Many young people are concerned that Social Security benefits will be exhausted by the time they become eligible to claim them. However, the reality is that Social Security provides more than just retirement income. The Social Security Disability (SSD) system provides income to children, young adults and others below retirement age who become disabled and who are no longer able to work as a result of their medical condition.
Boston disability lawyers know that as many as one out of every four 20 year olds currently in the workforce today will become disabled before they reach the age of 65. Severe illnesses and injuries that cause disability can prevent a young person from being able to have a job over the course of his life. Very few people have private disability insurance coverage, and the Social Security Disability system can make it possible for these young people to support themselves and their families after becoming disabled. Because SSD provides such an essential benefit for young Americans, it is especially important for individuals of all ages to know how the laws related to SSD benefits are changing as well as to be aware of any proposed changes to the SSD program.
Social Security Disability Benefits Available at all Ages
Social Security Disability benefits are available to individuals of all ages if the benefits are received through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. The SSI program not only provides monthly income for disabled adults but also provides income when a child is disabled as well.
SSI is a means-tested program, which means that the income that is paid out by the Social Security Administration is available to people with lower incomes and with limited family resources. There is no work history requirement and it is possible to have a qualifying disability that develops during adulthood or during childhood. The SSA has a “blue book” listing of impairments that can qualify a person for SSI benefits, and this includes a Part A listing of adult disabilities and a Part B listing of disabling conditions affecting children.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) does have a work history requirement and is not generally available to children, although an Adult Disabled child can receive benefits under his or her parent’s work record under certain conditions. While SSDI benefits do require a work history to earn eligibility, however, the amount of work credits that must be earned to qualify for benefits will vary depending upon a person’s age at the time when he becomes disabled. As a result, a young person can also become eligible for SSDI benefits even if he is disabled in his 20s or 30s as long as he has worked for some period of time before the onset of the disabling condition.
SSI and SSDI benefits, while providing a lifeline to many individuals of all ages, can be difficult to qualify for. Yet, the programs repeatedly come under attack as a source of government waste and fraud. The reality is that more than half of all individuals who apply are denied benefits and the application process should not become more difficult. Young people need to be aware that changes to the disability insurance program don’t just affect older retirees but could also impact them as well. It is up to everyone to fight to protect the SSD system and make sure the money is there to take care of the disabled.
If you are considering filing for SSD benefits in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
More Blog Entries:
Long-Term Disability Benefits Not a Given, Study Says, Boston Social Security Disability Insurance Blog, September 30, 2013