The Basic Requirements to File for Social Security Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Compensation through the Social Security Administration

The Basic Requirements to File for Social Security Disability BenefitsYou’ve been hurt or you’re suffering from an illness, and you can’t work. The injury/illness wasn’t work-related, so you can’t file a workers’ compensation claim, but you don’t have the resources to meet your financial obligations. You may, however, be eligible to receive disability benefits through the federal Social Security Administration. What options are available to you and how do you qualify for benefits?

The Different Benefits Available through the Social Security Administration

There are two basic types of benefits you can receive through Social Security—Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) payments and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

SSDI benefits are technically available to individuals who are “insured,” and take the form of a monthly stipend, based on your average “covered” earnings during a specific period of time. The benefits generally average anywhere from $800 to $1,800 per month, but can be as much as $3,000. Your SSDI payment may be reduced if you concurrently receive workers’ compensation, public disability benefits or pension benefits not covered by Social Security.

SSI also provides a monetary benefit, but the calculation is based on need, rather than on any contributions you have made.

How Do You Qualify to Receive Social Security Benefits?

To be eligible to receive SSDI benefits, you must first show that you have been previously employed in jobs where you paid Social Security (FICA) taxes. Because SSDI is an insurance program, if you have not worked in jobs covered by Social Security, you won’t have any insurance coverage.

If you have worked in qualifying jobs, you must next show that you have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI benefits. You earn one full work credit for every $1,510 in wages, with a maximum of four credits per year. As a general rule, you must have 40 work credits to qualify for SSDI, but you may require less, if you are younger.

the condition that prevents you from working falls under the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability. Furthermore, you must generally demonstrate that you have not worked or will not be able to work for at least one year because of your disability, or that your disability will result in in your death. If you are collecting SSDI benefits when you reach age 66 (full retirement age), you will continue to receive those benefits, but they will be converted to retirement benefits.

SSI benefits, however, are not a form of insurance. Accordingly, you don’t need any qualifying work credits. Your eligibility will be based entirely on other factors. To qualify, you must be blind, disabled or aged 65 or older, and you must show that you:

  • Have limited income and resources
  • Are an American citizen
  • Are a resident of the 50 states, Washington, D.C., or the Northern Mariana Islands
  • Have not been absent from the United States for more than 30 consecutive days
  • Are not confined in prison or in a hospital at government expense

You must also file for any other forms of benefits for which you may qualify, such as pensions or workers’ compensation.

Contact the Proven Personal Injury Lawyers at Bailey & Galyen

At the law offices of Bailey & Galyen, we understand the challenges you face when you can’t work because of an injury or illness. We’ll be your advocate throughout the legal process, helping you pursue all the benefits to which you are entitled. Contact us by e-mail or 844-402-2992 call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Bailey & Galyen

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