The Disability Expert

A Free Guide to Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income Disability Benefits


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  Our daughter has rheumatoid arthritis and is getting to the point of being disabled. She is 40 years old my question is:  Can she draw disability under our social security? 
No. An adult child can receive benefits from his or her parent's Social Security only if the parent is retired or disabled and the adult child became disabled before the age of 21.    

If I don't file a income tax return, will ssa find out that I worked ,since my employer withheld state, federal, and ssa taxes?
Yes, SSA will find out because your employer reported your earnings to the IRS. Those earnings will appear on your SSA earnings statement. Furthermore, SSA will take legal action to recover any overpayments that they made to you. Furthermore, the IRS will come after you if you don't file a return. You had better report your earnings to SSA as soon as possible, because the longer this goes on, the larger the sum of money SSA will want you to repay.


    Would SSA take into consideration different tragedies that have occurred to people? Like, deaths of a fiancť, then cat, then son within 5 year period? These seem like they would most definitely have an impact on a persons ability to function like they used or more normally. As these can take a dangerous toll on the surviving personís health also. Some people do & some just donít recover after a death of a loved one
     No, SSA does not take personal tragedies into consideration when deciding whether or not somebody is disabled.   However, if a person is having trouble adapting to personal tragedies because the person has a mental condition, he or she might qualify for Social Security disability benefits due to the mental condition.  See the article Depression and Your Claim For Social Security Disability Benefits to read about how SSA evaluates claims due to depression. 

    If a woman is receiving social security income, and she gets married, will she lose her social security income?
If a woman is receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and gets married, her benefits will not change.  If a woman is receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and gets married, her husband's income and resources will count as her income and resources for the purpose of determining her eligibility for SSI; this may result in her benefits being reduced or terminated due to excess income and resources.

     If my husband is eligible for Social Security disability benefits, will my daughter be, too?
When you qualify for Social Security disability benefits, your biological child, adopted child, stepchild, and dependent grandchild can also receive benefits. To receive benefits, the child must be unmarried and under age 18.  Children who are age 18 are full-time students also qualify; benefits continue until the child graduates or until 2 months after the child turns 19 whichever comes first.  Children over the age of 18 can receive benefits if the child has a disability that started before the age of 22.  Within your family, each qualified child may receive a monthly payment up to one-half of your full disability amount, but there is a limit to the amount that can be paid to the family as a whole. This total depends on the amount of your benefit and the number of family members who also qualify on your record. The total varies, but it is approximately 150 to 180 percent of your disability benefit.

    My husband as a child was shot in the right eye by a bb gun bullet. He is now 42 years old and is legally blind in the right eye due from the prior injury. Would he qualify for any type of partial/permanent Social Security disability benefits?
     Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income do not offer payments for partial disabilities.  To qualify for disability benefits, a person must have a condition that prevents him or her from doing all types of work for at least 12 months in a row or be expected to end in death.    When Social Security evaluates claims due to vision loss, they look at the best corrected vision in the better eye.  Best corrected means using the appropriate corrective lens.  SSA only looks at the person's better eye.  Even if a person is blind in one eye, he or she is not disabled if he or she has adequate vision in his or her other eye.

    Does the decision for Social Security disability benefits come from your local Disability Office or is that determined by Social Security?  Is it possible for one to qualify for SSI only and not be approved for Disability Insurance? 
Please, see the article Who Makes the Decisionon Your Disability Case? for the answer to your first question.  The medical requirements for Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income disability benefits are the same.  However, you might get one kind of benefits and be denied the other due to nonmedical reasons.  For example, you might qualify for Supplemental Security Income disability benefits but be denied Social Security Disability Insurance because you have not paid into Social Security enough to earn enough quarters of coverage.  Or, you might get Social Security Disability Insurance but be denied Supplemental Security Income disability benefits because of excess income and resources.  Sometimes, Social Security Disability Insurance looks at a different time period than Supplemental Security Income.  If you quit paying into Social Security, then at some point your coverage will run out.  Think of it like your car insurance.  If you decide today that you are never going to pay for your car insurance again, at some point in the future your insurance will run out.  The date a personís coverage runs out is called the date last insured (DLI).  If a personís DLI is sometime in the past, SSA will just look at the medical evidence to see if the person was disabled prior to the DLI; it doesnít matter whether the person is currently disabled.  Supplemental Security Income always looks at whether the person is currently disabled.  Therefore, it is possible that a person could be denied Social Security Disability Insurance on the grounds that he or she was not disabled prior to his or her DLI but be found to be currently disabled for the purpose of Supplemental Security Income.  

