Social Security Disability in a Nutshell
When most people think of Social Security they think of retirement benefits. Full retirement age is currently 66 years of age, but will be advancing in the coming years. Early retirement benefits can be obtained as soon as age 62, however, there is 20% reduction for drawing benefits that early and the reduced amount lasts for life, regardless of how long one lives. So other than the yearly cost of living increase recipients of early Social Security benefits don’t see an increase in their benefits when they reach full retirement age.
Many people are not aware that Social Security has other programs, as well. Disabled persons can draw Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), if they are disabled within Social Security’s rules. These rules cover financial and earnings situations as well as disability status.
To draw DIB benefits a disabled individual must have paid into the Social Security system through payroll taxes in 20 of the 40 quarters of the 10 years prior to becoming disabled. There are no other financial requirements. Assets, other income and spousal assets or income are not considered.
SSI is a welfare program in addition to being a disability program. Recipients cannot have more than $2,000 in non-exempt assets, nor other significant income. Exempt assets included the basics: a home, a car, clothing and furniture. Significant spousal income can disqualify a disabled person.
Once the non-disability requirements are met Social Security evaluates the Claimant’s medical status. Certain illnesses and injuries qualify for automatic payment under what is called the Listing of Impairments. If the disability does meet or equal a listed impairment, an analysis is performed of the Claimant’s functional status, as well as their age, education and work experience.
Up until 50 years of age a person must be disabled from all jobs, regardless of age, education and work experience. It gets easier to qualify for DIB or SSI once a Claimant reaches 50, and easier still at age 55 and age 60.
There are also special requirements for disabled widows over the age of 50.
Attorney fees are contingent on winning your claim, whether DIB or SSI, and the fee is limited to 25% or $6,000, whichever is less.
If you think you qualify for any of these benefits do not hesitate to call William Crawforth for a free phone consultation.
If you have questions about our Michigan Social Security Disability Attorney and Lawyer Services call us Toll-Free 1-800-864-1244, local (734) 622-0143 or click here to contact us.