Social Security Disability Benefits

If you have a disability and are unable to work because of it, you may qualify to receive benefits from Social Security.

However, in order to be eligible, you must qualify under one of the stipulations established by the Social Security Administration (SSA). For example, your disability must be expected to last one year, or be terminal, for you to be qualified to receive benefits.

How to Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits

If you meet any of the requirements to receive Social Security disability benefits, you have high chances for approval and can begin the process of filling out and submitting your application. Moreover, if you have dependents under your care, you may also be able to receive benefits for them under your earnings record.

In addition to the Social Security disability insurance benefits you can receive, you may be eligible for the supplemental security income (SSI) government program as well. The SSI program provides benefits for adults with disabilities who are limited in their ability to earn an income or access to necessary resources. Children with disabilities may also qualify for this program. Read the following sections to explore the benefits you may be eligible for while having a disability.

Social Security disability benefits are great health care resources for workers who have paid SS taxes but now find themselves unable to work to their full potential. However, you will need to meet the qualifications mandated by the Social Security Administration (SSA) before you can apply for Social Security disability benefits. The primary qualification you must meet is to have worked in one job or various jobs covered by Social Security. This means that, if you worked in a position where you did not pay Social Security taxes from each paycheck, you will not be deemed eligible to receive SS disability benefits.

In addition, in order to qualify, you must meet the definition of disability established by the Social Security Administration. The SSA’s definition of disability determines that your health condition must significantly reduce your ability to complete basic work tasks required of you in the workplace. These tasks include:

  • Walking
  • Standing
  • Lifting
  • Sitting
  • Remembering/memory

If your disability limits your ability to complete these basic tasks over a period of 12 months or longer, you may qualify to receive Social Security disability benefits. Moreover, the medical condition causing your disability must be included on a list provided by the Social Security Administration in order to be deemed eligible for benefits. If your condition does not appear on this list but does limit your ability to maintain employment, you must contact the Social Security Administration directly to determine if you can still qualify for benefits.

What do I need to apply for Social Security disability benefits?

Once you have determined your eligibility, you can begin the process of applying for Social Security disability benefits. To complete this process, you will need to provide the necessary information and fill out the appropriate paperwork required by the Social Security Administration. Additionally, if you are seeking coverage for dependents and family members through your Social Security benefits, you will need to provide the necessary information for these dependents as well as for yourself. The information needed to apply for SS disability benefits include:

  • Social Security Number (SSN)
  • Date of birth, proof of age
  • Proof of marriage, if you are applying for benefits for a spouse
  • Name, address and phone number of your primary care physician
  • Hospitals and clinics that provided you with care
  • Name and dosage amount for existing medications
  • Medical records, including laboratory and test results
  • Your most recent W-2 form and work history

For the documents that you submit on your application to be credible, they must be submitted as an original copy or a certified copy. After gathering the correct information and documents for your application, you can choose to mail in the application form or submit it in person in one of the Social Security Administration offices. If you do not have access to one of the documents required by the SSA, you may be able to work with the agency directly to obtain these documents ahead of filing your application.

Who can receive coverage under your Social Security disability benefits?

Social Security disability benefits are used by eligible applicants to cover their medical care expenses, including treatment and medication costs. Moreover, applicants may be able to receive coverage for their family members as well, because dependents may qualify to receive benefits under an applicant’s earnings record. To apply for SS disability benefits for your dependents, you must include the necessary documents for your family members when submitting your initial application. Individuals who can receive coverage under your Social Security benefits include:

  • A current or former spouse
  • Children
  • Children with disabilities
  • Adult children with disabilities who were disabled while younger than 22 years of age

As a general rule, your children must be younger than 18 years of age in order to receive disability benefits through your Social Security application. If you have a child who is 18 years of age or older but is enrolled as a full-time student, he or she may be eligible to receive SS benefits until he or she completes the degree program.

On the other hand, the Social Security disability benefits you can receive for your family members cannot exceed the maximum threshold allotted for this coverage. If your family members meet the eligibility requirements, they can obtain a monthly benefit for up to 50 percent of the overall disability amount awarded to you by the Social Security Administration. Furthermore, the total you are eligible to receive will be calculated based on the benefit amount you are provided and the number of family members who have met qualifications for coverage. Typically, the total amount awarded by the SSA varies from 150 to 180 percent of your overall disability benefit.

However, there are additional factors that can influence the level of coverage you are able to receive for your family members under your Social Security disability benefits. For example, if you have gained benefits for a divorced spouse, it will not directly affect the amount you receive or the amount your family members receive upon approval. However, if the total sum of the payable benefits on your disability account is higher than the family limit for benefits, the amount your family members receive will become reduced significantly. If this happens, the total of your benefits will not change, only the benefits for your family members will be affected.

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