Social Security Disability Benefits — What You Need To Know

The following are some common questions that clients ask about Social Security Disability benefits. Wood, Carlton & Hudson, P.C., helps individuals in Mississippi and Tennessee obtain Social Security Disability benefits after they have suffered debilitating injuries or medical conditions. To speak with an attorney about your specific questions, call a lawyer at 662-643-4341 or contact us online.

Common Questions We Receive About Social Security Disability

Q: How much will I receive from SSD benefits?

A: The amount of monthly benefits amount you receive under SSD is based upon how much you have paid in to Social Security while working. The calculation used to determine your primary insurance amount of (PIA) is complex. The Social Security Administration will calculate the amount for you and provide information about your PIA. Additionally, the SSA site provides a calculator that you can use to obtain an estimate PIA amount. The average PIA amount for 2018 was $1,197, with more SSD recipients receiving between $700 to $1,700 per month. For 2018, SSD PIA amounts cap out at $2,788. If you haven't worked in a long time or even if you have never worked, you may still be eligible for SSI benefits, that depending on your family income may range up to $735 per month in the year 2018.

Q: Can I return to work and still retain SSD benefits?

A: Once you have qualified for SSD benefits, you may decide that you want to try to return to work. Work incentives enable SSD beneficiaries to continue to receive their full benefit amount during what is referred to as a trial work period. A trial work period is defined as being nine months within a 60-month timeframe during which an SSD recipient earns more than $850 in income per month. After the trial work period elapses, SSD recipients enter the extended period of eligibility, a 36-month timeframe during which they receive supplemental SSD benefits if their wages do not meet the monthly threshold for what is considered to be substantial earnings. If at any point during the trial work period or extended period of eligibility your disabling injury or medical condition makes it too difficult to work, your full benefits will resume.

Q: When can I qualify for Medicare, if I am disabled?

A: If you are approved for SSD benefits, you are eligible for Medicare. However, there is a 24-month qualifying period before Medicare coverage begins. The waiting period begins five months after the date you are determined to be disabled and runs for 24 months. In many cases because you have had to wait for two years to be approved, your Medicare will begin immediately after your disability is approved. If you return to work despite your disabling condition, you may be able to retain Medicare coverage for at least 93 months.

Q: Can my spouse or children qualify for benefits under my record?

A: Yes. If you qualify for SSD benefits, you spouse and minor-aged children also qualify to receive benefits on your record. This includes any adult children who suffered a disabling injury or medical condition prior to turning age 22 and any ex-spouses. Each eligible family members may receive up to 50 percent of your total monthly income. The amount paid in total family benefits is capped, with the average payout equaling 150 to 180 percent of an individual SSD beneficiary's total monthly benefit amount.

Q: How do I file for disability?

A: In many cases our staff can file your application for disability directly in our office. While you can also contact the Social Security office to file your disability application, it is important to consult with an attorney even before filing for disability since the information you provide may affect how the SSA evaluates your case. If you are applying for SSI, you must contact the SSA office first to determine whether you meet the resource and income guidelines for the SSI program.