SSDI Disability Benefits
The Social Security Administration has two disability programs: the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. If you have become disabled and unable to work you may qualify to receive disability benefits through one of these programs.
What are SSDI Benefits
SSDI is for individuals who have become disabled and who are no longer able to work, but they have worked and paid FICA taxes for a qualifying number of quarters to be considered "insured". The SSDI benefit amount will not be the same for everyone but will be calculated based on an individual's work history.
SSDI monthly benefit payments can not begin until you have been disabled for five full months. Disability benefits are not awarded for the 5 month waiting period. If your Social Security Disability Insurance application is approved, the Social Security Administration will send you written notification telling you the amount of the disability benefit you will receive and the date the Social Security Disability benefits will begin.
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SSDI Back Payment
Many people stop working, but do not apply for SSDI benefits immediately. If you become disabled and you are not able to work more than six months before you applied for Social Security Disability Insurance, the Social Security Administration will give you pay or "back benefits". Back pay benefits will only be retroactive up to twelve months.
Even if you apply immediately after you become disabled, it is very likely you will have back because of the lengthy time it takes for the Social Security Administration to process Social Security Disability applications.
If you decide to hire a Social Security Disability Attorney, compensation for their legal fees will be taken from the back pay benefit. SSDI Attorneys are lawfully allowed to charge 25% of back pay with a maximum limit of $6,000 (limit updated periodically).
Calculating the SSDI benefit
The Social Security Administration calculates your Social Security Disability Insurance benefit by using a formula which uses your earnings record and your age. The SSDI benefit's calculation uses your average earnings for all the years you have worked and not just your most recent work history.
SSDI benefits are given solely based on your earnings record, not on the calculated cost for food, rent or any other housing expenses. There is not a minimum Social Security Disability benefit. The Social Security Administration does have another disability benefit program called Supplemental Security Income and if your Social Security Disability Insurance payment is small enough, and you meet other income and resource requirements, you may be able to qualify for additional SSI disability benefits.
Processing my SSDI Application
Unfortunately, it takes three to six months for the Social Security Administration Office to review your SSDI application and make a determination for disability benefits. If your Social Security Disability Benefits application is denied, it could take many more months to file your appeal.
Due to the lengthy wait to receive disability benefits, it is important to file your SSDI application as soon as your become disabled and are unable to work.
SSDI Payment Schedule and Methods
The Social Security Administration will make SSDI benefit payments for each month on the third day of the following month. For example, disability benefits due for the month of March are paid on April 3. The SSA recommends setting up a direct deposit checking or savings account to expedite the payment of your SSDI disability benefit.
The Treasury Department mails all SSDI benefit checks. To report a lost, stolen, or misplaced check you will need to call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 and provide your personal information, your name as it appears on the check and your Social Security number.
If you are awarded Social Security Disability Insurance you will not receive Medicaid (unless you meet Medicaid qualifications), but will be eligible for Medicare after you have collected SSDI benefits for twenty-four months. The Social Security Administration will provide information to you for Medicare benefits approximately three months before your eligibility date. Medicare will start on the twenty-fifth month of SSDI benefit coverage.
Other benefits may be available such as food stamps or Medicaid, but you must submit a separate application to see you qualify for each benefit.
Cost of Hiring an SSDI Attorney
Social Security Disability laws allow a SSDI Attorney to charge up to 25% of the total amount of back pay an individual receives for SSDI with a maximum limit of $6,000 (amount periodically revised). The Social Security Disability Attorney is only paid if they win your SSDI claim.
Certain Social Security Attorneys may charge additional fees to gather information or evidence from doctors, hospitals or medical clinics. All additional charges should be discussed with your disability lawyer prior to signing a contract. Some disability attorneys will absorb the cost to gather medical records.
The Social Security Administration generally pays the disability attorney their fee (from the back pay) prior to sending the claimant their SSDI benefit payment.
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