Social Security Disability – The Basics

Social Security Disability is a program designed to protect Americans who have become disabled before they are old enough to qualify for Social Security Retirement. Today, only 1 out of every 3 private sector workers have disability insurance provided by their employers. Yet, disability can happen to any American, at any time. All it takes is one accident or one medical diagnosis, and even the healthiest individual can find themselves unable to work. Today, Social Security Disability provides a modest source of income to more than 8 million Americans who have become disabled.

Increasing Standards

But to qualify, the standards have become increasingly rigid and for those applying anytime from March 2017 or later, new procedures apply to how evidence is evaluated which will make qualifying for these important benefits even more difficult than in the past. Of course, in order to qualify, a worker must have paid into the system long enough to qualify, in addition to being disabled. The average individual across the United States receives $1,171 per month; for a family, an average of $1,851 per month. These figures generally represent half or less of what pre-disability earnings. The growth in those qualifying for Social Security Disability has begun to level off somewhat, as I addressed in a previous post. But it is interesting to note that people are twice as likely to become disabled at age 50, as to when they were age 40; and twice as likely to become disabled at age 60, as compared to when they were age 50.

Qualifying Requirments

To qualify for Social Security Disability, one must have what Social Security defines as a severe impairment. A severe impairment is generally regarded as one which inhibits the person’s ability to function. One must also be unable to perform any past relevant work or any other work for which the person is qualified, regardless of whether such jobs exist in that person’s local economy. Finally, one must have the disabling condition(s) for at least 12 consecutive months or have a condition which is likely to persist for at least 12 consecutive months.

All information above is based on the research by the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives.