What Social Security disability benefits are available to me if I can’t work due to sickness or injury?
The Social Security Administration offers two major programs to help individuals who can’t work:
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): This program will pay disability benefits to individuals who have a disabling medical condition and have accumulated enough “work credits” in recent years to qualify. Work credits are earned by working a job where you pay Social Security taxes. You can earn up to 4 work credits per year, and in 2021 you earn a work credit for each $1,470 in earnings. (This number varies slightly from year to year, as it is based on average earning levels nationwide.)
The calculation for how many total credits you’ll need and how recently you need to have earned them varies based on your age when you become disabled. As a general rule of thumb, to qualify, you will need to have earned an average of at least 2 work credits per year between age 21 and your age when disabled. If you are older than 31, you will also need to have averaged at least 2 work credits per year in the last 10 years. If you have any questions about whether you qualify, we are happy to help.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI): Eligibility for SSI is based on financial need, rather than work history. Individuals qualify if they have less than $2,000 in resources. (This does not include the value of your home, car, household goods or personal effects). Couples qualify if they have less than $3,000 in resources.
It is possible to qualify for both SSDI and SSI at the same time.
How do I qualify for Social Security Disability?
Unfortunately, figuring out whether you qualify for disability is not always a straightforward process, and doesn’t always seem to follow common sense.
According to federal disability law, a qualifying disability must be a “medically determinable” physical or mental impairment that prevents you from working and can be expected to result in either continuous impairment for at least 12 months, or death. Your age, education level, and past work experience may also be considered in determining your eligibility.
As a result, the best way to determine whether you are eligible to receive disability benefits is by consulting with an experienced attorney.
How much do Social Security Disability Insurance benefits pay in Michigan?
Social Security disability insurance benefits are calculated based on your past income for work in which you paid Social Security taxes.
First, your average indexed monthly earnings (AIME) are calculated based on your 35 highest earning years of work, adjusted to the current year’s average wage index (AWI). (If you’ve worked less than 35 years, there will be $0 years included in the calculation.) Once you know your AIME, your monthly benefit is calculated based on a tiered system—90 percent of your income up to a certain threshold, 32 percent up to the next threshold, and 15% of the remainder. There is a five-month waiting period before you can start to receive SSDI benefits.
If it sounds complicated, that’s because it is. The overall average monthly benefit is around $1,000 for a typical disabled worker, but can be much higher or lower depending how long you worked and how much you paid into Social Security.
How much does Supplemental Security Income pay in Michigan?
In 2021, the maximum federal SSI benefit is $749 for an individual, or $1,191 for a couple. The actual total fluctuates from year to year based on a cost-of-living adjustment. If you earn an income, this maximum benefit may be reduced by a portion of what you earn.
How much does a Social Security disability lawyer cost?
Cost is a big concern among people applying for social security disability benefits, particularly those who have had their claim denied.
Our attorneys work on contingency, meaning they only get paid if you win your case. Initial consultations are free, and there are no up-front costs.
The maximum allowable attorney fee 25% of past due benefits, up to a maximum total of $7,200. The Social Security Administration will pay this directly out of your past-due awarded benefits, meaning you owe nothing out of pocket.
Do not let concerns about cost stop you from hiring a great social security disability attorney. Everyone deserves (and can afford) excellent representation, regardless of their circumstances.
What should I do if my claim is denied?
Don’t panic, and don’t take it personally. Denials are common and are often reversed during the appeals process. This does not mean you cannot get your benefits. Far too many people suffer in silence after being denied their SSD benefits, rather than fighting back.
However, it is important to quickly take action, and hire an experienced Social Security disability lawyer to handle your case. You have a limited period of time to file an appeal, and losing your appeal could leave you permanently unable to receive benefits. Attempting an appeal on your own is not recommended.