Published on: September 26, 2014
When it comes to Social Security and its benefits, sometimes knowing how and when to file can make all the difference in the world. The best-kept secrets about social security and receiving its benefits concerns finding the best possible time to apply, as well as applying in the appropriate manner.
This is especially true when applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), the salary replacement income many Americans with disabilities rely on every day.
When you are unable to work as the direct result of a medically disabling condition, staying on your feet can become a fiscal nightmare without the right direction. This is why SSDI exists; it serves as a safety net for those unable to earn and support their families in ways they have done so prior to their disability.
Unfortunately, many applicants for disability wind up losing their claim because they do not file properly, provide enough evidence of their working history, or fall to any other completely avoidable mistake.
Dealing with Social Security benefits can be a challenge for those without the right understanding of disability, or without the proper direction. For this reason, one of the best things you can do when filing for benefits is to contact a Social Security expert in your area, and learn the best ways to apply.
Waiting to File for Social Security
When filing for Social Security Retirement benefits (not for disability or SSDI), the most lucrative, rewarding secret concerns your timing when filing. In most cases, waiting to file for Social Security until age 70 (as opposed to premature filing at 65 or age 66 or so) can provide an up to 32% higher monthly benefit amount.
In a 2013 study by the Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research, it was found that while lifetime benefit amounts do not change based on when you apply, the monthly amounts you will be eligible for increase with every additional year you wait until age 70. For the most benefits, it’s best to wait as long as possible before filing for Social Security (health permitting, of course).
The study gave a rough estimate of $1,000 in monthly benefits for those who retire at age 70, compared to $568 monthly for those who file at 62. Your monthly amount will drastically increase if you’re able to put off applying for an extra few years. Obviously, other factors (your health and your current financial circumstances) must be taken into consideration.
Getting Social Security and Disability Benefits Isn’t Rocket Science
For both Social Security benefits and SSDI, documentation gathering and proper filing may seem daunting for applicants; there’s so much on the line, pending on your application. However, with the right understanding and direction, getting your needed benefits is a relatively simple process.
Concerning disability, the key to maximizing the chance for success is in the preparation. Your disability benefits will be based on your earnings history and contributions to Social Security through wage taxes, in a form known as Social Security credits. The more credits you’ve put into Social Security historically, the greater benefits you will be eligible for in the onset of a disability.
Proving historical credits to Social Security requires comprehensive documentation and evidence of your working history. When assessing your eligibility and reviewing your application, the Social Security Administration will use two tests: the recent work test and duration of work test. Generally, the information used to make these determinations is available on your Social Security Earnings Record.
With these tests, the SSA will analyze your total earnings and contributions to Social Security, in either a variable period of years leading up to a disability or your entire working history, to determine what extent of benefits you are eligible for. Having ample evidence for your application can make or break the entire process; insufficient proof of your contributions to Social Security, and the ways your disability affects your ability to work, can cost you everything.
Professional Expertise for the Greatest Benefits
For these reasons, one of the biggest secrets about Social Security, disability benefits and SSDI is the important role an outside expert can play in getting you the benefits you need.
You don’t have to go about filing for disability and Social Security aid alone; in fact, contacting a local Social Security expert can be the most beneficial thing you can do during the application process.
These professionals will take care of the filing paperwork, procedurals and SSA contact for you, and drastically simplify the application process while also improving your chances of eligibility. Even if you have previously been denied Social Security benefits, contacting an expert in your area can reverse these results and bring you the financial compensation you deserve.