Q&A's about Disability

Reliable Help from a Reno Social Security Disability Attorney

How are Social Security disability benefit payments calculated?
Benefit payments are calculated based on the amount of money an individual has earned over the course of his or her work life. Just as retirement benefits are calculated on how much someone paid into the system over the years, the SSA computes how long a claimant has worked and to what degree each has contributed to Social Security taxes. In calculating your benefit, the SSA will take into consideration inflation and cost of living adjustments over the years that you have worked. They will normally go back 35 years, but you certainly will not have had to work for 35 years to receive Social Security disability benefits.

Who decides whether or not I am disabled?
All filings are reviewed by Disability Examiners. These examiners work for state agencies collectively referred to across the country as Disability Determination Services (DDS). These examiners must determine the medical eligibility of disability claimants. DDS examiners are not federal employees, but are government workers. They typically deny the majority of claims at the Initial and Reconsideration stages. By contacting DDS, you can speak to the Disability Examiner assigned to your case. It is advised that you do not contact DDS directly, but instead have your lawyer contact them on your behalf.

What is the difference between SSDI and SSI?
Social Security disability (SSDI) is awarded to disabled people who have generally worked five of the past ten years and have paid a Social Security tax on their income. The work requirement can be waived for applicants under age 22.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments are made on the basis of financial need to adults and children who are disabled, blind or have limited income and resources. SSDI is funded from the Social Security tax, while SSI is financed by general tax revenues.

Can I qualify for SSI if I am receiving Social Security retirement benefits?
You may qualify to receive additional funds through SSI, but payments depend on the amount of your Social Security retirement benefits. Your potential SSI benefit also depends on the state in which you reside. SSI may allow you to obtain food stamps, Medicaid, and other forms of state and local aid.

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