An unexpected disability can end the ability to earn income and pay for living expenses. To help, Social Security grants benefits under its Social Security disability program to eligible claimants. Those seeking or receiving this financial assistance should know basis facts about SSD benefits.
This program is different than Social Security’s retirement benefits. Most workers pay into Social Security through federal payroll taxes with the anticipation that they will receive benefits when they retire.
SSD insurance is coverage earned by workers and provides benefits to replace some of their income when they cannot work because of a lasting injury or illness regardless of their age. Workers are eligible for SSDI when they paid enough Social Security taxes on their income.
Cancer, mental illness and other serious conditions can cause a disability and afflict workers at any age. In fact, one in four 20-year-olds will suffer a disability before their retirement age and need SSDI benefits.
Workers must prove their eligibility for benefits, however. A disability is very narrowly defined under the law. A person is disabled if they cannot work because of a serious medical condition that last or is expected to last at least one year or lead to death.
Benefits are not lucrative and are intended only to meet basic needs. The average monthly benefit was $1,197 at the beginning of 2018.
SSA also encourages workers to return to work without losing their benefits. It provides no-cost employment support services and allows workers to keep their health care.
Fraud is also vigorously prosecuted and can threaten benefits. The Office of Inspector General investigates and prosecutes cases. Estimates show a fraud incidence rate less than one percent.
An experienced attorney can help disabled workers gather medical evidence and meet the program’s requirements. Lawyers may also represent claimants who are denied social security and help assure that benefits are not terminated.