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SSD Benefits 101


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Learn the basics of social security disability benefits, the difference between social security disability and supplemental security income and the eligibility requirements. We also show you how to apply for SSD and relate how the benefits are calculated.

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SSD Benefits 101

  1. 1. SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BENEFITS 101 What are SSDI benefits, and what can you expect when applying?
  2. 2. PART OF OUR HISTORY A way to provide financial assistance to disabled citizens was first devised in the 1930s and became law in 1956. These benefits have provided assistance to those who most need it and have been an integral part of defining how we treat Americans who struggle to get by. The program is vital for so many of our citizens - it is estimated that a quarter of the people currently age 20 will have some form of disability before the age of 67.
  3. 3. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SSDI AND SSI? Both Social Security disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) require a disability, but benefits are calculated differently for the two programs. SSI is a federal welfare program. That means that there is a limit on the amount of “assets” you may have in order to qualify for payment. The monthly amount of SSI benefits depends on your income from all sources, including any other benefits you receive. SSDI, on the other hand, is much like an insurance program. You are eligible for SSDI benefits because you are disabled and because you paid Social Security taxes over the course of your working career.
  4. 4. MORE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SSDI AND SSI There are also differences in the way the two programs are administered. The non-medical rules to receive SSI benefits are normally administered and processed at your local Social Security office. SSDI benefits are typically processed in Baltimore, Maryland, while benefits of those people who are over age 55 are processed in regional payment centers.
  5. 5. WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR SSDI? A disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that prevents a person from “substantial gainful activity” and lasts at least 12 continuous months or results in death. Conditions that could make a claimant eligible for benefits include: • Cystic Fibrosis • Cancer • Certain Mental Disorders • Cognitive Disabilities
  6. 6. SSDI APPLICATION PROCESS Applying for SSDI can be difficult. Applicants must prove their disability and often have to go through a series of appeals before they are given benefits. In fact, from 2001 to 2010, the Social Security Administration denied over 70 percent of initial applications. However, by preparing the proper documentation beforehand, you will increase your chances of being approved.
  7. 7. DOCUMENTS NEEDED FOR SSD APPLICATION Applicants might be asked for a number of documents when applying for disability benefits, including: • Pay stubs • Medical records • Tax forms • Military discharge papers • Birth certificate • A former spouse’s death certificate • Proof of other types of benefits
  8. 8. HOW ARE BENEFITS CALCULATED? The Social Security Administration uses a number of factors to determine payments to a claimant. • Work Credits - Work credits are earned while you are working and are calculated based on your yearly earnings. Workers earn one credit for each year they earn at least $1,260 and can earn up to four credits if they made $5,040 or more. • Calculating Benefits - The SSA has a formula they use to calculate your monthly earnings in order to arrive at your Primary Insurance Amount, which is then used to determine your payment. It is a complicated process, but most SSDI beneficiaries receive between $700 and $1,000 a month. • Benefit Reductions - Payments may be reduced based on other benefits a claimant receives, including Workers’ Compensation, retirement benefits, or disability payments from another federal program, or a state or labor union plan.
  9. 9. DENIALS AND APPEALS The Social Security Administration will deny seven out of 10 initial applications. Yet, 45 percent of overall claims are approved. In other words, denials should be considered part of the process. The appeal process generally includes: • Reconsideration - A board will review your claim to determine whether it should be reconsidered. You don’t have to be present for reconsideration. • Hearing - When a claimant disagrees with a denial, they can request a hearing. A judge will review the claim and call any relevant experts or witnesses. You are not required to attend a hearing unless the judge orders your presence. In a hearing, your attorney can cross-examine witnesses, which can help your claim. • Appeal - If you disagree with the judge’s decision, you can appeal to the Social Security Appeals Council, which may or may not review your claim. • Federal action - If a council denies your claim or chooses not to review it, you can file a lawsuit in federal court. This is the last stage of the appeal process, and it is very difficult to achieve a favorable decision at this level.
  10. 10. HOW AN SSD ATTORNEY CAN HELP As you can see, obtaining disability benefits can be a difficult, complicated process. It’s for this reason that a Social Security Disability attorney is invaluable for applicants. Your attorney will help you prepare your initial claim to maximize your chances for approval. They can also help guide you through the appeals process to make sure that your claim has the best possible chance of being approved. Applying for benefits without the assistance of an attorney makes things very difficult.
  11. 11. FILING FOR SSDI BENEFITS? If you or a loved one is considering filing for Social Security Disability benefits, John R. Colvin can help. We have helped many clients receive benefits due to a disability, and we can assist you throughout every stage of the process, from application to appeal. Contact us today to learn more.
  12. 12. HOW WE HAVE HELPED OUR CLIENTS “After being denied Disability 3 separate times, I thought my case was hopeless. It was also at a time when I was still battling my pancreatic illness, so I did not feel that I had the physical strength to appeal once again. Another local Attorney turned down representing me, because he did not think that we had a shot to win. A friend recommended that I speak to Atty Colvin before I give up completely… Atty Colvin won my case, and I am forever grateful. I received 2 checks in the mail and these covered about 75% of the medical bills that I had accrued during my illness. I am so glad that I did not give up, and I will be forever grateful for meeting Atty Colvin and having him as my Atty. My family and I proudly recommend Atty Colvin to everyone. Please take my word that this man will fight for you when you don’t have the strength to fight for yourself.” – Client
  13. 13. MORE FROM OUR CLIENTS “I’m a disabled veteran and was denied my claim for Social Security. I sought the aid of Mr. Colvin as referred to by someone who obtained his assistance previously. Mr. Colvin handled my case with such expertise! He kept me informed and updated. I submitted all documentation he requested. He followed up on my health while awaiting my hearing. I’ve heard the nightmares of being denied and “fighting” to get your deserved benefits! However, this was NOT the case for me!, because of the professionalism, knowledge of this area and his unwavering support for me! I was completely petrified, the day of my hearing and he comforted me and calmed me. The Judge agreed with the VA rating and declared me disabled. With Mr. Colvin’s thoroughness in preparation of my case, made the process So less stressful for me!” - LD
  14. 14. MORE FROM OUR CLIENTS (CONTINUED) “In 2011, I found myself without a job and my old injuries, not to mention my age, kept me from being able to find a job in the field I was trained for. I had already been turned down twice from Social Security for disability. Several of my friends told me that John Colvin would be the best attorney to use in filing an appeal. I must say that this entire process was not as painful as I thought it would be. In the consultation, he listened carefully to my story and when I finished he said that he would take my case. He explained everything that would happen in words that I could understand. He was there when I had questions and he took all the time that I needed. His assistant was always very pleasant to work with and did not hesitate to contact me as soon as my decision came through. I would recommend no one else but John Colvin in a disability case!” – Gayla