Social Security benefits are most often used to help retirees cover their expenses. But the Social Security Administration (SSA) also offers disability benefits to those who meet certain strict requirements.
In this context, a disabled person is someone who is medically unable to work for at least one year or who has been diagnosed with a medical condition that will result in death. To be eligible for disability benefits, you must have worked for a specified period before being declared disabled. A medical provider will also need to certify that your disability exists.
Let’s review some of the most frequently asked questions about Social Security disability benefits.
What is the maximum Social Security disability benefit?
In 2022, the maximum Social Security disability benefit you can receive is $3,345 per month, up from $3,148 per month in 2021. This is the same amount as the maximum amount available to those receiving social security retirement benefits at full retirement age.
Realistically, most people approved for disability claims receive monthly payments in the range of $1,000 to $1,500. Although it is possible to receive more, you must have a relatively high income before becoming disabled, as you would have contributed more to the system to begin with.
Remember that the social security system works much like an insurance company: you pay into the system through payroll taxes during your working career. Then you get benefits at a later date, either when you retire or become disabled.
What conditions are considered disabilities?
Many medical conditions are considered disabilities in that they prevent you from performing work-related tasks effectively and are expected to remain severe for the foreseeable future.
In other words, the SSA considers you disabled if your medical condition “significantly limits” your ability to perform work-related activities, such as lifting, standing, walking, sitting, or remembering.
Medical impairments that could be considered disabling include:
- Musculoskeletal problems
- Sensory and speech disorders
- Respiratory disorders
- Digestive disorders
- Genitourinary disorders
- Hematological disorders
- Dermatological problems
- Endocrine disorders
- Congenital disorders affecting multiple body systems
- Neurological disorders
- mental disorders
- Immune system disorders
While there are many different medical conditions that could be considered disabling from an SSA perspective, your impairment will need to impact your ability to work productively – and last for a period of time – for your claim to be successful. taken into account.
Are there other benefits associated with Social Security Disability?
The main added benefit that comes with a Social Security-approved disability claim is that you are automatically eligible for health care coverage through Medicare after 24 months. Normally, you won’t be eligible for Medicare until your 65th birthday, but those who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are exempt from this requirement. If you became disabled long before your SSDI application was approved, you may be eligible to receive retroactive credit for the 24-month waiting period for Medicare eligibility.
The SSA will conduct periodic reviews to ensure that your disability is ongoing and that all coverage and benefit payments are legitimate. Your Medicare coverage will end if you are able to return to work in the future, but the SSA offers several employment resources called work incentives for those who have recovered from their condition or are able to work under certain circumstances. .
Can we work in case of disability?
The SSA has specific rules regarding your ability to work while disabled, although it should be noted that people on SSDI are initially approved because they are truly unable to work for various reasons.
Since many (if not most) people with disabilities would rather work than receive benefits, the SSA will grant a nine-month work trial period to determine if your earnings are substantial. A “trial work month” is a month where earnings exceed $970, and the trial work period continues until you have nine months of trial work accumulated over a 60-month period .
After your probationary period, your benefits will stop if Social Security considers your income substantial. In 2022, Social Security considers your income substantial if you earn more than $1,350 per month (or $2,260 if you are blind) in the next 36 months. At this level of income, you are considered able enough to work and will no longer receive cash payments. This is sometimes referred to as “substantial gainful employment” or SGA.
Remember that if you decide to return to work – or if your condition has improved – you should alert the SSA. Although you can earn minimal income while receiving SSDI payments, earning more than the $970 monthly threshold will result in a closer look at your situation.
Are Social Security disability benefits taxable?
Social Security Disability Benefits may be taxable. The rules are the same as for standard Social Security retirement benefits. The answer depends on your provisional (or “combined”) income, which is calculated as follows:
Provisional Income = Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) + Tax Free Interest + Half SSDI Benefits
If you are single and your provisional income is less than $25,000, you will not pay any tax on your SSDI benefits. If your provisional income is between $25,000 and $34,000, you will pay taxes on half (50%) of your benefits. And, if your provisional income is over $34,000, you’ll pay taxes on up to 85% of your benefits.
If you file a joint return and your interim income is less than $32,000, you will pay no tax on your SSDI benefits. If your provisional income is between $32,000 and $44,000, you will pay taxes on half (50%) of your benefits. And, if your interim income is over $44,000, you’ll pay taxes on up to 85% of your benefits.
Although the SSA does not facilitate this calculation for anyone, it is important to know where you stand when it comes to paying taxes after receiving disability income.
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Social Security disability benefits play a key role
Social Security disability benefits are a core part of SSA’s operational business and provide a vital financial foundation for those unable to work. Having a disability can be both financially and emotionally draining, so it is imperative that a safety net exists to support those who cannot earn a living on their own.
If you live with a disability, consult a medical professional to determine if your situation makes SSDI payments necessary. Feel free to ask questions if you are unsure.
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