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SSDI - Condition has gotten worse. Can I get more money?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is awarded to workers who have a mental or physical disabling health condition which does not allow them to perform substantial gainful activity for at least 12 continuous month. SSDI benefits may also be paid to the widow, widowers and children of insured and disabled workers.

To qualify for SSDI workers must have paid enough in payroll taxes and earned enough work credits to be considered insured. The number of credits a worker will need will vary based on the age of the claimant when they became disabled, but generally workers will need 20-40 work credits to qualify.

How does the SSA award SSDI benefits?

The Social Security Administration does not pay partial disability benefits. If the SSA has determined you are disabled they have decided you are 100% disabled, and they have awarded you the maximum amount of SSDI you are entitled to receive.

Many claimants want to know, “What if my condition gets worse? Can I get more Social Security Disability Insurance?” The answer is no. As mentioned above, if you are disabled, according to the SSA, you are 100% disabled.

This method of determining disability can be confusing to applicants, especially those claimants who have dealt with the Veteran’s Administration or workers compensation. These programs frequently allow doctors to assign disability ratings for injuries and pay compensation (including partial benefits) according to these ratings.

Denied for SSDI benefits

The criteria to determine disability is the same for SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and SSDI, so if the SSA decides you do not have enough work credits for SSDI, they will then evaluate your claim to see if you qualify for SSI benefits. If your income and resources are low enough and you are determined disabled you will be awarded SSI.

But what if you were denied for SSDI because the SSA determined your injuries were not 100% disabling and you were able to perform work? In this case you would also not be entitled to receive SSI either because the SSA determines disability the same for both programs.  If, however, you became more disabled than it would make sense to reapply and see if you can convince the SSA that you no longer have the capacity to work and might now qualify for SSDI benefits.

Calculating my SSDI payment Amount

There are two common questions related to a claimant’s SSDI payment amount: how is it calculated and is it possible to get more money.

SSDI benefits are calculated based on the claimant’s average earnings and their payroll tax contribution to Social Security. Claimants who have the highest average earnings will have contributed the most into the system and can expect to receive the highest SSDI payout.

Many claimants complain that their SSDI payments are too low or they are not as high as someone else they know. As mentioned above, if your average earnings were less than another worker, you would have paid less into the system and you will not receive as much SSDI as other workers.

Determining the amount of your SSDI payment is done utilizing a fairly complicated calculation, and issues should be discussed directly with the SSA at SSA at 1-800-772-1213. If you have questions about the amount you are eligible to receive through Social Security Disability Insurance you can either review your Statement of Earnings which is sent to you each year from the SSA.
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