What is Social Security Disability?
Get the Truth About SSD Benefit and Qualifications
For many people, Social Security Disability insurance will never be needed. For others, however, the SSD program can provide a financial lifeline in times of difficulty and distress. Understanding what the SSD program is, and who qualifies for benefits, is important to dispel the myths and falsities relating to the program.
What exactly is SSD?
SSD is a federal insurance program managed by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The program is designed to protect workers who become unable to work for 12 months or longer due an injury or illness. The program is very strict in distributing benefits, with a large percentage of applications being denied on first look and in subsequent appeals and reviews.
Who is eligible for SSD benefits?
According to the Social Security law, to be eligible for disability benefits, the applicant must be “unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months.”
Furthermore, the impairment or combination of impairments must be of such severity that the applicant is not only unable to do his or her previous work but cannot, considering his or her age, education, and work experience, engage in any other kind of substantial gainful work which exists in the national economy (Social Security Act, section 223(d)).”
What does this mean? Examining a real-world example may held shed light on the benefits and qualification criteria of the SSD program
Jane is a 55 year-old city bus driver who has worked for the same company her entire career. Unfortunately, Jane was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis several years ago. As the disease progressed, Jane’s ability to drive a bus has become compromised. After battling to keep her job for years, Jane must resign.
For months, Jane is able to live off her savings account. As money becomes tight, she tries desperately to find new employment. Due to her condition, she is unable to work in any roles requiring physical exertion or long periods of standing. Since she has spent her entire career driving a bus, Jane has few other employable skills and no college degree. She struggles through the 12 months following the loss of her job.
After a year, however, there is some hope for Jane’s financial situation. Jane may now qualify for SSD benefits since she is unable to work in her old role and unable to develop a new skill to find a new job.
Due to her condition and her history, Jane may be a strong candidate for the SSD program.
What benefits can Jane expect is she is approved for the SSD program?
SSD insurance benefits are paid on a monthly basis. This means that Jane will receive payment for each month that she qualifies for the SSD program. The amount of money Jane receives is based on a percentage of her lifetime average yearly earnings.
Let’s say that Jane has made an average of $52,000 each year. She would receive a set percentage of this number in SSD benefits. The percentage is based on a complex formula that factors in Jane’s age, years worked and other data.
How does Jane obtain benefits?
Once she becomes eligible for the program, Jane must apply for SSD benefits by filing a request online, by phone or in person at an SSA office. Jane can submit her initial application without the assistance of an SSD attorney, but may wish to consult one for assistance.
If Jane’s application is approved, she’ll begin receiving monthly payments. If her application is denied, she has the right to appeal. At this point, Jane should retain an attorney for assistance traversing the appeals process.
If you need Social Security Disability benefits, our SSD attorneys can help
Murfreesboro residents facing similar Social Security issues, including denials, have turned to Kidwell, South, Beasley & Haley, Attorneys at Law for help. Our Tennessee Social Security Disability and Income attorneys help countless clients obtain the SSD/SSI benefits they are entitled to.
If you need assistance completing your initial SSD application or appealing a denial, call 615-893-1331 or contact us online today.