Under the Social Security Act, all claimants are entitled to receive benefits provided they qualify or they are eligible to receive it.
Generally, a qualified claimant may receive any of the following Social Security claims or benefits, depending on his needs and condition:
- Disability benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program;
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI);
- Widow/Widower’s benefits; or
- Retirement benefits.
Disability benefits are also known Title II benefits. They are given to individuals who are unable to work at a “substantial” gainful level because of their disabling conditions that are expected to last for at least 12 months.
For the Social Security to consider a person eligible for disability benefits, he or she must earn not more than $1,010.00 per month. To be eligible for this benefit, a claimant must have worked long enough and paid enough to Social Security through their FICA taxes to be “insured.”
As a general rule, if a claimant worked at least five of the last 10 years, he or she would be “insured” to receive disability benefits. If found disabled, the amount of disability benefits the person may receive each month is based on how much he or she has contributed during his or her period of employment.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is also known as Title XVI benefits. It is a “needs-based” program in which individuals with little or no resources or assets may receive disability benefits. The medical criteria for SSI eligibility are the same as that used for SSDI – a physical or mental impairment which prevents a person from working at a “substantial” gainful level.
A person who files an SSI claim would receive a federal maximum amount of $647.00 from the Social Security Administration (SSA), with an additional supplemental amount from the state. The state’s supplement depends on which state the person lives in, as well as on his or her financial situation.
A disabled widow or widower aged 50 or older may be able to receive benefits off his/her spouse’s (or former spouses’) Social Security record. To make a claim for this benefit, a claimant must provide proof of relationship such as marriage certificate or divorce decree, along with the spouse’s death certificate when the claimant files for benefits.
A claimant who files widows/widower’s benefits and either SSDI or SSI may receive only the higher monthly benefit amount of the two programs.
To qualify for retirement benefits with Social Security, the person must have earned 40 work credits, or must have already worked for at least 10 years. The amount of the monthly payment is based on the career average earnings covered by Social Security at the age of retirement.
Also, full retirement age comes a few years later than age 62. There are two choices on when to receive benefits. If a qualified retiree chooses to receive retirement benefits before the full retirement age, he or she will receive a reduced benefit amount per month. However, if he or she chooses to obtain benefits later than the full retirement age, he or she will receive an increased benefit amount.
Please note that the full retirement age depends on your date of birth. You may consult the SSA’s website for this matter.
Seeking legal help
Filing SSA claims for disability or other benefits may be accomplished by any claimant. However, once denied in the initial stage, pursuing it through the different levels of appeals may require the skills and knowledge of an experienced Social Security lawyer.
Our Los Angeles Social Security disability lawyer is knowledgeable with the processes involved in every stage of the application and appeals processes.
With more than 15 years of experience in expertly handling claims, we have successfully represented clients and provided them SSA benefits that they very much deserve.
Contact us at (866) 998-2545 if you have any concerns or inquiries with regards any of the SSA claims.
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