America’s working group is one of the very important factors that make this nation a major economic force around the world. To make sure that they get rewarded as they retire, the federal government passed the Social Security Act in 1935.
This Act first served as a form of social insurance and was originally intended as a financial source for retiring employees, many of whom suffered from poverty during the Great Depression in the 1930s. Now known as the Social Security Administration (SSA), two large federal programs aimed at providing financial assistance to people with disabilities have been created through it: the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which SSA introduced in 1956, and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which SSA created in 1974.
The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), specifically, was designed to provide cash benefits to Social Security members with total permanent disabilities and pensions to retired members aged 65 or above.
There are criteria that should be met in order for one to be eligible for disability or retirement benefits. The most basic of these requirements are:
- Having worked in a job covered by Social Security or by being self-employed; and,
- Having earned the required number of credits required by SSA.
- Employee earn four credits a year (a table that shows the number of credits needed by an employee who gets disabled is available in an SSA website with address, https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10072.pdf. This table also shows the required number of years of work needed to be able to earn certain number of credits). These credits are earned through payment of Social Security taxes (employees’ pay slips usually identify SS tax payments as “FICA,” that is, Federal Insurance Contributions Act).
While members usually need 40 credits (earned after 10 years of work) to be considered eligible for disability benefits, employees who have only been a few years in work and, therefore, have earned fewer credits can also qualify. One very important thing any employee will have to know, however, is that even if they are eligible now, if they stop working under Social Security and so stop earning credits (for a certain length of time), then they may no longer be considered eligible in the future.
Another important requirement for eligibility is, of course, the total, permanent disability sustained by the employee. SSDI does not cover partial or short-term disability. Employees who sustain this type of disability can, instead, file their claim with their state’s Workers’ Compensation office, but only if the injury (that results to disability) is work-related or sustained while performing their job.
Disability, as defined by the SSA (at least for SSDI purposes), means:
- A condition that will render a person unable to to perform the work that he/she did before being disabled;
- The disability renders a person unable to perform any other type of work; and,
- The disability may either last for at least a year or result in death.
Once an employee starts receiving the cash benefits, payment of benefit will only stop if:
- He/She works at a level that the SSA considers as “substantial”;
- If the SSA decides that his/her medical condition has improved to the point that he/she is no longer disabled; or,
- If he/she turns 65 – if this is the case, recipient of the disability benefit will continue receiving the same amount of payment, only this time, it will be called “pension,” and no longer disability benefit.
As pointed out in the Hankey Law Office website, Social Security Disability benefits is a reliable source of income that makes a world of difference in the lives of disabled individuals and their families. People whose physical or mental disabilities keep them out of the workforce, therefore, should find out if they are eligible to the financial assistance known as Social Security Disability Insurance. A highly-competent SSDI lawyer may be able to help in this endeavor, as well as help prepare and file all necessary documents and forms in case of eligibility.Read More