Things to think about be­fore ap­ply­ing for dis­abil­ity ben­e­fits

The Palm Beach Post - Neighborhood Post - Northern Palm Beach County - - Front Page - Maria Diaz So­cial Se­cu­rity So­cial Se­cu­rity helps you and mil­lions of other Amer­i­cans se­cure to­day and to­mor­row by pro­vid­ing im­por­tant fi­nan­cial ben­e­fits, information, and plan­ning tools. Learn more at www. so­cialse­cu­rity.gov.

So­cial Se­cu­rity is with you through­out life’s jour­ney. We’re here for you if the un­ex­pected hap­pens. We are there for you when you fi­nally stop work­ing as well. We pro­vide vi­tal fi­nan­cial sup­port to tens of mil­lions of Amer­i­can work­ers, pri­mar­ily through re­tire­ment ben­e­fits. But we’re also there for you if the un­ex­pected hap­pens and a se­ri­ous med­i­cal con­di­tion stops you from work­ing and be­ing able to sup­port your­self and your fam­ily.

In such cases, you may qual­ify for So­cial Se­cu­rity dis­abil­ity ben­e­fits, which re­place a por­tion of lost in­come when a worker be­comes se­ri­ously dis­abled. Here are three of the key fac­tors we use to de­ter­mine if you may qual­ify for So­cial Se­cu­rity dis­abil­ity ben­e­fits:

You must have a last­ing med­i­cal con­di­tion so se­vere that it pre­vents you from do­ing the work that you did in the past or ad­just­ing to other types of work;

Your phys­i­cal or men­tal im­pair­ment(s) must have lasted or be ex­pected to last at least a year or re­sult in death; and

You must have worked long enough — and re­cently enough — in jobs covered by So­cial Se­cu­rity.

To learn more about dis­abil­ity ben­e­fits, please visit www.so­cialse­cu­rity.gov/ dis­abil­ity.

You be­come el­i­gi­ble for So­cial Se­cu­rity ben­e­fits by work­ing and pay­ing FICA taxes, which trans­late into So­cial Se­cu­rity “cred­its.” How many cred­its you need to re­ceive dis­abil­ity ben­e­fits de­pends on how old you are when you be­come dis­abled.

For ex­am­ple, if you be­come dis­abled at age 31 or older, you gen­er­ally must have earned at least 20 cred­its in the 10 years im­me­di­ately be­fore you be­came dis­abled. Twenty cred­its are equal to five years of substantial earn­ings. Younger work­ers may qual­ify with fewer cred­its.

To see how many cred­its you have earned and to es­ti­mate fu­ture ben­e­fits, please log in to or cre­ate your my So­cial Se­cu­rity on­line ac­count at www. so­cialse­cu­rity.gov/my­ac­count.

Those who have not worked enough to qual­ify for So­cial Se­cu­rity ben­e­fits may be el­i­gi­ble for help through our Sup­ple­men- tal Se­cu­rity In­come pro­gram, or “SSI.” SSI pro­vides fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance to dis­abled chil­dren and adults, as well as the aged and blind peo­ple, who have lit­tle or no in­come or re­sources. Learn more about SSI at www.so­cialse­cu­rity.gov/ssi.

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