benefits, there are some factors that would result in an off-set of benefits, but most VA disability benefits are not off-set, nor do they result in an overpayment. Want more information? Go to https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/veterans.html.
In addition, if you are or were receiving Worker’s Compensation (WC) benefits at anytime during your Social Security disability award dates, Worker’s Compensation can assert a lien for reimbursement. For example, if you received WC from January 1, 2018 to July 1, 2018, and Social Security disability awarded you benefits during that time frame, WC can assert a lien for reimbursement of benefits during that time frame only. Social Security uses a special formula to calculate a WC off-set after you are approved.
If you owe back child support or owe taxes to the IRS, these entities can garnish your Social Security disability benefits and any possible back pay benefits. If you have additional questions, contact your local Social Security office, or go to www.ssa.gov to find out more information about child support and IRS tax liens.
Are Benefits Taxed?
You can choose to have federal taxes withheld from your benefits. Most Social Security disability benefits are not taxed. There are, however, some exclusions to this rule. Go to https://www.ssa.gov/planners/taxwithold.html and check out their benefits planner to see if this is something that will affect your disability benefits!
Can I Get Medicare If I’m Disabled?
Social Security will automatically enroll you in Medicare after you are approved for Social Security disability benefits two years after your date of disability. For example, if your date of disability began on January 1, 2017, your Medicare will begin coverage two years from the date of disability, January 1, 2019.
Medicare has several different options for medical coverage for being hospitalized and for standard visits to your primary care physician. Most people elect to receive Medicare Parts A & B. For more information on Medicare and what you may be eligible for, go to: https://www.medicare.gov/index.
Can I Still Received Disability Benefits, If I Have Not Worked In The Last 10 Years?
Possibly. You may be eligible for Supplement Security Income (SSI) benefits. Not only do you have to be found disabled under Social Security’s rules, but you must also meet the “non-medical” requirements. The “non-medical” requirements are based the total household income (spouse’s wages or benefits) and assets (cars, property, lift insurance policies, etc.). For more information go to https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/text-eligibility-ussi.htm.
Can I Appeal a Denial If It Has Been Over 60 Days?
When Social Security denies a claimant disability benefits, the claimant has 60 days to request an appeal. It doesn’t matter if it is a denial from the initial application level or a denial at the reconsideration appeal level. If you did not appeal within the 60-day time frame (usually it is 60 days from date on the denial letter), there are some circumstances where an appeal can be filed. Those circumstances vary and usually can be determined by speaking with one of qualified disability representatives.
What Can Cause Benefits To Stop?
There are several factors that can cause your Social Security disability benefits to stop or be terminated. Two of the main factors are: 1. Your benefits will stop if you are working and earning more than the current SGA level permits; 2. Your disability benefits will stop if Social Security decides that your medical condition has improved to the point that you are no longer disabled. Reporting income (earnings from a job) and any medical improvement are required and explained in the packet you receive once you are approved for disability benefits.
Is My Medical Condition Acceptable for Applying for Disability Benefits?
Social Security awards benefits for hundreds of medical conditions. Check our Blog posts to see if your medical condition has been a factor for benefits to be awarded!
Need help? Contact a qualified Social Security Disability Representative today. Call 855-GO DISABILITY (855-463-4722).
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