      Assuming you are allowed Social Security disability benefits, and you have been disabled for 18 months, will you receive back payment?   From the time you are disabled, do you get pay from that date? 
     For Social Security Disability Insurance, you can get back pay for up to 12 months prior to the date you filed for disability benefits depending on how long you have been disabled.  For Supplemental Security Income disability benefits, you can get benefits back to the first day of the month you filed for disability benefits depending on when you became disabled.

     Will my Social Security disability benefits change if I marry another person with Social Security disability benefits? 
     If you both are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance, your benefits will not change due to your marriage.  The amount of your Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are determined by how much you have paid into Social Security.   If one of you is receiving Social Security Disability Insurance and one of you is receiving Supplemental Security Income disability benefits, then the benefits of the person receiving Supplemental Security Income may change due to a change in income and resources.  If you are both receiving Supplemental Security Income disability benefits, then both of your benefits will change.  A single person receiving Supplemental Security Income receives $564 per month (plus any amount that personís state adds to that amount, if any).  A married couple in which both people are receiving disability benefits receives $846 (plus whatever that personís state adds to that amount, if any). Of course, the $846 that a married couple receives is less than what 2 single people receive.


     I have been receiving social security benefits for some months now and as it is tax season, I was wondering if I'll receive a 1099 for tax purposes. 
Yes, should have received a 1099.  The Social Security Benefit Statements (SSA-1099) were all mailed by January 31, 2003.  If you have not received yours, go to or call 1-800-772-1213 to request another one.  To determine if your benefits are taxable, contact the IRS and request Publication
915, Social Security Benefits and Equivalent Railroad Retirement Benefits by going to or calling 1-800-829-3676.


     I am a 53 yr old bipolar housewife under regular care of the state mental health office.  Someone told me I could probably get on SSI.  If I am married and living with my husband, will his income be considered as if it were my income?  He has tried to find some sort of reasonable medical insurance that would cover me over the years, but several companies have turned him down just because I took lithium and was bipolar.  The income would  help us, but the Medicaid covering me would help so much.  
     Yes, your husband's income and any other financial resources that the two of you have will be considered when SSA decides if you are eligible for SSI.


     In April 2001, I was breaking up a fight between two boys at a psych Hospital where I worked.  I fell with one of the boys on my left side.  After a few months of physical therapy, an x-ray was done and it was found that I had DJD in my left hip.  Workmen's comp fought me on this and I ended up getting a lawyer.  I won my case, or at least half of it.  My attorney is trying to get a permanent disability from workman's comp and they are fighting about that.  My husbands insurance agreed to do my surgery because I could no longer wait for worker's comp to do it.  I no longer work for the hospital where I got hurt and have applied for another job working with trouble kids.  The school is having a hard time with the fact that I had a hip replaced and I have to see one of their doctors.  My question is, if no one will hire me because I had a hip replaced, could I get disability?  I've been on several interviews and when I say I had a hip replaced, I never hear from them again.  I have no problems with the new hip, but do know that there are some things I can't do.  I also think that I'm having trouble in the right hip now and may have to have it replaced.  I know I can't prove that I'm not being hired for a job because of my hip, but the jobs I'm applying for, I've done for 13 years.  
     In order to qualify for Social Security disability benefits, a person not only has to be unable to do his or her past work, he or she must be unable to do any type of work.   SSA does not consider how your condition may affect the willingness of employers to hire you.


