WHAT ARE DISABILITY BENEFITS?
Social Security pays Disability benefits to people who can’t work because they have a medical condition that’s expected to last at least one year or result in death.
HOW DOES THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION DEFINE A DISABILITY?
You are considered disabled if:
- You cannot do work that you did before;
- Social Security Administration decides that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and
- Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.
SSA does not pay partial or short-term disability benefits.
If you meet the above requirements, Social Security benefits also may pay:
- Your child who is under age 18, or severely disabled before age 22, or
- Your wife who is age 62 or older, or is caring for your child who is under age 16 or severely disabled before age 22.
HOW DO YOU DOCUMENT ELIGIBILITY FOR DISABILITY BENEFITS?
When applying for disability insurance, the Social Security Administration (SSA) looks at two categories of qualification:
Technical qualifications come down to income and past work history to determine if you’re financially eligible for benefits.
Medical qualification depends on you medical diagnosis and symptoms, which must be severe enough to qualify you as “disabled”.
You will need as many documents as possible to prove disability when applying. While getting help from a Social Security attorney is the best way to make your application its best, you can also begin the application on your own.
Here’s what you should gather:
- MEDICAL RECORDS
The first and most important documents required for applying are medical records. These include all evidence of your disability from the moment you started seeing symptoms.
Hospital records, doctor’s visits, check-ups, and prescription lists are all vital in showing the SSA the severity of your disability.
2. TREATING PHYSICIAN’S TESTIMONY
Have your physician write up an official recommendation of disability, which can be included in your application.
3. HISTORY OF MEDICATION FAILURE
Before the SSA awards disability benefits, they want to be sure that the patient has tried everything they can to resolve their medical issues. Especially in cases where normal treatment methods have proven ineffective, the SSA is more likely to recognize financial/medical strain and award disability benefits.
I WAS NOT DISABLED BEFORE I WAS INCARCERATED, BUT I AM DISABLED NOW. AM I ELIGIBLE FOR BENEFITS?
You are not eligible for Social Security disability benefits (SSDI) if:
- your disability arose (or was made worse) while you were committing a felony
- your disability arose (or was made worse) while you were imprisoned in a jail, prison, or correctional facility for a felony conviction, or
- you made yourself a widow or an orphan by killing your spouse or parent (this applies to Social Security survivors benefits).
I WAS RECEIVING DISABILITY BENEFITS BEFORE I WAS INCARCERATED. WILL I STILL RECEIVE THEM NOW THAT I’M RELEASED?
Once you have been released from jail, it is possible that you will be able to continue to receive the payment of your Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI) without the need to re-apply for those benefits.
If you were receiving SSDI benefits prior to your incarceration, those benefits will resume once you have been released as long as you remain disabled.
If you received SSI payments and served less than 12 months in jail, you may be entitled to reinstatement of the SSI benefits without re-applying. If it has been longer than 12 months, however, a new application must be started.
Unlike SSI benefits, there is no 12-month rule that is applied to SSDI disability benefits.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SSDI AND SSI BENEFITS?
Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are two different government programs.
SSDI is available to workers who have accumulated a sufficient number of work credits.
SSI disability benefits are available to low-income individuals who have either never worked or who haven’t earned enough work credits to qualify for SSDI.
HOW DO I GET MY SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BENEFITS REINSTATED?
It is YOUR responsibility to notify the Social Security Administration of your release if you want your Social Security Disability benefits to be reinstated.
In order to have your benefits reinstated, you will need to provide the Social Security Administration with proof of your release and your release date, and of course proper identification and proof of citizenship.
Social Security Disability benefits can be restarted effective the month after your release from prison.
HOW DO I NOTIFY THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION OF MY RELEASE?
The best way to have your benefits reinstated is to visit a local Social Security Administration office and provide them with the needed documentation.
Find your local Social Security Office by zip code at the Official Website of Social Security Office Locator
Disability Benefits are not easily obtained. You may need the help of an attorney who specializes in this field.