Social Security Disability
Various benefits under the Federal Social Security system are available in the event that someone is unable to work due to a disability.Social Security Disability (SSD)
If someone has an injury or illness that renders them unable to work, they may be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits (SSD, or SSDI). Unlike Workers’ Compensation benefits, where the injury must arise out of and in the course of employment, to qualify for SSD benefits, the disability can result from both work-related and non-work-related injuries or illnesses.
For SSD, a disability can result from an almost limitless range of circumstances. Some common examples of the clients we represent become disabled in the following circumstances:
- A physical injury, such as a herniated disc, or a broken leg.
- A degenerative condition that occurs over time, such as arthritis.
- An illness, such as Hepatitis C, or Crohn’s disesase.
- A mental condition, such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD.
In short, just about any injury or illness that renders an individual totally disabled from working could give rise to a Social Security Disability claim.
In order to qualify, however, one must also have sufficient quarters of work where they paid into the Social Security system. The general rule is that the individual applying must have 40 quarters, or 10 years of coverage to qualify. There are other coverage requirements that are explained in further detail on our FAQ page.
SSD benefits are offset if that person is also collecting Workers’ Comp benefits. There are scenarios, however, where you are allowed to collect both, in full. Further, often times, settling your Workers’ Compensation case with proper wording of the settlement documents, will result in the partial or total elimination of any offset, and allow you to collect SSD at your full rate (PIA).
To those who have been approved for and are receiving Social Security Disability benefits, it is important to note that you do have an “earnings allowance.” This means you can go out and earn a certain amount of money without it effecting your right to continue to receive SSD. The monthly earnings allowance changes almost every year. As of 2016, that monthly rate is $1,130 per month. Thus, you can earn up to $1,130 per month, and it will not affect your right to continued SSD benefits. If you do, however, exceed this amount, Social Security may view this as “Substantial Gainful Activity” or SGA. And this could result in your benefit being shut off. To be safe, it is wise to keep any earnings under $1,130 per month.
Visit the Social Security website to see updated SGA figures and rules pertaining to SGA and trial work periods to ensure that you are not exceeding the limit.
At Troupe Law Office, we are experts in handling cases involving both Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability benefits.Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Supplemental Security Income is another benefit under the Social Security Act that provides benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited resources. As is the same under SSD, the individual claimant must be totally disabled from all gainful employment in order to potentially qualify.
Under SSI, however, there is no quarters requirement. An individual who has never worked a single day in his or her life can potentially qualify.
There is, however, an indigency requirement. To qualify, the claimant must show that he or she has no substantial assets. Assets of any kind could potentially disqualify a person from receiving SSI benefits. In fact, the asset limit is quite small. Your home and automobile do not count towards this asset limit, however, even a small amount of money in the bank could disqualify you.Child’s Disability Benefits
Under the SSI program, children who have a disability, or who are developmentally delayed, could potentially receive SSI benefits. Under these situations, the parents of the child would bring a claim on the child’s behalf.
Social Security claims are not handled in an adversarial type system. In other words, there is no attorney on the other side trying to make sure you’re not approved. These claims are handled, in the early stages, by the local Social Security Administration field offices. There are dozens throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. If the matter needs to be appealed further, the case could go before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) at the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, and a hearing would be conducted.
If you are thinking of applying for Social Security Disability, Supplemental Security Income, or Child’s Disability Benefits, it is important for you to have an experienced Social Security Disability attorney represent you. While there is no attorney on the other side working against you, the system is very difficult. An experienced Social Security Attorney will be able to help you throughout this process, help you obtain supportive information from your doctors, and represent you at the hearing, if need be. In fact, ALJ’s often encourage claimants who are not represented by an attorney to obtain one.
The Troupe Law Office offers a free consultation of your case. There is no charge to speak with our Attorneys. In the event we are successful in getting you an award of benefits, the Attorney’s fee is mandated by statute. It is the smaller amount of the following: 1) 25% of the retroactive benefits awarded (this is the amount of money awarded for all previous months of entitlement, prior to the award notice), or 2) $6,000 (this is the cap figure at the moment, and may periodically be increased by the Social Security Administration).
Our Firm has successfully handled thousands of Social Security Disability claims over the past 40 years and we have earned an outstanding reputation in this field. We are committed to providing the best representation in the field of Social Security Disability.
If you feel that you are entitled to Social Security Disability benefits, Supplements Security Income, or Child’s Benefits, call our firm as soon as possible at (978) 531-7401, or email us