Words to Know When Applying for Disability Benefits
If you cannot continue working due to a disabling physical or mental condition, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits.
It is important to know that the Social Security Administration (SSA) has a strict definition of what they consider a disability.
When you begin the application process, you will be asked many questions regarding your disability, day-to-day activities and your work history.
At times, the process of obtaining these benefits can seem complex. The SSA may use language and words that a person applying for the first time may not understand.
It is important to know these terms so you can apply for the right benefits and answer their questions correctly.
It could mean the difference between winning and losing your case.
At Berger and Green, our attorneys understand what the SSA wants and needs to see in a disability application.
We want to help you succeed. Let us walk you through how the SSA defines disability and other common terms you may see when applying for these benefits.
Social Security’ Definition of Disability
The Social Security Administration provides benefits to individuals who are physically or mentally unable to work and are in need of income.
There are two types of benefits available.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provides monthly benefits to disabled individuals who meet low-income requirements.
The Social Security Disability Insurance program (SSD or SSDI) pays monthly benefits to disabled individuals who have worked and paid into the program.
Once you meet the technical requirements for either benefit, you must then meet Social Security’s definition of disability.
Although your doctors may have deemed you disabled that does not mean the government has. The Social Security Administration has a strict definition of disability. Age, education and work history are all contributing factors that Social Security considers when making a decision.
The Social Security Administration defines disability as the “inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.” This means that you cannot do the work you did before, you cannot adjust to new work and your condition is expected to last one year or to result in death.
If you plan to work while applying for or receiving these benefits you may come across the word Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). When someone is working as an employee, Social Security sets limits on how much you can work and how much you can earn.
Individuals attempting to work while receiving or attempting to receive Social Security Disability benefits cannot work full time hours, only part time hours. In addition, an individual cannot earn more than the monthly gross amount set by Social Security each year. The 2022 earning threshold is $1,350.00.
This is because the SSA assumes that working families will have access to other resources if a family member becomes ill and unable to work. This includes short and long-term disability, workers’ compensation, insurance, savings and investments.
Getting Help with Disability Benefits
You may be eligible for these programs, and you should know that you do not have to apply alone. If you would like to continue the conversation with us, please contact Berger and Green for a free evaluation of your Social Security Disability claim.
At Berger and Green, we use our extensive experience to represent people at all stages of the Social Security Disability process. Whether you need to file an application, an appeal or need representation at a hearing, we offer knowledgeable and effective guidance.