Understanding Social Security options can help applicants

Knowledge and understanding of the Social Security disability process may make the process less intimidating and lead to a more successful outcome when applying for benefits.

There can be many questions and concerns related to Social Security disability (SSD). Some individuals experiencing disability may wonder when they can and should file for disability benefits. Typically, those who are disabled, and expect to be out of work for at least a year, should promptly file for SSD benefits. There are different ways to quality for Social Security benefits. Disabled spouses who have been widowed may be able to claim disabled widow(er) benefits, however, requirements to qualify may be based on when the worker died or other factors.

In addition, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) may be available to those who do not traditionally qualify for SSD benefits. SSD benefits require some type of work history to qualify. SSI may be available, based on unique income requirements, to those that do not have any work history or an extended work history to qualify for SSD benefits. Medical requirements and evaluation are the same, however, work history and income influence the overall evaluation differently.

As for traditional Social Security disability that the worker has paid into, there is an application process for Social Security disability benefits which may be available for those who have worked but can no longer do so because of a medical condition or injury. It is important to keep in mind that many applications are denied. Oftentimes, this is for seemingly insignificant errors in the application process that may only require correction.

It is important to understand the requirements for the different options available through Social Security. While it may seem confusing and overwhelming, a little trained guidance can help simplify and clarify the process and help clear the path towards the receipt of benefits.

Source: The Record Lifestyle, “Social Security Questions & Answers for May 18, 2014,” May 16, 2014