The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently released a new fact sheet offering valuable information to individuals seeking Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, as well as their families, friends and interested members of the public.
Since many people don’t have an opportunity to learn about the SSD benefits process until they need to go through it, knowing even the basic facts can help you pursue a claim for yourself or a family member more effectively. Here are five important things to know about SSD benefits:
Social Security disability benefits are earned.
Social Security Disability benefits are part of an insurance program. This means that workers earn their benefits over the course of a lifetime for themselves and, in some cases, for their spouse, minor children or adult children. Disability benefits are earned when workers pay Social Security taxes on the money they earn.
The Social Security Disability benefits program uses a very specific definition of “disability.”
Different laws define “disability” differently, and some rules are stricter than others. A disability that qualifies a person for SSD benefits is one that renders the person unable to work, due to a severe medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or to result in the person’s death. The disability must both prevent the person from doing work he or she did in the past, and it must prevent the person from adjusting to other work.
Disabilities can happen to anyone, at any age.
You’re never too young for a disability. Currently, about 20 percent of Americans live with a disability. About 25 percent of working 20-year-olds, or 1 in 4, will need disability benefits before they reach retirement age. Since severe illness, accident, injury and other conditions can cause disability at any time, access to the SSD program is a crucial source of support for millions of Americans at all stages of life.
About 9 million people receive Social Security Disability benefits, and the number is expected to grow.
The number of people who qualify for Social Security disability benefits has increased in recent years, particularly as members of the Baby Boomer generation have applied in greater numbers and as women who have worked enough years to qualify for benefits have also applied based on their own work records, rather than on a spouse’s work record. Despite the increase in people relying on these benefits they’ve worked to earn, however, only about 9 million disabled Americans currently receive SSD benefits.
The rigorous application process is part of Social Security’s attempt to prevent fraud.
Applicants living with disabilities know how hard it is to wait for the SSA to review their claim, make a decision, and – if the initial application is denied – to schedule review hearings and appeals. The purpose of this process is not to punish applicants, however, but to control fraud, ensuring that benefits will be available for those who genuinely meet SSD’s requirements. Your attorney can help you demonstrate that you qualify for benefits more effectively, helping to reduce the time between your initial application and your approval.
At Marasco & Nesselbush, our disability benefits attorneys are dedicated to helping each of our clients receive the maximum benefits they are entitled to, so that they can focus on their lives. If you have questions about your claim, don’t hesitate to contact a Rhode Island SSD attorney at Marasco & Nesselbush.
Contact us now for a free consultation. Call us at 401-443-2999 or fill out a contact form to set up a free legal consultation. We have four offices in Providence, Wakefield, Warwick and Woonsocket to easily serve you.