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Defining total disability for Mississippians

There are government benefits available for Mississippians who are disabled. Though permanent disability is not a requirement to receive Social Security Disability (SSD) or Social Security Income (SSI), the Social Security Administration does define total disability. This occurs when an individual is unable to earn more than the substantial gainful activity (SGA) for a given year.

An individual must have functional limitations that affect an individual's ability to work. These limitations can be mental, physical or both. The medical and work conditions of the applicant are reviewed by the Social Security Administration.

SGA is tied to a specific amount that can be earned in a given month. For 2015, the SGA amount is $1,090 per month before taxes. This SGA amount can change yearly as it is adjusted for inflation. It is important to note that anyone earning more than the SGA amount at the time of their application will be automatically denied for SSD.

Even when an individual is approved for SSD or SSI, he or she is subject to continuing disability review or CDR. CDR will determine if an individual has physically or financially improved. There are automatic diary review dates that are set for CDR. This review occurs on ear one, three and seven. To maintain disability benefits, an individual must provide medical documentation that proves that the individual still suffers from the condition that caused the initial approval of the application.

Social Security benefits are federal and not awarded by states. Therefore it does not matter if an applicant becomes disabled in one state and subsequently files for benefits in a different state. That type of limitation applies to workers compensation.

Source: SSDRC.com, "What is SGA (substantial gainful activity) and How does it affect social security disability and SSI eligibility?," accessed on Sept. 14, 2015

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