Social Security Disability Claims’ Factors
The pathway to Social Security Disability benefits may depend on your work history, your income level and/or the specific type of disability. Proving your case will include verifying your work history as well as your disability.
Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income
Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income, commonly called SSD and SSI are two separate programs although the terms are sometimes confused. Although the medical requirements for both are the same, that is, the same rules for whether you are “disabled” apply to both programs, the non—medical rules are very different.
SSD is wage replacement insurance.
SSD is part of the Retirement Survivor’s Disability Insurance program administered by the Social Security Administration.
When we work under the Social Security System, we pay FICA taxes or Social Security taxes deducted from our wages. These taxes act like insurance premiums that buy us a period of wage replacement insurance coverage under the Social Security Act. Each of us that pay these taxes, if we pay enough into the system, are entitled to a benefit that replaces our wages in part when we stop working. If we stop working due to age, we call that Retirement and our wages are replaced in part by our SSA Retirement Insurance Benefit. If our wages stop because we die and we leave behind young children, our wages are replaced in part by SSA Survivors’ Benefits. If we stop working due to injury or sickness, our wages are replaced in part by Disability Insurance Benefits. All of these benefits and others for spouses, widows, widowers and disabled adult children are covered under the “umbrella” of the Social Security Act.
Work History Is Important
For the benefits described above, work history is important because it is through our work and wages that the Social Security or FICA taxes are paid. When we stop work, those taxes stop being paid. Just like insurance premiums, if those taxes are not paid, our SSA coverage is in jeopardy. When we stop paying an insurance premium, coverage ultimately lapses; so, too does your SSD coverage. That’s why your work history is important and you should not delay in inquiring about SSD if you are going to be out of work due to injury or illness.
Generally speaking, you are covered if, at the point in time you become disabled, you have worked five out of the last ten years.
Also, you need to consider that you become eligible for Medicare once you have been receiving SSD for two years.
Supplemental Security Income
If your work history is insufficient to entitle you to SSD, you may be eligible for SSI. The disability rules are the same as for SSD, but your work history does not matter. The non-medical requirements for SSI look to your income and resources. If these are below certain levels, you may be eligible for SSI. SSI is available for the Aged (65 or over), Blind or Disabled. SSI may also be available to disabled children, depending on the income and resources of their parents and their living arrangements. Additionally, an SSI recipient qualifies for Medicaid.
SSD or SSI recipients may work and still qualify for benefits under some circumstances. There are limits to what Social Security would consider to be “substantial gainful activity”. Additionally, there are work incentives built into the program like “Trial Work Periods” under SSD and “earned income disregards” under SSI. One of our attorneys can explain how the “trial work period” works as well as what “work” SSA may consider to be “substantial gainful activity”.
We Handle Complex Cases
Jacobs, Schwalbe & Petruzzelli, P.C., has helped thousands of people over the years to qualify for SSD or SSI benefits and other benefits administered by SSA. We often take over complex cases from other New Jersey SSD lawyers for appeal to the Appeals Council and Federal District Court. In addition, we handle disabled children’s cases and those of disabled adult children.
More Than 45 Years Of SSD Experience
Since 1977, Jacobs, Schwalbe & Petruzzelli, P.C., in Cherry Hill has been helping the injured and the disabled in the Tri-State area of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Our attorneys can evaluate and document your case. We can represent you at all stages of the process, from the initial application, through the administrative appeals and to the United States District Court.