Written by attorney Brent Adams

Social Security Disability Benefits: An Umbrella for Disabled Workers and their Families

Social Security’s umbrella in helping disabled workers and families is quite extensive. Disabled workers and their dependents (approximately 10.6 million individuals) account for 19% of the total benefits paid by Social Security. Yet some individuals feel they were wrongly denied Social Security disability benefits. If Social Security has unfairly denied your claim, contact a Raleigh disability lawyer for help as soon as possible.

Personal Benefits

To qualify for Social Security disability benefits, you must meet two main criteria. First, you must have worked in a job covered by Social Security for a requisite period of time. Luckily, an estimated 159 million workers (94% of all workers) are employed in positions that qualify because they pay Social Security taxes. In addition to working in a qualified job, you must have enough recent earnings. Generally, the younger you are at the onset of the disability, the less work history you need to be eligible for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

The second criterion is that you must have a physical or mental impairment that meets Social Security's definition of disability. In general, you must convince Social Security that you are unable to work for a year or more because of a disability. Once your claim is accepted, the disability benefits will continue until you are able to resume work that you performed prior to the disability or undertake new work through retraining or vocational rehabilitation programs.

The exact amount of your benefits is not an easy figure to compute. It is based upon your individual personal profile, including your age, past earnings, and type of benefits. A calculator is available for download from SSA. The current average monthly benefit awarded for disabled workers and dependents is $1,111. When you reach your normal retirement age, your Social Security disability benefits seamlessly convert to retirement benefits.

Family Benefits

When you start receiving Social Security benefits, other family members may also qualify for an additional payment, so your spouse might be able to receive benefits if he or she is 62 or older or, regardless of age, is caring for your child who is younger than 16 or disabled.

Family benefits are also available for unmarried children that have not reached 18; between 18 and 19 but are attending secondary school; or age 18 or older with a severe disability that appeared before the age 22.

Each family member may be eligible for a monthly benefit that is up to 50% of the payment designated for the primary beneficiary. However, there is a cap on the total family allowancebut it is usually equal to between 150% to 180% of the disability benefits paid to the primary beneficiary.

Former Spouses Benefits

A divorced spouse might also be entitled to Social Security benefits based on the earnings of the disabled worker if he or she is 62 years old, had been married for 10 years, divorced for two years, is currently unmarried, and not eligible for an equal or higher Social Security benefit.

Get the Benefits You Deserve – Contact a Raleigh Disability Lawyer

The attorneys of Brent Adams & Associates are energetic, aggressive, and compassionate advocates who handle all aspects of Social Security benefits in the Raleigh area. We are ready to help you protect your rights and fight for the benefits you are entitled to under Social Security. Contact us at 910-892-8177 or 800-849-5931 today for a free consultation.

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