Social Security Disability Insurance
Written by: Bruce L. Weider | 8.15.2023

Filing For Disability With Social Security: Everything You Need To Know

Navigating the application process for disability benefits can be both complex and time-consuming. Social Security disability benefits, in particular, often require extensive periods for review by the Social Security Administration (SSA), resulting in significant financial difficulties for many applicants. Many initial claims for Social Security disability benefits are denied, but preparing the application carefully can help to smooth the process. To increase your chances of a successful application, consider seeking the assistance of a skilled disability attorney. An experienced Michigan Social Security disability attorney with Bruce L. Weider, PC may be able to help you navigate the application process, providing legal guidance and support along the way. For more information about filing for disability with Social Security or to learn how a Social disability benefits lawyer can assist with your claim, call our office today at (734) 485-0535.

Can You Apply for Disability if You Are Already on Social Security?

People who are already receiving Social Security retirement benefits may apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits if they become disabled after retiring. In addition, retired workers who discover that a health condition may have qualified for higher disability benefits earlier may file retroactive claims.

Can I Receive SSDI and SSI Benefits Concurrently?

According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), some individuals are permitted to claim both SSI and SSDI benefits at the same time, a scenario known as “concurrent benefits.” In this sense it is possible to receive benefits from both programs at once. Because Social Security Insurance is a need-based program predicated on total income, however, receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits can reduce or eliminate Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. Depending on the total income amount and the monthly SSDI benefits awarded, receiving SSDI benefits may in some cases make individuals ineligible for the SSI program or limit the amount they are eligible to receive.

Both SSDI and SSI are available to individuals who meet the SSA definition of disability, which is a severe health condition (mental or physical) that prevents substantial gainful activity for at least one year. While SSDI payment calculations are based on employment history and available regardless of financial situation, SSI is based on need and unrelated to prior work or tax payments. If countable income is over federal thresholds (e.g., $914/month for individuals), SSI is not granted. Because SSDI payments are considered countable income, they may reduce SSI benefits in much the same way as any other countable income. For instance, an SSI recipient with a $500 SSDI benefit would see their SSI reduced by $480, resulting in a $434 SSI and $500 SSDI per month.

What Are the Advantages of Concurrent Benefits?

For people who only qualify for a low SSDI benefit due to limited work experience or having a low-paying job before becoming disabled, SSI may serve as an additional source of income until they are capable of returning to work. Applicants need to be aware that there is a waiting period for SSDI benefits, with payments commencing in the sixth month after Social Security determines your disability onset. Conversely, Supplemental Security Income does not entail such a waiting period, allowing you to receive the full SSI benefit while awaiting the initiation of SSDI payments.

Concurrent benefits can also assist with healthcare coverage. While SSDI recipients can become eligible for Medicare, this coverage generally begins 24 months after benefit initiation. SSI recipients in most states automatically qualify for Medicaid. During the waiting period for SSDI benefits and their accompanying Medicare coverage, this Medicaid eligibility can help cover the costs of healthcare that would otherwise need to be paid out of pocket, or simply go unmet. Once Medicare coverage begins, in some cases there may be the possibility of maintaining Medicaid, which can address some costs that Medicare does not cover. You can learn more about filing for disability with Social Security by contacting Michigan Social Security lawyer Bruce L. Weider, PC.

How To Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits

Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can be done conveniently online, allowing for a streamlined process. Carefully gathering all the necessary documents in advance can help to make this stage easier and less stressful. The SSA offers a comprehensive checklist to facilitate this preparation. Alternatively, you have the option to apply by telephone through the dedicated number (800) 772-1213, or in person at the nearest Social Security Administration office. Individuals who particularly wish to receive personal assistance from a Social Security representative during the application are advised to contact the local office and schedule an appointment accordingly.

Approval will require showing conclusive evidence of a severe or total disability. Total disability refers to injury or condition that prohibits engagement in "substantial gainful activity” by rendering the individual unable to perform most types of work. Furthermore, the disability must be expected to persist for at least one year or result in death. Social Security maintains an extensive list of impairments that commonly qualify, accompanied by detailed information on how disability claims are evaluated.

How Long Does It Take To Get Disability Benefits?

The timeframe required to decide on a disability application can vary based on several factors, such as:

  • The specific nature and characteristics of the disability being claimed
  • The efficiency in obtaining medical evidence from relevant healthcare professionals or sources
  • The necessity of conducting a medical examination to further assess the disability
  • The inclusion of a comprehensive review process to ensure the quality of the application

Following the submission of a disability benefits application, the typical timeframe for an initial decision from the Social Security Administration ranges from three to six months. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments begin following a mandatory waiting period of five months, which typically begins from the date of disability onset. The initial benefit payment is not disbursed until the sixth full month after the date of disability onset. If Social Security determines that disability commenced on January 15th, the first payment will cover the month of July and be received in August, as benefits are paid in the month after the period they are intended to cover.

The onset date of disability differs from the date of SSDI claim approval or the application submission date. The onset date signifies the day when the individual became unable to engage in work due to their medical condition. That date might be several days, weeks, or even months before the initial application for benefits is filed.

Learn More From an Experienced Michigan Social Security Lawyer

Applying for disability benefits can be a complex process, and it is important to understand the nuances and eligibility criteria of programs like Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Seeking the assistance of a skilled disability attorney can make it much easier to navigate the application process. An experienced Michigan Social Security disability attorney may be able to help clients achieve successful applications and provide invaluable legal guidance and support. If you would like to learn more about filing for disability with Social Security, or if you have any other questions related to Social Security disability benefits, contact Bruce L. Weider, PC at (734) 485-0535 to schedule your no-cost initial consultation.

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