Supplemental Security Income

Supplemental Security Income is a disability program which is based on financial need. The earnings requirements are much more limited in supplemental security income claims. There are regulations which limit the amount of savings and assets that you can have and also limit the amount of income that can be brought into your household.

When should I file?

Answer: There are a number of factors which must be considered before filing a Social Security Disability Claim. First, you must be eligible to file and receive benefits. If you are working full-time and you are receiving substantial wages, then you would not be eligible for Social Security Disability. The Social Security Administration will allow you to work a limited number of hours and be eligible based on their ever-changing definition of substantial gainful activity. The recent ceiling for substantial gainful activity was defined as $980.00 per month.

If you are disabled, but the period of your disability is going to last less than a year, you would not be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. This does not mean that you need to wait for an entire year in order to see whether you are disabled, but it is based upon the expectation of your disability. If, for example, you are having a back surgery and you are expected to recover and return to work within a six-month period, you would not be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits.

In order to be considered, your disabilities must qualify as “serious impairments”. If you have injuries that affect you, but only slightly, those disabilities will not be considered by the Social Security Administration.

There are some individuals who are not able to perform work that they have performed in the past. You should consider whether you are capable of performing other types of work. As a disabled individual, your problems must keep you from performing any work which is classified as substantial gainful employment for a period of more than one year.

After considering some of these situations, you may have come to the conclusion that you will not be able to perform any substantial gainful employment for more than one year. If so, we suggest filing your application as soon as possible. Unfortunately, disability claims can take a very long time to be processed. If you postpone filing for disability, you are simply adding time to your wait. Most people who file for disabled benefits are already suffering from serious financial hardships. You may file your claim on line, by mail, or in person. Our advice is to avoid procrastination and get your claim filed as soon as possible.

ONE YEAR REQUIREMENT
: The Social Security Administration requires that your disability must be expected to last for at least one year. Sometimes this means that your doctor will need to provide a prognosis, or forecast concerning your disability. For example, if you have a serious back surgery, your doctor can write a report indicating that he expects you to be totally disabled from any type of employment for more than one year. Of course, if you have already been out of work for more than a year, your doctor can help you by simply stating that you have been continuously disabled.

SUBSTANTIAL GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT: The questions always come up whether a person can be working and still be approved for Social Security Disability. The answer is that you can work up to a certain point. There are individuals who may be able to work in some capacity for a few hours a day, for example, but who cannot work on a full-time regular basis. The Social Security Administration allows an individual, as of 2009, to earn up to $980.00 per month and still be eligible to apply for disability benefits. If you earn over $980.00 per month in 2009, you cannot be eligible for disability benefits. Earnings over this amount constitute “substantial gainful activity” aka “SGA”. Unfortunately, there are many people holding on to a job by a thread. They are working full-time and suffering dramatically, but they cannot afford to abandon their job because of severe financial consequences which may affect their families. Many of these individuals would like to be approved for disability benefits before they leave their job, but the Social Security Administration does not provide a procedure in which you can obtain a decision before leaving your employment.

Contact the Swaney Law Firm to speak to a supplemental security income attorney today.