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What is Social Security Disability Law?

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  • Written By: Renee Booker
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2016
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Social Security Disability law (SSD) refers to the federally-run program in the United States that provides income to eligible disabled workers. Administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA), the goal of the SSD program is to provide monetary benefits to workers and/or their dependents when the worker is unable to continue working due to a disability. Social security disability law provides benefits on a temporary or permanent basis for eligible recipients. Social security disability benefits should not be confused with Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is also a government-sponsored disability program for low-income applicants.

There are a number of eligibility criteria under social security disability law in the United States. The most important qualifications include: a determination that the applicant has a physical or mental condition that prevents him or her from working; the condition is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death; the applicant has not reached his or her 65th birthday; and the applicant has enough qualifying wages during the previous ten years. Applicants who meet all of the eligibility requirements will receive a monthly check for as long as they remain qualified.

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The most important issue when determining eligibility revolves around whether or not the applicant is disabled according to social security disability law. Aside from the expected duration of the condition, in order to be considered disabled, an applicant must not be able to do the work he or she did before, and a decision must be made that the applicant is unable to adjust to different work as a result of the condition. The process for determining disability is lengthy and requires extensive medical documentation.

The other big factor when determining eligibility under social security disability law is whether or not the applicant has the necessary wages to qualify. An applicant must have earned enough work credits, and earned them recently enough, to have the required credits. The amount of income needed to qualify for a credit will change on a yearly basis, so an applicant should consult the current social security disability website or a local office to ascertain if he or she is eligible based on work credits.

The amount that a SSD recipient receives will depend on the amount of wages he or she earned prior to the onset of the disability. In addition, the applicant's spouse and/or children may be eligible to receive benefits for as long as the primary beneficiary is receiving them. Although SSD benefits may be retroactive, there is also a mandatory waiting period before an applicant may be considered eligible for the benefits. As such, it is best to consult with the SSA directly to determine when benefits will begin and how much the original payment will be.

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