How Social Security disability benefits work

On Behalf of | Nov 23, 2020 | Social Security Disability

Social Security helps to provide income stability for those who are disabled and can no longer work as well as qualifying retirees. Many New Jersey residents find themselves unable to work due to physical or mental disabilities that make them eligible for disability benefits via Social Security. Although many are eligible for the disability benefit, a lack of information means some people do not file and endure financial hardships that might be avoided with successful benefit filings.

12 months without work triggers benefits

Social Security disability benefits apply when an individual cannot work due to physical or mental issues for at least 12 months. A doctor or other relevant health care professional must diagnose a medical or mental impairment that stops the individual from doing substantial work for gainful employment. If the medical condition might result in death, the individual meets the accepted definition of disabled as required by the Social Security Administration.

Expected loss of work capability applies

Disabilities can occur suddenly via a vehicular accident, illness or other unfortunate circumstances. When a medical doctor or other health care provider affirms that the condition will prevent the individual from working for at least the next 12 months, a valid disability claim exists. There is no need to wait 12 months to file a claim and start collecting disability benefits. If the individual already has been unable to work for at least 12 months and just obtained the necessary diagnosis, the disability benefit could apply right away.

Total disability not needed

The individual does not have to be fully disabled and completely stop working to qualify for the disability benefit. It is possible to still work and earn money but at a rate that is below what the federal government considers to be a substantially gainful activity. Many part-time jobs might help to supplement a full disability benefit without affecting it.

The many subtleties of a disability claim can confuse potential filers who would benefit from professional help. A Hackensack-area attorney who is experienced in Social Security disability cases may review an individual’s situation and help to make the strongest claims whenever possible.