Social Security Disability Law
Corporate & Commercial Law

Understanding Social Security Disability Law

Social Security disability law is an aspect of the law that provides aid to individuals with disabilities. The law provides certain gains such as payment of insurance benefits to both the disabled person and their family provided that the individual have paid a reasonable sum in social security through work or employment. Supplemental security income is made available to beneficiaries based on financial needs.

Social Security disability law is made up of rules upon which who qualifies and how much money a qualified person will receive for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are decided or determined.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are Federal Programs. State and Local laws do not apply to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Social Security Disability Law

The Social Security Act regulates the administration of Social Security Disability as it appears in Title 42 of the United States Code. Rules, published regulations and rulings of the Social Security Administration (SSA) also guide the practice and procedures of Social Security Disability.

SSDI benefits are accruable to adults who become disabled, incapacitated and unable to work for at least one year. SSDI benefits are only available to individuals who paid sufficient amount into the system (through payroll taxes), and have not yet reached retirement age.

Dependents of individuals receiving SSDI may qualify for benefits under the SSDI. On the other hand, SSI serves a different purpose. It is designed for disabled persons with little or no income, irrespective of whether or not they have paid anything amount of money into the system. 

Requirements for Disability Benefits Under the Social Security Disability Law

SSDI and SSI specific eligibility requirements for.

  • SSDI: number of “work credits” the applicant has accrued preceding to becoming disabled. Work credits are founded on the applicant’s earnings. Work credit is awarded to an applicant each time a certain amount of wages or self-employment income is earned (in 2013, one work credit earns the sum of $1,160 of earnings). An individual can earn a maximum of four work credits within one calendar year.
  • SSDI: applicants must have a total of 40 credits, and 20 credits out of these must have been earned in the 10-year period leading up to the application date.
  • An applicant must be disabled to receive SSDI. SSA deems a people to be disabled if they are unable to work in their field or transform to another field of employment as a result of a severe medical impairment.

Social Security Disability Law

  • A single impairment or a combination of same qualifies an applicant for SSDI provided the inability to work is absolute, and long-term.
  • SSI eligibility is based on income level, and not work credits. An applicant for SSI must have an income level below a certain amount determined as the federal benefit rate, or “FBR” (as of 2013, the FBR is $710 per month).

    How to File a Claim Under the Social Security Disability Law

  • A claim for Social Security Disability may be commenced online, by phone, or in-person at the closest Social Security Office. An application must disclose the applicant’s personal information, medical condition and work history.

Additional details that may be required from applicants are a description of their doctors and other care providers, medications, lab results, previous jobs, and request copies of the applicant’s W-2s and tax returns.

Appealing an Unfavorable Decision

In practice only 30% of initial claims for disability benefits are approved by SSA. Applicants, who persevere, may have the odds improve significantly in his/her favor. There are multiple stages of administrative review available for applicants who are denied benefits who seek to appeal the decision.

Applicants are permitted to submit additional medical records, to strengthen their case and give SSA a basis to reverse its decision.

  • The administrative review starts with a first level called”reconsideration.” A fairly small number of cases are won at this level, and in some States the reconsideration stage has been done away with altogether.
  • Following the reconsideration stage, where the review is unsuccessful. The case will be referred to an administrative law judge (ALJ) who will hold a short, informal hearing during which the applicant can present testimony and other evidence. Hearings are not adversarial in nature, although a vocational expert may appear on behalf of the SSA.  About 60% of previously denied claims are granted by the ALJ..
  • The next stage is to file the case to the Appeals Council. Applicants do not appear in front of the Appeals Council. Rather, this is a final review of the file by members of the SSA. The applicant may further file an appeal in federal court if a claim is still not granted.

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