     I applied for my Social Security disability benefits in March 2000 was denied twice. I hired an attorney and 18 months later I had a hearing. The judge told me that day that she was going to approve me, but I would of course have to wait for the letter.  It has been 3 months since my hearing and I haven't heard any thing.  I called my attorney, and as usual they didn't know anything.  At that time I informed them that I was going to call the admin hearing office.  I called and they told me that it was in the final stages and I should be hearing something in a month.  Is this normal?
     This is very typical, unfortunately.  The offices of the administrative law judges are always far behind on their work. There isnít anything you can do about it.  Youíll just have to wait. 


     How do I calculate how much disability compensation that I will receive? My case has finally been approved but I have no idea what to expect money wise, I have not seen any paperwork yet. I am getting $650 a month from work comp permanent disability payments and $400 for child support. Does any of this income matter? 
     The amount that you will receive in SSDI benefits is based on how much you have paid into Social Security (just like Social Security retirement benefits).  Your Social Security disability benefit will be reduced so that the combined amount of the Social Security benefit you and your family receive plus your workers' compensation payment does not exceed 80 percent of your average current earnings.  Your child support will not affect the size of your SSDI benefit.   Call SSA to find out how big your SSDI payment will be.  To be eligible for SSI, you must have below a certain level of income and resources.  In 2003, the SSI payment is $552 a month for an eligible individual and $829 a month for an eligible couple. Many states add money to the basic SSI benefit. People who get SSI usually get food stamps and Medicaid, too.


     My claim for Social Security disability benefits was allowed.  I applied due to a physical condition, but SSA allowed my case due to a mental condition.  This is so unfair.  Should I appeal the decision?       
     No, you cannot appeal.  If SSA denies a case, the claimant can, of course, appeal the decision.  If SSA allows a case but SSA gives the claimant an established onset date later than the date the person quit engaging in substantial gainful activity, then the person can appeal the onset date; a person might want to appeal the established onset date in order to receive back benefits for a longer period of time.  However, if a person applies for disability benefits due to one condition but SSA allows the case due to some other reason, the person cannot appeal the reason SSA allowed the case.  It is not uncommon for cases to be allowed for a reason other the main reason the person was applying.  Also, it may be that a combination of both your physical and mental impairments resulted in the allowance.  The reason SSA allowed your case does not affect the size of your monthly benefit.  Let me suggest that you just be glad that your case was approved.


     If I became disabled in January 2003 and was approved for ssi benefits in may should I receive back pay immediately upon approval? 
Once a person receives notice that he or she is medically approved, then back pay usually is received within a couple of months.  For SSI, a person can receive back pay as far back as the first day of the month that he or she filed for disability benefits.  For SSDI, a person can receive back pay up to 12 months prior to the date he or she filed for disability benefits.


     Can I receive Social Security disability benefits if I am unable to do my regular job but receive training for a new job at the same time?  I can no longer work as a secretary at my current place of business.  The environment contains mold, dust, construction materials, vehicular odor, etc., which caused my allergies to develop, and subsequently for me to develop severe asthma and depression.  I and my doctors have since determined that it is not only the physical environment but also the function of the work that has made me ill.  The repetitive sedentary work I do also is directly linked to the above problems.  I would like to return to school to develop skills for another industry, job, and life.  Is this possible to do and still remain on disability? 
     People can receive disability benefits while attending school or job training.  If you havenít done so already, let me suggest you contact your stateís vocational rehabilitation agency to see if you qualify for financial assistance with your schooling.



