Understanding How SSD Works

Social Security Disability (SSD) assistance is part of a federal program designed to help people with disabilities. People with physical and/or mental disabilities that prevent them from working can qualify for benefits. To receive SSD benefits, at some point in time, you must have worked at a job where Social Security taxes were taken from your paycheck. In addition, you must meet the federal government’s definition of what it means to be disabled.

Listed below are questions we are frequently asked concerning SSD benefits.

How Does The Government Define A Disability?

A disability can be a single condition or injury or a combination of injuries and/or conditions. To qualify for benefits, a disability must meet three criteria:

  • The disability prevents you from doing the work you were doing before.
  • The disability prevents you from taking on other types of work you are qualified for.
  • The disability has affected you for at least one year, is expected to affect you for at least one year or will cause your death.

The government is strict in how it interprets these criteria. Its evaluation is focused on your ability to work, not on your injury or condition.

Can Mental Conditions Qualify As Disabilities?

Yes. If a mental condition, on its own or combined with physical conditions, meet the three criteria outlined above, it is considered a disability.

Is There An Age Requirement?

No. The Social Security Administration does not have an age requirement to receive disability benefits. Children can qualify for benefits if they have a physical or mental condition that is considered severe and meets the time criteria listed in the qualifications above.

Can Claimant Family Members Get Benefits?

Yes. Children under the age of 18 (and kids in high school full time under the age of 19) and spouses who are 62 or older can qualify for benefits.

How Is The Amount Of My Benefit Calculated? 

The amount of your benefit check is based on several factors, including how recently you have worked, your age and how much you contributed to Social Security during your working years.

What If My Claim Is Denied? 

The Social Security Administration denies a large percentage of first-time disability applications. The review process is strict and handled by the Disability Determination Services (DDS) agency. If your application has even one error, it can be grounds for denial.

If your application was denied, we can review the materials you submitted, correct any errors that we find and help you file a request for reconsideration. If your request for reconsideration is denied, we can help you request a hearing in front of an administrative law judge and prepare you for that hearing.

Is SSD The Same As SSI (Supplemental Security Income)? 

No. SSD benefits are based on injuries or conditions. SSI benefits are based on financial need. SSI benefits are determined based on income and living arrangements, among other things. When you meet with us, we can advise you on which option makes the most sense for you.

If I Try To Go Back To Work, Will My SSD Benefits Be Discontinued? 

It depends on whether you notify Social Security and how successful you are. Social Security has a program for work trial periods that allows you to test your ability to work while continuing to receive benefits. There is a monthly income level that you must reach nine times over the course of a rolling 60-month period before benefits are automatically discontinued. However, returning to work and failing to notify Social Security could result in losing your benefits.

Contact The SSD Lawyers At Vaughn & Clements, P.C.

If you have more questions about SSD benefits, call Vaughn & Clements, P.C. at 706-383-7581 or contact us online to set up a consultation.