“Should I Apply for Disability?" (and Other SSDI Questions)

Published on: March 3, 2020

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Should I apply for disability?

If this question has been running through your mind, there are several factors to consider. People can become permanently or temporarily disabled, so you should apply for Social Security benefits as soon as you become disabled since it may take up to three to five months for your application to be processed? 

If you think you may need to apply for disability benefits, or if you want to know what they cover, then this guide is for you.

What are Social Security Benefits?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) operates two programs that are aimed at providing assistance to disabled Americans. They are :

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

While SSDI provides disability benefits to people who can no longer work due to a medically determinable condition that is expected to last at least one year or result in death, SSI offers benefits to individuals based on financial need and does not consider how much you have worked when determining eligibility. 

If you have a permanent disability that withholds you from work while on disability, you can qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or even both.

How Much Do Disabled Adults Get From SSI and SSDI?

If you qualify for SSDI, the financial benefits you receive will be determined by your work history and the wages you earned over your career. Your work history is converted into accumulated work credits, or how much you have paid into the Social Security system. As a result, each individual receives benefits that are contingent with their personal earnings record. On average, monthly payments normally range between $1,000 to $1,200, and the maximum amount you can receive per month is $2,687.

When applying, the SSA decides whether you have worked enough by converting your previous earnings into work credits. The following formula is normally used to calculate work credits: One work credit = $1,300 in net earnings.

You can accrue a maximum of 4 work credits in one year, which amounts to a maximum of $5,200 in total earned income. If you earn a minimum of one work credit a year, the SSA determines that you have paid enough into social security for that year. 

While SSDI benefits depend on how recently you worked and how long, SSI monthly benefits are calculated based on your income and assets. As of 2019, the monthly base rate SSA offers is $771 per month for individuals and $1,157 per month for eligible couples. Your monthly countable income is then subtracted from this base rate to determine your exact monthly benefit amount. As a result, the average amount received by SSI applicants is $542.

What Conditions Qualify For Disability Benefits?

The SSA uses medical evidence, as well as objective financial eligibility requirements (for SSI), to determine whether you qualify or not for disability benefits or not. Keep in mind that this is dependent on a multitude of factors such as work credits, if applicable, and eligibility for SSDI is not based upon need.

There are numerous conditions that are eligible for disability benefits. However, simply having an injury or impairment cannot guarantee your eligibility for benefits. When applying, you also will need to consider the supporting medical evidence you have, how the condition affects your ability to work, and whether or not your condition is officially listed in the SSA’s Blue Book. 

The SSA’s “Blue Book” is the reference guide of what are known as listing level impairments. These listings are used by the SSA to classify what conditions are medically disability without considering other factors. The Blue Book lists disabilities to all major body systems, from neurological and skin disorders to respiratory problems.

How To Claim Disability 

Disability benefits can be a valuable asset for individuals with disabilities. If your condition is severe enough to keep you from working, disability benefits can ensure a stable monthly cash flow. 

Are you ready to apply for disability benefits? You can apply for disability benefits online or you can call the Social Security office to make an appointment. However, receiving SSDI or SSI benefits you’re entitled to can be achieved more efficiently with a disability advocate at your side. Our advocates can help find your condition in the Blue Book and review eligibility requirements listed within disability categories. If your application is not approved, we’ll go to work to ensure a fast appeal process. 

At Disability Expert of Florida, we have over 100 years of combined experience navigating the Sunshine State’s application process and have helped countless thousands receive the disability benefits they deserve. And we can help you too.

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