Disability Benefits Definition

Disability benefits are monthly payments that disabled recipients draw when an injury or illness prevents them from working and earning a living. These benefits are sometimes recipients’ only option for income. They are a great boon to many families, allowing them to make ends meet if one or both parents cannot work. Disability benefits may be private including short- or long-term options or full or partial disability through workers’ compensation, but most commonly refer to government benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

What Is Short-Term Disability?

Short-term and long-term disability is usually a private insurance policy. In some cases, your employer may provide this type of insurance. In others, you may pay for the policy on your own. Like most states, there is no state-funded short-term disability in Pennsylvania. These benefits typically pay a fraction of your income for a limited period of time if you suffer from an injury or illness that prevents you from working.

Another type of short- or long-term benefit stems from workers’ compensation insurance. The workers’ comp policy from your employer may pay out for a disability or if your injury or illness occurred because of an incident at work.

What Is Social Security Disability?

Most states do not offer any type of short-term or long-term or partial disability program through public channels. The SSA offers the only government-run disability benefits available to most residents in Pennsylvania through its Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. These programs are collectively known as Social Security Disability (SSD).

Both of these programs require you to be totally disabled and meet the SSA’s definition of disability. To meet his definition, we must show:

  • You have a medical condition;
  • You are unable to work; and
  • Your condition will last at least 12 months—or result in death.

You must meet strict impairment listing criteria specific to your condition or you must be able to present medical evidence that clearly documents your inability to work. There are also other criteria you must meet to draw these monthly benefits.

What Is the Difference Between SSDI and SSI?

SSDI is a program for workers with a total disability who cannot work or earn less than the SSA’s substantial gainful activity limit. For 2017, this limit is $1,170 per month for most people with disabilities. To qualify for SSDI, you also need to meet specific work history requirements. We can help you understand if you meet the criteria.

SSI is a need-based benefit. This means you must meet strict income and resource limits, in addition to being medically eligible. If you worked before suffering your disability, you may also qualify for SSDI.

Berger and Green Can Help You Get the Disability Benefits You Deserve.

At Berger and Green, our Pittsburgh disability benefits lawyers can ensure you understand the criteria necessary to qualify, help you file your claim, and get all the disability benefits you deserve. We can also help you navigate the appeals process if the SSA denied your initial application for benefits. Call our office today at 412-661-1400 to schedule a complimentary consultation.