What You Should Know About SSDI Benefits in Los Angeles
Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits
If you’re applying for or receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD) benefits, there are some key pieces of information you need in order to protect your right to keep receiving benefits. Your first notification that you will receive SSDI benefits usually comes in the form of a letter, which tells you what the Social Security Administration (SSA) has decided and how much your monthly benefit will be, if any.
When and How Do I Get My Benefits in Los Angeles?
SSDI payments begin the sixth full month after your disability is determined to begin. This six-month waiting period is required by federal law. Payments are made on the first of the month. If you apply for benefits after May 1, 2011, you will be required to receive benefits electronically.
Different Types of SSDI Benefits
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits exist to help those who have disabilities that prevent them from working. Although most people don’t like to think about becoming disabled, the fact is that a 20-year-old worker has a three in 10 (30%) chance of being disabled before he or she reaches retirement age, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA provides several different types of benefits for people with disabilities. Understanding what benefits you are entitled to receive can help you face your losses should you suffer a disabling injury or illness.
Benefits for Adults
Adults who become disabled during their working lives may qualify for SSDI benefits. In order to qualify for benefits, an adult must have enough work credits to qualify and must have a physical or mental condition that prevents him or her from working and that is expected to last at least one year and/or to result in death.
Adults who haven’t worked enough to qualify for Social Security benefits may qualify based on a spouse’s work record, especially if the spouse is disabled or the adult is taking care of a disabled child.
Adults under age 30 need a reduced amount of work credits in order to qualify for disability benefits. If an adult is younger than age 22, he or she may be able to qualify for SSDI benefits based on a parent’s work record, just as a person under age 18 would.
Benefits for Children
Children may qualify for disability benefits even if they have no work record. Like adults, children must have a mental or physical disability that causes marked or severe impairment and that is expected to last at least one year and/or end in death. A child qualifies for benefits based on the work record or ongoing disability of a parent.
Young adults under age 22 are considered “children” for SSDI benefits purposes when they qualify based on a parent’s work record, rather than their own. The same rules for children younger than 18 also apply to young adults.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are available for elderly, blind, or disabled individuals who have limited income and resources. These benefits help low-income individuals make ends meet.
Unlike SSDI benefits, qualifying for SSI benefits doesn’t require a work history. Rather, whether or not you qualify for SSI is based on your income and resources. If you are under age 65, however, you will need to establish that you are blind or disabled in order to qualify for SSI benefits.
Medicare and Medicaid are two programs that provide health insurance for elderly, blind, disabled, and/or low-income individuals.
Medicare is a federal program run by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which provides healthcare coverage for elderly people and individuals with disabilities. If you are found disabled by the SSA and qualify for SSDI benefits, you may also qualify for Medicare coverage. You may also choose to stay on your current health insurance, if any, or to use both Medicare and to purchase additional health insurance for things Medicare does not cover (known as supplemental or “gap” insurance).
Medicaid is funded by the federal government, but run by each individual state. It provides healthcare coverage for low-income individuals, children, and some persons with disabilities. Medicaid coverage varies by state, so it’s important to determine what services are available where you live.
How Long Will I Receive Benefits?
Generally, your disability payments will continue at the amount listed in your letter as long as your medical condition has not improved and you cannot work. If your medical condition changes, you are expected to notify the SSA – especially if your condition improves and/or you are able to return to work. The SSA will review your file from time to time to decide whether you still qualify for benefits.
Can I Work While Receiving SSDI Benefits in Los Angeles?
You are allowed to do some work and to receive some pay while you are receiving SSDI benefits; however, generally you can make up to $1,010 per month before your disability benefits are reduced or eliminated. This number changes slightly every year. You may work for an employer or work for yourself. The SSA has a “Ticket to Work” program that can help you find work you can do while still receiving SSDI benefits.
If you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits in addition to SSDI benefits, the money you spend on tools to help you work is not generally included in your income. For instance, if you must buy a wheelchair in order to work, the money you use to buy the wheelchair will generally be subtracted from your income before calculating your SSI benefit.
What If I Disagree with a Decision the SSA Makes?
The SSA may decide to deny you disability benefits. It may also decide that you are no longer disabled, may reduce your benefit, or may make another decision that affects you negatively. You have the right to ask the SSA to review any of these decisions, including a decision not to grant you benefits.
You may ask the SSA to review its decision directly, or you may have an experienced attorney or other person of your choice deal with the SSA on your behalf.
The appeals process for any SSA decision has several levels. The first is a “reconsideration,” in which someone at the SSA who was not involved in the original decision reviews it. You may also request a hearing or even go to court, if necessary, and you may submit additional information at all steps of the process. Your attorney can help you with all of these tasks. For more information, contact Kenton Koszdin Law Office at (800) 438-7734.