When your career is cut short due to an injury and you suddenly find your working days behind you, Social Security Disability benefits can mean the difference between financial ruin and financial security.
Navigating the rules about qualifying conditions, filling out endless paperwork, understanding waiting periods, and determining benefits can be overwhelming, to say the least. Without an attorney, you could easily find yourself trapped in the maze that is SSDI.
Rather than risk your financial future, contact the attorneys at Nuñez & Associates. We’ll walk you through every step of the process, ensuring that your claim is handled appropriately and your benefits awarded fairly.
Social Security Disability is a federal program administered by the Social Security Disability Administration that is designed to offer monthly compensation to insured workers who have been disabled from working before they have reached the age of retirement.
Navigating SSI can be difficult without the advice of a trained attorney. Contact our office today so we may help you claim your maximum amount available under these regulations.
To qualify for SSDI, you must meet or consider the following conditions:
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Contrary to what many believe, age 65 is not necessarily the age of full retirement. This age only applies to workers born on or before 1937. For most people, or at least those born in 1960 or later, the full retirement age is 67.
A key condition for receiving disability benefits is having worked for a sufficient time or earned enough money. Workers earn quarters of coverage, or QC, for a particular amount of work they do each calendar year, or up to four per year. The minimum number of QCs is six, and the maximum is 40. QCs are also referred to as credits. The minimum earning amount to qualify is relatively low and easily attainable for the majority of workers.
The amount of work that qualifies as a credit or QC varies. For 2016, for example, you merely have to earn $1,260 to earn a QC. When you reach $5,040, you have reached your four credits for the year.
To be fully insured for disability, you must have earned at least one QC for each year after you turned 21 and the earliest of:
For disability insured status, the following must apply:
For workers who become disabled at a young age, they may qualify with fewer QCs.
A disability, according to the Social Security Disability Administration, is the inability of someone to perform their former work or to substantially perform any other work because of a physical or mental impairment that is considered severe. A physician must have diagnosed a particular disabling condition and documented it. The condition must either have lasted at least 12 months or be expected to last that long.
To qualify, there are certain criteria to meet:
Should you be unable to perform your old job, you must be evaluated to see if you can substantially perform any other work based on your skills, age, education, and work experience.
Once you are determined to qualify, there is a five-month waiting period before payments commence or before back payments can be calculated. The wait begins on the date the Social Security Administration determines you became disabled.
If you are an SSI claimant, there is no waiting period. This is Supplemental Security Insurance for those with a low income aged 65 or over, or those who are blind or disabled. Dependents of disabled claimants have no waiting period either. Expedited reinstatement is available for workers who were approved, returned to work but then became disabled again so long as a period of five years has not passed between the first and second periods of disability.
Your benefits are based on your AIME, or average indexed monthly earnings. It does account for an increase in your lifetime monthly earnings and uses up to 35 years of your working years. Your highest indexed earnings are added together and divided by the number of months for these years. The average is rounded down.
The average SSDI payment as of March 2016 is $1,166 per month with higher wage earners receiving up to $2,639. You do receive a yearly cost of living adjustment.