Social Security Disability Insurance
Disability under Social Security is based upon a person's inability to work because of a medical condition. People are considered disabled by Social Security if they are unable to do any kind of "substantial" work because of a medical condition. (Usually, monthly earnings of $980, effective 1-1-09 or more are considered substantial). The inability to work must be expected to last at least one year, or the condition must be so severe that the person is not expected to live. The impairment may be mental or physical.
For children, disability is determined on how the condition affects their ability to function and behave in ways that other children of the same age normally would.
People who are eligible for disability benefits include the following:
Widows and widowers with disabilities age 50 or older who are eligible for benefits on the record of a spouse.
People with disabilities who have low income and few assets who might be eligible for SSI benefits.
Disabled children over age 18 who might be eligible for social security benefits on the record of a parent or disabled children at any age who might be eligible for SSI benefits on their own.
If a beneficiary is unable to handle his or her own financial affairs, SSA may, after a careful investigation, appoint a relative, friend, or other interested party as a "representative payee." Representative Payees must file periodic accounting reports with SSA to show how the beneficiary's funds were spent or saved.
Disability benefits continue to be paid unless the recipient's condition improves or s/he returns to "substantial" work. SSA periodically checks claims to determine continued eligibility and may require recipients to undergo tests or examinations. There are special rules that affect people who would like to return to work but are concerned about the effect this might have on their disability benefits.
Recipients must report to SSA the following changes in circumstance which may affect their continued receipt of benefits:
changes of residence or mailing address
change in marital status
change of name
change in income or earnings
if a child is born or adopted
if a beneficiary is imprisoned
if they leave the United States
if a beneficiary dies
FAMILY BENEFITS Other family members may also be eligible for disability payments when one member of the family begins collecting a benefit. Benefits are usually paid at a reduced percentage of the beneficiary's payment; other rules and limits apply. Benefits can be paid to:
a spouse if he or she is age 62 or older (unless he or she collects a higher Social Security benefit on his or her own record)
a spouse of any age who is caring for the applicant's child if the child is age 16 or younger or has a disability
children if they are unmarried and age 18 or younger, or age 19 or younger but a full-time student in elementary or secondary school; or age 18 or older and severely disabled (the disability must have started before age 22).
People have the right to appeal a decision that affects their eligibility for Social Security benefits. There are three steps in the appeals process available with SSA. Beyond that, people may take their case to a Federal court.
Ticket to Work Program The Ticket To Work Program is a voluntary work incentive program for SSI beneficiaries, administered for the Social Security Administration by Maximus. The program provides free training, job referrals and other job related services for beneficiaries who are interested in working. APPLICATION PROCEDURE To file a claim for Social Security disability benefits, people may walk in to any SSA office, or they may file online at www.ssa.gov. People may call the teleservice center to make an appointment as well. Applicants should file a claim as soon as they become eligible; benefits are not payable until a full six months have passed from the time the claim is filed.
Applicants may need to present the following documents when they file a claim:
Social Security card (or a record of their social security number);
children's birth certificates (if they are applying);
marriage certificate (if signing up on a spouse's record);
most recent W-2 or, if self-employed, tax return;
check or other papers with bank account number if they wish direct deposit of their check;
names, addresses, and phone numbers of doctor(s), hospitals, etc., that have provided treatment;
a summary of where s/he worked in the last 15 years and the kind of work s/he did. FEES/PAYMENT SOURCE There are no fees for service.
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Thousand Oaks , CA 91360 (Physical)Get directions
(888) 397-4807 (General Information) (800) 772-1213 (National Toll Free Number) (800) 325-0778