You have probably heard about the Social Security disability program. You may even know someone who is drawing these benefits. But how do you know if you should apply for the program? Did you know you could receive survivor benefits? Or that you could use the work history of your deceased spouse? We’ve put together a list of the top 5 instances you should always apply for Social Security Disability.
1) YOUR DOCTOR TOLD YOU TO APPLY FOR THE PROGRAM
If your doctor feels you are unable to perform the activities required for employment you should certainly consider applying for the disability program. Of course, there are more factors to qualifying for disability than just your doctor’s opinion. In my experience, if your doctor thinks your conditions prevent you from working then usually you will be found disabled. as long as you meet the technical requirements of the program and your conditions are well documented through medical records. It is not simply enough for a doctor to opine you are disabled, but it is certainly a good indication that you may be eligible.
2) YOU ARE EXPECTED TO BE OUT OF WORK FOR AT LEAST 12 MONTHS DO TO A SEVERE PHYSICAL OR PSYCHOLOGICAL CONDITION
Social Security defines disability as an individual suffering from a severe mental or psychological condition that prevents them from working for a 12-month time frame, or is expected to prevent them from working for 12 months, or is expected to result in death. If you suffer from a condition or combination of conditions that will inevitably prevent you from working for 12 months you should consider applying for the disability program. To prove you are unable to work for the requisite time frame you will need medical evidence to document your limitations. Your limitations must prevent you from not only performing the work you have performed in the past 15 years but must also prevent you from doing any other job in the national economy. As with everything, there are always exceptions. There are several factors to be considered when determining disability. Because this program can be quite complicated I 100% recommend you seek the advice of an experienced Social Security disability attorney when applying for the program.
3) YOUR DISABLED SPOUSE HAS PASSED AWAY
These types of benefits may be available to a surviving spouse or a dependent child. Generally, when a disabled individual who was receiving SSDI benefits passes away, the money they were receiving can go to the surviving spouse or dependent children. These benefits are known as survivor’s benefits. To be eligible as a surviving spouse you must care for a child under the age of 16, you are at least 50 years old and disabled yourself, or you are at least 60 years old but not yet full retirement age. If you are a child, with a deceased parent who was receiving SSDI, you may be eligible to receive survivor benefits as long as you are younger than age 18 and unmarried.
4) YOU ARE A DISABLED ADULT CHILD
When applying for disability benefits, children generally do not have the work history to qualify for the SSDI program. If you do not have a work history (meaning you haven’t worked long enough to have paid Social Security taxes) you would not be eligible for the disability insurance program, even if you are disabled. The only program you would be eligible for would be SSI (supplemental security income). This program is a financial needs-based program and limited to $733 per month. However, it is possible to use the work history of your parents so as to be eligible for the SSDI program. It can be quite tricky to qualify for this program. You would need to be classified as a disabled adult child. To qualify as a disabled adult child (DAC) you must be found to have been disabled between the ages of 18 and 22. Also, one of your parents must be either disabled or retired. If you qualify as a DAC you will receive 75% of your parent’s SSDI benefit.
5) YOU ARE A DISABLED WIDOWER
You may be eligible to receive your spouse’s SSDI benefits, even if you don’t have a work history yourself. These types of situations usually arise if one parent decides to be a stay-at-home parent. The way you would qualify for disability benefits is if your spouse has passed away within seven years of your disability, and you are at least 50 years of age. Unfortunately, if you are younger than 50, you will not be eligible to use your deceased spouse’s work history.
You should NOT apply for disability benefits simply because you lost your job. The Social Security Disability program is not meant to supplement unemployment benefits. The purpose of this program is to provide a safety net for individuals who are precluded from working because of a physical or psychological condition…not because the economy is struggling.
Applying for Social Security Disability benefits is not a quick and easy task. It usually takes several denials, appeals, and a hearing before a final decision can be made. Much of the frustration involved in applying for Social Security disability benefits can be avoided by seeking a disability attorney to look over your case and provide knowledgeable legal advice. The best thing you can do when filing for Social Security disability benefits is to consult an experienced Social Security attorney. At the LaBovick Law Group, we provide a free initial consultation. If you are thinking about applying for disability benefits please call me at (561) 623-3681 and we can discuss whether you fall into one of the categories mentioned above.
Social Security Disability is a mandatory insurance program run by the federal government to help individuals who are unable to work due to physical and/or psychological conditions. There are two types of Social Security Disability programs. One is based on your work history (social security disability insurance known as SSDI) and the other is based on your current financial resources (supplemental security income known as SSI). Both programs share the same medical requirements but differ in terms of their technical qualifications.