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San Diego Social Security Disability Law Blog

Ticket to Work Program and Social Security Disability benefits

Disabilities can impact different individuals in different ways. While one person may suffer from a permanent physical ailment that limits their capacity to move, another may suffer from a mental illness that prevents them from successfully interacting with other individuals. California residents who suffer from disabilities may be able to secure disability benefits from the Social Security Administration.

The Social Security Administration does offer disabled individuals opportunities to find gainful employment that accommodates their physical, mental and emotional needs. The Ticket to Work program exists to help men and women who receive disability benefits with finding job training and placement services that may help them work toward self-sufficiency.

Could social media affect your disability benefits?

California residents may endure a long wait to find out if they have been approved for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. Disability benefits are an important source of support for men, women and children who cannot work due to disabling illnesses, injuries or conditions, and who do not have other sources of income or funding. Once they are issued, disability benefits can be reviewed and evaluated to determine if their recipients still qualify for them.

Regular reviews of disability benefits are normal, but a new method of investigating individuals who apply for disability benefits may be on its way into practice. In a recent report regarding the Social Security Administration's budget, a proposal was made to use applicants' social media accounts to determine if they really need disability benefits. In other words, the Social Security Administration may go through applicants' Instagram, Facebook and other social media profiles to look for evidence that they may not qualify for disability support.

How to know if you could qualify for SSD

Many California residents may have heard about the difficulties of applying for Social Security Disability benefits and how the process can be overwhelming for someone who is already suffering from a medical condition that is preventing them from performing many basic functions. The rejection rate shows that only about one-third of first-time applicants get accepted, which is cause for alarm for those who are applying for SSD benefits.

Social Security Disability benefits can provide a crucial safety net for those who are struggling to make ends meet because they are unable to work any longer due to a medical condition. For many, it is the reason they have a roof over their head, food on their table and electricity switched on. That's why a denial of benefits can be so harmful for California residents. Without these benefits, people may not be able to keep their houses, much less get the medical treatment they need.

What do you need to know about SSI eligibility criteria?

As a previous post here mentioned, it is important to understand which disability benefits plan administered by the Social Security Administration an applicant might qualify for. Otherwise, California residents may find themselves wasting time and effort applying for benefits they could not receive and then becoming too disheartened from applying from the ones they potentially could. The differences between Social Security Disability benefits and Supplemental Security income were pointed out in a previous post, but it is important to understand the specific criteria of eligibility for SSI benefits.

Similar to SSD benefits, SSI is available to those who are disabled. However, SSI is not dependent on a person's work history. People who have limited income and limited resources are eligible to receive SSI benefits if the applicant is either an American citizen or a national, or in certain categories of aliens. Additionally, the applicant should be residing in one of the 50 American states, District of Columbia or the Northern Mariana Islands and should not have left the country for a full calendar month or 30 consecutive days or more.

Should you apply for SSD or SSI?

Payroll taxes are the main source of funding for Social Security Disability benefits. SSD benefits are available to those who have worked for a certain number of years and have made the necessary contributions to the Social Security trust fund through various taxes. However, the Social Security Administration also administers disability benefits through another program-Supplemental Security Income.

SSI is a means-tested program. Payments are provided to disabled individuals who have few resources and low income, regardless of their work history. California residents who are considering applying for benefits must understand the SSA's strict definition of "disability" and meet it by providing the necessary medical and financial documents.

What happens if your SSD benefits are being reviewed?

Once California residents have finally completed their Social Security Disability benefits applications, submitted them, gotten them approved and begun receiving SSD benefits, they might think their hard work has paid off and they are now at the end of the road. However, the Social Security Administration conducts periodic reviews, ensuring only those people who are disabled receive SSD benefits. News of a review may overwhelm recipients, but most often, there is nothing to worry about.

The SSA conducts two types of continuing disability reviews: full medical reviews and mailers. The SSA uses computer scoring models to identify cases that are less likely to demonstrate medical improvement. Then, questionnaires are sent out to obtain additional information, after which it is determined if further medical reviews are required. A full medical review ends up being more expensive, since there needs to be a new medical evaluation and disability.

Benefits of applying for Social Security Disability

Less than one in three workers in the country have private disability insurance, which means that if they sustain an injury that prevents them from working they may have no means of assistance. Social Security Disability Insurance is the one safety net that more than 155 million workers rely on, as they are insured through their payroll or FICA taxes.

While California residents may only think of severe injuries from preventing someone from working, the reality is that arthritis, strokes, diabetes and heart diseases are also common reasons why people are unable to continue working. As a result, people apply for disability benefits not just for themselves and their medical treatment, but also for their family members. If approved, individuals can get valuable income to support their households while they recover from their condition. Some conditions require extensive medical treatment to achieve stability to begin working again. SSD becomes essential financial support to get through the difficult times.

The right approach to getting SSD applications approved

Not only is it frustrating to not be able to work and continue to remain financially independent, it is also economically devastating. It can also be life threatening when people who need to purchase medicines and get medical treatment are unable to do so because they do not have the financial means to do so. At times like these, Social Security Disability benefits can become the safety net that prevents California residents from falling. Therefore, it can be worrisome when these benefits either do not materialize at all or do not become available on time.

Although the application for SSD benefits may look straightforward on its face, and collecting the medical evidence easy enough, the application process can be needlessly delayed if even one document or pertinent piece of information is missing. Unfortunately, not everyone knows what is important and what is not in the application process for SSD benefits.

Are SSD benefits taxable?

Although it is perhaps our nation's most important social program, most people, including those who live in California, probably know very little about Social Security benefits, especially SSD benefits. Therefore, it may come as a surprise to them that more than 62 million people receive a guaranteed payout from the Social Security Administration monthly, of which more than 20 million rely on these benefits to keep them out of poverty. Additionally, 175 millions workers are covered by this security net in case they die untimely or are severely injured.

One of the main issues many people do not realize is that it is possible that Social Security Disability benefits are subject to taxes. Although the majority of SSD and SSI benefits are not taxable, if either the beneficiary or their spouse has another substantial source of income, they may likely end up getting taxed on their benefits.

The basics about Social Security Disability benefits

When California residents imagine their old age, very few imagine they would become disabled or unable to work due to a chronic illness. However, one in four of people currently in their twenties is likely to become disabled before they reach the age of 67, according to the Social Security Administration. Since it is a real possibility, preparing for it is very important. One way to prepare is to know the basics about Social Security Disability benefits.

To qualify for SSD benefits, a person must be disabled according to the SSA's definition of "disability." The definition is a strict one and requires that the individual have a physical or mental impairment that is expected to last for 12 months or more, even resulting in death. The disability must be such that it prevents the disabled person from performing "substantial gainful activity." This means it must prevent the person from performing work-related activities. The SSA has a list of impairments it considers serious. If a person's ailment is on the list, that individual will automatically qualify for benefits. If not, then the SSA must evaluate the situation.