5 Secrets About Disability That May Surprise You

Published on: October 16, 2014

More goes into a disability decision than you probably believe.During the disability application process, many Americans are surprised to learn how the inner working of the Social Security Administration (SSA) affect their eligibility for benefits, and the  amount of  income they can receive through the SSA’s programs.

Knowing how the SSA operates and makes decisions with regard to disability claims is a crucial preparatory stage in applying for benefits. In this article, we will go deeper into how the SSA makes informed decisions on your unique circumstances, and what secrets about disability benefits you should know to improve your chances of approval.

1.) Not All Conditions Qualify for Benefits

One surprising thing many disability applicants learn when applying for benefits through the SSA is that not all conditions or disabilities are covered, and there are rarely circumstances that outright guarantee eligibility.

The SSA handles applications for disability benefits on a case-by-case basis, and there are no guarantees as to whether you condition can grant you benefits. To make eligibility decisions, the administration will typically use what is referred to as the SSA’s Blue Book.

This Blue Book is a reference guide, of sorts, that compiles and lists all forms of disability eligible for benefits. To be eligible, you must be notably afflicted with a disability explicitly listed in the book, and that condition must be estimated to last at least one year from diagnosis. Some common disabilities listed in the SSA’s Blue Book include:

  • Arthritis
  • Immune disorders
  • Respiratory illness
  • Speech problems or impediments
  • Blindness
  • Neurological disorders
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Mental disorders

2.) YOU Determine Your Own Benefits

Another disability secret many applicants are surprised to learn is their own role in determining eligibility, and the amount of benefits they may eventually be eligible for. The actual money the SSA uses to provide benefits for the disabled comes directly from applicants’ contributions to the program through payroll taxes.

Social Security taxes are taken out of an applicant’s earnings on an ongoing basis. In the onset of a disability, applicants essentially draw from this pool of income for their benefits, making up for lost wages and altered quality of life. Disability benefits aren’t just free sums of cash; they’re taken directly from an applicant’s income during the entire duration of their working life, and saved until needed for disability or retirement.

3.) Benefits are Provided Without Regard To Need

Benefit amounts are determined based on contributions made into the Social Security system by the disabled worker. A computation is performed based on the worker's contributions, date of birth and date of disability to obtain a figure called the Primary Insurance Amount (PIA); the PIA is used to determine the amount paid to the disabled worker and any spouse or children entitled on his/her record.

4.) State Organizations Make the Final Decision

A large factor that catches many disability applicants off-guard is that the Social Security Administration itself isn’t ultimately responsible for the determination on your claim. Rather, local state agencies retain the final, decisive say in whether or not you are eligible for benefits at the first two levels of adjudication; these agencies work under contract with Social Security. Social Security assumes full responsibility for the disability process at the third level of adjudication (the hearing). 

5.) Outside Help Can Make Getting Benefits Simple

Perhaps the most closely guarded secret about Social Security and Florida disability benefits is the important role that local disability professionals serve. Often, the most challenging parts of applying for disability revolve around confusion and a lack of information, whether on how the application process works or the amounts of evidence needed to support a claim.

This is where compassionate disability experts in your area can make all the difference in your application, and get you the benefits you need through the SSA. Even if you have previously been denied benefits, a seasoned disability agent in your city can help guide talks with the SSA over your application, and provide helpful insights to your claim and its chances of bringing you benefits.

Don’t hurt your chances by applying for benefits alone; contact a disability expert in your area to learn what you need to do to get the full benefits you need.


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