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A Refresher on Social Security Disability Benefits

 A short (and sweet) intro into social security disability insurance benefits, whom it is for, and how these benefits can be accessed.

Living in the developed world comes with many commensurate rewards, opportunities and freedoms. Countries like the United States and United Kingdom have a plethora of programs in place to safeguard their respective citizens, especially those that fall into the more disadvantaged sections of society.

In the United States, the broad government initiative that seeks to address citizen welfare is known colloquially as “social security”. Unlike many cash-strapped or underdeveloped economies, the US can, because of its financial standing, afford to provide for those in society that fall into a set of unfortunate situations. As such, programs like social security are designed to cater for the poor, temporarily unemployed, young mothers, and perhaps most importantly, the disabled.

A large number of Americans do not know that under certain circumstances involving permanent disability (as well as some temporary ones), they qualify to receive help from the government. In this article, we are going to delve into what social security disability benefits are, who qualifies for them, and how to apply for SSDI benefits.

The US department that handles the disbursement of social security disability benefits is called the Social Security Administration (SSA). Applications can be made either online or on their website or via a call to their toll-free number. On the call, representatives from the department work to assign prospective recipients an appointment date.

It is advised for those applying for SSDI benefits to do so as soon as the disability occurs as the social security disability benefits do not begin until a full six months after the disability. The six-month waiting period begins on the first full month after the department decides as the beginning of the disability. This means, for example, that if someone met with an accident on March 27 and the department decides that the disability itself occurred on April 2, the waiting period begins to count on April 2.

Now, onto the insurance aspect of it all. Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI is a welfare support program in the United States where the government pays a monthly amount to individuals that become disabled before their retirement. People sometimes refer to the program informally as “workers’ disability”. An important thing to note is that when deciding on whether or not a candidate qualifies for SSDI benefits, the relevant government departments take into consideration how much an individual’s disability affects their ability to work (if at all).

In order for anyone to be considered eligible for the SSDI benefits, they are required to have worked for a stipulated amount of time during which they also paid FICA taxes. Now, there is quite a technical side to how the number of requisite working years is calculated. Individuals can earn four work credits every year and these work credits, even more than the core time served on the job, determine whether an individual qualifies for the SSDI benefits. They are collated and measured alongside years spent serving.

It is common knowledge that individuals that do not qualify for direct SSDI benefits, due to having not worked long enough to qualify, can alternatively apply for Supplementary Security Income (SSI).

It is important to note the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability is not as all-encompassing as many people might think. You see, whilst many others might define disability as an event that impairs an individual’s normal functioning in any way and to any degree, the SSA defines it as having to severely interfere with even the most basic work-related activities. This means that for any disability to qualify under the SSA’s guidelines, it has to be severe, permanent, and an impediment performance. In terms of definition, the SSA defines total disability as the kind where an individual is unable to perform substantial gainful activity for at least one calendar year.

As was mentioned earlier in the article, approval for SSDI benefits triggers a five-month waiting period before the individual can start receiving the benefit checks. Realistically, however, most people do not get approval until about seven months to one year after the disability-causing incident. In situations like this, the individual receives backpay that goes all the way back to the sixth month after the disability was decided to have begun.

In terms of longevity, individuals can continue to receive SSDI benefits for as long as their medical condition prevents them from being able to engage in productive, earning activities. Of course, in order to safeguard the legitimacy of the program, the SSA conducts regular reviews in order to determine whether or not the disability still exists and to what degree.

Government-sponsored programs like this are helpful in alleviating the suffering of disadvantaged people. It follows then that those that qualify should apply to receive these benefits. If you have experienced some form of severe, permanent disability, make sure to contact the relevant offices in order to claim your SSDI benefits.

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