David Lerner Associates: What You Should Know About Social Security Disability

David Lerner Associates: What You Should Know About Social Security Disability

Core Facts

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When they hear the term “Social Security,” many people think of the federal program that pays retirement benefits to most Americans who have worked during their lives. But there are two other Social Security programs that often aren’t as well-known: the Social Security disability insurance program and the Supplemental Security Income (or SSI) program.

Surprisingly High Disability Odds

Many people don’t think much about becoming disabled, but the Social Security Administration points out that the chances of becoming disabled are greater than many people realize. According to studies, a 20-year-old worker has a 30 percent chance of becoming disabled before he or she reaches full retirement age.

Social Security Disability Insurance and SSI are the largest of several federal programs that provide financial assistance to Americans with disabilities. They are both administered by the Social Security Administration for the benefit of individuals with disabilities who meet certain medical criteria. Almost 11 million Americans are currently collecting Social Security disability benefits (including the dependent spouses and children of recipients).

Social Security disability pays benefits to qualifying individuals and certain members of their family if they have worked long enough to pay FICA payroll taxes, while SSI pays monthly benefits based on financial need. The medical requirements for receiving disability payments are the same for most people under both programs.

Social Security disability benefits are paid to qualifying individuals who can’t work due to a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or result in death. It does not, however, provide benefits to individuals with partial or short-term disability. SSI makes payments to low-income individuals who are 65 years of age or older, are blind or have a disability. SSI recipients may also be eligible to receive Medicaid to help pay doctor’s and hospital bills.

It’s important to note that once an individual has been receiving Social Security disability payments for two years, he or she will automatically receive Medicare coverage. If the individual is low-income and receives Medicare, the state where he or she lives might pay the Medicare premiums and some other Medicare expenses, including deductibles and coinsurance.

Automatic Conversion to Retirement Benefits

Once an individual who is receiving Social Security disability reaches full retirement age (between 65 and 67, depending on when he or she was born), the disability benefits are automatically converted to Social Security retirement benefits and continue in the same amount. After two years, individuals on Social Security disability qualify for early access to Medicare.

One expert suggests that if an individual who is at least 62 years of age is forced to retire early due to a health problem, he or she should apply for Social Security disability benefits when applying for Social Security retirement benefits. If approved, the disability check — which is based on the full retirement age benefit — will be larger than the retirement check. Early retirement benefits, though, are reduced by up to 25 percent if claimed before full retirement age.

Material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only and is not intended to be used in connection with the evaluation of any investments offered by David Lerner Associates, Inc. This material does not constitute an offer or recommendation to buy or sell securities and should not be considered in connection with the purchase or sale of securities. Member FINRA & SIPC.


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Founded in 1976, David Lerner Associates is a privately-held broker/dealer with headquarters in Syosset, New York and branch offices in Westport, CT; Boca Raton, FL; Teaneck and Princeton, NJ; and White Plains, NY. For more information contact David Lerner Associates 1 877 367 5960 http://www.davidlerner.com

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