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Be Prepared: What You Need To Know About Retirement Disability

Date : Mar 25,2014
By : Anita Ginsburg

While there are many things you need to do to prepare for retirement, understanding retirement disability is especially important. Luckily, there are numerous government disability programs that can help provide the income you need. However, the Social Security Administration (SSA) can cause unnecessary delays or rejections on your application. With the help of professionals, you can get the money you deserve for your disability. Its important, however, to be prepared for the battle ahead. Here is what you need to know about retirement disability:

SSDI vs. SSI

The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers two types of disability income, Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSDI is a program for people who became disabled and who have a certain amount of working years behind them. SSDI is typically awarded by the SSA to a person because of their age and how long they have worked before they claim they became disabled. SSI is an income system the SSA pays through the person’s state government. In California, SSI is awarded when a person is legally blind or if a person cannot work a $500 or more a week job for a 12-month year and/or the physical exertion of work could result in the person’s death. In addition, the person cannot have economic resources, like monthly cash from limited work, property or finances, like stocks and bonds, that equal $2,000 for a person or $3,000 for a couple. A person can receive SSI and have an income from some level of employment as long as the monthly income does not equal the maximum monthly amount of SSI. All SSI claims must have medical documentation.

The SSA and Courts Have a Lot of Leeway

The sad part of SSDI or SSI is that although there are eligibility requirements, SSA or the state government for SSI may review a claim and rule against a person. This is due to the leeway given by these agencies to distribute disability income. The SSA employs doctors who follow federal guidelines of what is a disability, which can leave many people with medically legitimate disabilities fall through the cracks due to bureaucratic decisions and viewpoints. The same goes for the courts that review claims when a person brings the SSA or state government to trial.

SSA will often Say The Person Can Work

In what might feel like an insulting claim, the SSA or a SSA judge can rule that the person claiming a disability can still work. If a person is young, has high educational attainment and transferable skills, the SSA might claim that the person can work by doing something different. Even if the SSA or SSA judges admit the person cannot perform their old job, the SSA and the judges can rule the person can work something as long as the job equals more than $1,070 a month (the federal limit per month for non-SSDI or SSI earnings). This can be quite insulting, especially if the person has a legitimate disability, but the agency or judge thinks the person can do something else. If the person knows they cannot work, but the SSA thinks they can, they need to contact the attorneys that can help them through the legal process to get them the benefits they deserve.

Mental Disabilities Are Very Hard to Claim

As previously mentioned, the SSA often decides eligibility based on medical conditions the SSA decides are debilitating conditions. Some mental conditions can be clear cut, such as Alzheimer’s. However, other conditions may be very subjective and the anguish a person might be going through could be seen as lacking credible evidence.

Those with living with disabilities should work with professionals who are knowledgeable about the legal system and can help you apply and receive the benefits you need.

Informational credit to the Long Beach Law Office of Judith Leland.

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