     I'm 58 years old male.  About 4 weeks ago I had open-heart surgery- 5 bypasses.  I have worked at the same company 32 years as of Jan. 2004.  My cardiac surgeon doesnít have a clue what I do. I am in management and have a B.S. degree from a major university.   I feel that I have earned my disability pay.  There comes a time when a person knows "its over" and in my view I have come to that point.  My health problems have not been confined to my heart.  I am subject to major depression.  It was not until 1994 that divorce and my "discovery" of Prozac "cures" my depression.  How do I convey my mundane life to a busy cardiac surgeon who know me as a number and checks the box "disabled" and sets me free? 
     For the purpose of SSDI and SSI disability benefits, it doesnít matter whether or not your cardiac surgeon thinks you are disabled.  SSA will not ask your cardiac surgeon whether or not he thinks you are disabled.  SSA will request a copy of your medical records from all doctors who have treated you.  SSA has its own laws and regulations that it will use to evaluate your medical records in order to decide whether you are disabled.  Please, see the article Who Makes the Decisionon Your Disability Case?  (For your private disability insurance, you may need your own doctor to state that you are disabled depending on the specifics of your policy.)   Also, please see the article Depression and Your Social Security or Supplemental Security Income Disability Claim.  I also hope that you will read the question just below this one because it is relevant to your situation.


     Does benefit amounts change if you move from one state to another once you are all ready receiving on going SSI payments?
Your SSI benefits do not change from one state to another.  However, many states add some additional money to the checks of SSI recipients.  This amount is included in your monthly SSI benefit.  This amount varies from state to state.  Therefore, if you move to a different state, the size of your total monthly benefit may be different.


     My husband is 53 years old and up until April of this year he was able to work. That has now changed. We applied for Social Security benefits in April of this year. He has COPD, diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis,  and he had to have a mechanical valve put in his heart. We have no medical insurance, as he had just returned to work, after being laid off after 9-ll. He is on very expensive medication including Coumadin, which he will be on the rest of his life. He has done only one type of work his whole life. He worked in the oilfield. On September 3 of this year he went to see the social security doctor and he gave him 100 percent disability. My question is, can they still deny him after their doctor gave him the disability? We are still waiting to hear. 
     Yes, SSA can deny his claim.  The doctor who examined your husband does not make the decision as to whether or not your husband is disabled.  He or she simply provides SSA with information that it needs to make its decision.  SSA will make its decision based on its own laws and regulations.  You will not know the decision until SSA notifies you of the decision.  Please, see my article Examinations Scheduled for You by SSA for Your Disability Claim for more information.


     My husband has multiple myeloma and is 46 yrs. old. Assume that he applies now and is denied and we don't appeal. If he gets very sick again and applies lets say one or two years later, will the SSA look at all of his medical records or only the med records since the date of the second application (the date he was unable to work for the second time)?  Is the answer any different if you do appeal?  What if money is received during the time he is disabled, but it was earned before he was disabled? 
     If you havenít done so already, I hope you will read Multiple Myeloma and Social Security and SSI Disability Benefits.  SSA generally  tries to obtain medical records for one year prior to the date of filing (i.e., the application date).  If the person has filed for disability benefits in the past, SSA generally attaches that file to the current one so that the previous material is considered.  When a person files for disability benefits, he or she can submit copies of any medical records that he or she wants SSA to consider.  All material that a person submits becomes a permanent part of his or her file and is considered when SSA makes its decision.  However, the more recent records will carry more weight when SSA is trying to decide if the person is currently disabled.  The important thing here is that a person can receive back benefits for up to 12 months prior to the date of filing the current application (if he is disabled and unable to work for that time).  For example, say that he applied for disability benefits on September 1, 2003 and is denied on October 1, 2003.    If he appeals the current decision, the filing date of September 1, 2003 continues to be in effect for the duration of all the appeals.  However, if he does not appeal and then files a new application, the new case will have a new filing date; on the new application, he could only receive back benefits up to 12 month prior to the new filing date.  Furthermore, SSA will not generally pay back benefits into a period it previously determined the person was not disabled.  Therefore, if he is found to be not disabled on October 1, 2003, and then files a new application on December 1, 2003, the longest he could receive back benefits would be back to October 2 because it was already determined that he was not disabled through October 1; on the other hand, if he had appealed the decision on the application he filed September 1, 2003, he could get back benefits for 12 months prior to that filing date.  Money earned before he was disabled but received while he was disabled will not affect an application for SSDI benefits.  It will  make a difference for the purpose of SSI benefits, however, which looks at all of the personís income and resources. 

To see more questions about general issues regarding Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability benefits, click here.









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