Social Security Disability (SSD) is just as important to providing a social safety net as Social Security retirement income, yet many people are not as familiar with the disability program, what it does, or how it works. The Motley Fool recently published an article about five key facts to know when it comes to Social Security Disability.
Facts to Know About Social Security Disability
Some of the key facts to know about SSD include:
- The work credit requirement. There are two calculations: the SSD makes sure you have worked recently and that you have worked long enough over the course of your life to qualify for benefits. The specifics of when and how long you must have worked depend upon your age when you become disabled.
- Only people with a severe disability can qualify. More than half of applicants are denied initially, and getting help from a Social Security disability lawyer is usually important to being able to secure benefits.
- Your condition must be listed. The Social Security Administration has a list of qualifying conditions and you must have a listed condition. If you do not, you will need to prove medical equivalency or show your health issues are equally serious. This can be challenging.
- You must not be able to do work you did before. The SSA considers how you respond to physical exertion, whether you can tolerate different environmental conditions, and your ability to carry out instructions.
- You must not be able to do other kinds of work either. If you could do a different but related job, you will have a harder time getting benefits. The closer you are to retirement age, the less likely the SSA will be to require you to adjust to a new career.
Everyone needs to be aware of how the SSD benefits programs works because there is a significant chance of disability over the course of a working life. For a 20-year-old worker today, there is a one-in-four chance, or a 25 percent chance, of becoming disabled before reaching normal retirement age.
Today, more than 37 million Americans are classified as disabled, which means approximately 12 percent of the total population has a disability. Many who are disabled struggle financially, as a U.S. Census Bureau survey of disabled Americans found the median monthly earnings for a disabled adult age 21 to 64 was just $1,961 compared with $2,724 for people not classified as disabled. Most people do not have disability income, but rely on SSD- which is at risk of a benefits cut at the end of 2016.
Many people underestimate the possible risks of disability, with 64 percent of wage earners believing there is a two percent chance, or less, of disability over the course of their careers. Knowing the true facts is important as every worker should be fighting to protect the disability benefits program and ensure it is there for those who need it.