5 Social Security Disability Facts
October 26th, 2017 by Attorney John Colvin
If you don’t fully understand Social Security Disability, you’re not alone – it can be a complicated topic. Attempting to read about every aspect of SSD would be a daunting challenge to say the least, and no one should have to go such lengths to learn about SSD. So, in an effort to shed some light on the mysterious world of SSD, we’ve prepared this list of five facts:
1. About 1 in 4 people may need SSD benefits at some point.
According to the Social Security Administration, people who are age 20 today have a 1-in-4 chance of having a disability before age 67. The likelihood of a disability also depends on occupation. For example, construction workers have a high rate of musculoskeletal disabilities and disabilities resulting from on-the-job accidents.
2. SSD is not ‘welfare.’
Some people wrongly refer to SSD as “welfare,” a broad term that describes some social assistance programs. But true welfare programs are for people whose income is below the federal poverty level. Any worker who meets SSA requirements may apply for disability benefits, regardless of their income. (Supplemental Security Income – SSI – is the SSA’s assistance program for people with low or no income).
3. SSD benefits cover more than workers.
You may already know that to be eligible for SSD benefits, you must have worked enough to accumulate a sufficient number of “work credits.” But family members of a person who is receiving SSD benefits can also receive benefits, even if they don’t have enough (or any) work credits.
Family members who can apply are:
- A spouse
- Former spouse
- Disabled child
- Adult child disabled before age 22.
Each family member may receive up to 50 percent of the total disability rate, up to a maximum of 180 percent of the total disability rate. So, for example, if a person is receiving $1,000 a month in SSD payments, family members could also receive benefits, but not in excess of $800 per month. A spouse who is at least 60 can receive survivor’s benefits if the spouse receiving SSD passes away.
4. If you are collecting SSD, those benefits won’t be reduced when you reach legal retirement age.
The SSA considers 66 to be the age of full retirement. People who are not receiving disability benefits may apply for Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62, although they won’t be eligible to collect their full retirement benefit until age 66. If you are receiving SSD benefits when you turn 66, the SSA automatically switches you to retirement benefits. However, electing to draw SSD benefits instead of early Social Security retirement benefits normally results in greater benefits being paid over the long term to the beneficiary and does not reduce your benefit amount.
5. Regardless of the severity of a disability, there’s always a five-month waiting period.
The SSA offers a compassionate allowances program (CAL) in which people with certain severe disabilities may have their application processed immediately. But while the application may be processed right away, that doesn’t mean people will receive benefits immediately. The SSA won’t issue a payment until five full months from the date the disability began.
Social Security Disability Attorney John R. Colvin has been helping people apply for and obtain SSD for more than two decades. For advice on how to proceed next or if you have any questions about this topic, call 1-931-962-1044 or submit our online form. Put his bold approach and client focus to work for you.