QUESTION: My husband was considered disabled by his employer yet when he applied for Social Security disability he was turned down. Can you provide an explanation?
ANSWER: It is not unusual for a person to be turned down when first applying for Social Security disability. Perhaps Social Security just needs some additional information. I always suggest appealing the decision. You usually have 60 days from the time you receive the letter to respond.
Not all disability programs are alike and eligibility for various programs depend on that program’s definition of “disability.” Some programs will pay for partial disability or short-term disability Social Security does not.
Social Security has a very strict definition for disability. Under Social Security disability is based on the inability to work. An applicant will be considered disabled if he or she cannot perform the work they did before the illness or accident that caused the disability and if Social Security determines that they cannot adjust to other type of work due to their medical condition.
In addition the disability must be expected to last for at least a year or result in death.
A second part of eligibility for Social Security disability benefits depends on the applicant’s work record. To qualify for benefits the applicant must have worked long enough and recently enough under Social Security.
The number of work credits needed depends on the applicant’s age at the time the disability occurred. Generally, the applicant must have worked 5 years (20 credits) out of the last 10 years ending with the year in which the disability occurred. Younger workers may qualify with fewer credits.
Applicants should apply for disability benefits as soon as they become disabled to get the application process started as the process is complex and lengthy taking from 3 to 5 months to complete.
Benefit payments usually start in the sixth month of disability. Payment amount is based on the applicant’s average life time earnings under Social Security.
Other types of payments may affect these benefits. Workman’s Compensation, other disability payments and other government benefits as well as any earned income received could reduce the amount of the disability benefit.
Always keep Social Security informed about changes that occur in order to avoid overpayments.
Generally disability benefits continue as long as the medical condition prevents the person from returning to work. If the medical condition improves and the beneficiary is no longer considered disabled the benefits will stop.
Disability cases are reviewed on a regular interval to make sure beneficiaries are still disabled. While on disability you have the responsibility for reporting any changes in your medical condition.
After receiving disability for 24 months you are automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A hospital coverage which comes with no cost to you and Part B medical coverage which has a monthly premium that will be deducted from your disability check.
If you remain disabled until you reach your full retirement age your disability benefits will automatically convert to retirement benefits. The payment amount will remain the same.
Social Security disability is a very complex program. I hope this bird’s eye view helps a little. If you have questions you should contact the Social Security Administration.
SATURDAY – May 4 – 6:00 pm – Goebel Center Ballroom Dance – doors open at 6:00 pm – dance lesson 6:30 to 7:20 (lesson the Hustle) –dance 7:30 to 10:00 – – tickets are $10 per person.
TUESDAY – May 7 – 9:30 am to 1:00 pm – EXPO – Pleasant Valley Recreation & Park District Senior Center – “50 Plus Expo” – at Community Center, 1650 E. Burnley Street in Camarillo – free admission, 70 plus exhibits, health screenings, musical entertainment and much more. For more information call (805) 482-4881 or visit www.pvrpd.org.
WEDNESDAY – May 8 – 2:30 to 4:30 pm – Meeting/Field Trip – Ventura Parkinson’s Disease Support Group – to Oxnard Family Circle Adult Day Health Care Center, 2100 Outlet Drive, Suite 380 in Oxnard – Special Program “Brain Max”- Reservations not required. For information call Patty at (805) 766-6070.
THURSDAY – May 9 – 10:00 to 11:30 am – Seminar – “Will You Pass Your Next Driving Test?” – at Agoura Hills Recreation & Event Center, 29900 Ladyface Court in Agoura Hills. For reservations call (818) 597-7361.
SUNDAY – May 19 – 3:00 to 4:30 pm – History Comes Alive –Modenia Kramer presents a “1910 Suffrage Meeting with Activist Dolly Gray” – at Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road in Thousand Oaks. Tickets are $5 at Goebel’s front desk.
Betty Berry is a senior advocate for Senior Concerns. The advocates are located at the Goebel Senior Adult Center, 1385 E. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks CA 91362 or call (805) 495-6250 or e-mail email@example.com (please include your telephone number.) You are invited to submit questions on senior issues.