Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits

Applying for social security disability insurance benefits can be a strenuous and taxing journey that is too difficult to navigate alone. For many hardworking Americans, applying for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits is truly the last resort when they accept the fact they can longer function or perform their job duties as they used to. Working your entire life and finally losing a stable source of income can be an emotional and stressful journey on its own. Burdened with doctor appointments, office visits and medical treatments, many claimants are overwhelmed and intimidated with the idea of even how and when to begin the application process. Unfortunately, a majority have a great deal of uncertainty and assume that they are not eligible for SSD benefits.

All too often, SSD applications are denied at the initial and reconsideration level. On average, 64% of initial Social Security Disability applications are denied by the Social Security Administration (Annual Statistical Report on the Social Security Disability Insurance Program, 2018). Feeling frustrated, discouraged, and defeated, many individuals do not even consider the avenues in appealing this decision, or know that they can hire help. Already completing the tedious application has taken enough time and energy, so all too many simply surrender their fight for benefits which could mean losing out on years of past due benefits.

However, when you are already balancing finances, medical bills, and debilitating symptoms, hiring an attorney can not only alleviate a great deal of stress and uncertainty, but increase your chances of being approved. Having legal experts in the field of social security disability can reduce unnecessary frustration and headaches that can arise throughout this process. Most people are not aware that legal representation fees are all regulated, and must be approved, by the Social Security Administration, under federal law, which limits fees to 25% of back pay or $6,000 depending on the amount awarded and appeal stage. This means that SSD attorneys and representatives only get paid if they help the claimant win their disability case.

Entrusting the assistance of experienced SSD attorneys means can mean that they will help you from the start and through any appeals that may be necessary. SSD attorneys can help you fill out your initial disability application, avoid costly errors, request all medical evidence to help prove your claim, and handle the reconsideration and appeal process if needed while ensuring you meet all appropriate deadlines.  Another advantage is that your SSD attorney will directly deal with the Social Security Administration and handle all correspondences related to your claim. Additionally, a SSD attorney can work with your doctors to draft letters in support that specify your symptoms and work-related limitations to help prove your disability. An attorney can also guide you to any additional benefits you may qualify for while you are waiting for your SSD approval. If the case requires an Administrative Law Judge Hearing, your attorney is able to represent you and present any additional evidence that is needed, draft briefs, and make legal arguments in defense of your claim.

At Disability Law Group, our experienced and compassionate attorneys have years of experience strictly specializing in disability claims. Our attorneys can help ensure that you meet all requirements under the law with the best approach in presenting your case to be approved as quickly as possible. At Disability Law Group, we can help from the very start and through any appeals that may be needed. Our consultations are always free and disability is all we do. Let our dedicated disability team take the worry and paperwork off of your shoulders, and help you win your SSD case.

Source

  • Annual Statistical Report on the Social Security Disability Insurance Program, 2018https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/statcomps/di_asr/2018/sect04.html

When Are Children Eligible for SSI Benefits?

A child can be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) in Michigan when he or she meets the disabling medical condition as well as the relevant financial tests of the Social Security Administration (SSA). However, the SSA has strict rules about income and assets, which means many applicants get denied on their initial request for SSI benefits even if they do have a qualifying medical condition(s). If you are applying for SSI benefits for your child, a Michigan SSI benefits attorney can help you go after the benefits your child deserves.

SSI Requirements About Disability

Your child must have a medical condition or multiple conditions that combine to meet the SSA’s definition of disability for children. This definition has three components:

  1. Earnings. For SSI purposes, the SSA measures a person’s disability not by medical severity, but by how much money the individual makes. In the cases involving children, however, the individual whose income is counted would be the child’s parents or guardians. No matter how severe the child’s medical condition, if the parents earn more than the threshold (which for 2021 is around $1,310 a month gross income, or $2,190 a month if legally blind), the SSA will say that the child is not disabled and not eligible for SSI benefits. While these are the income limits for 2021, however, the numbers can change every year.
  2. Functional limitations. If your child has learned ways to function like other children of similar age despite their medical condition, they may not qualify for SSI based on their medical condition not being considered “severe” enough. The SSA takes a strict approach when evaluating a child’s functional limitations. The medical conditions must cause the child to have significant functional limitations that severely restrict the child’s activities.
  3. Length of the impairment. A child cannot get SSI benefits for a short-term medical condition. The child’s disability must have existed for at least 12 months, or the doctors expect the condition to last at least 12 months or be fatal.

Your child must meet all three of these elements for the SSA to consider the child as disabled for the purposes of receiving SSI benefits.

Additional Financial Requirements for SSI Benefits

The SSA will not pay SSI benefits if the parents’ income or resources exceed the limit. The SSA also explores the income and assets of everyone who lives in the same household as the child, and could deny the application based on the income or assets of those household members. If the child does not live at home, the income and resources rules can still apply to the household if the child comes home periodically and you exercise control over the child. 

While SSA does not treat every resource or asset as income, the parents’ countable income may still reduce the amount of the SSI benefit or preclude eligibility altogether. Earnings from work, money from friends and relatives, free food and shelter, and some other benefits programs can count as income for SSI eligibility.

The current resource limits are $2,000 for a child or adult individual and $3,000 total for a couple, but this could change with time. The SSA does not count all assets toward these limits. However, cash, bank accounts, investments, and many other things can also count toward the resource limit.

Exceptions to the Rules – Immediate Payments

It typically takes several months for Michigan’s agency that evaluates applications for SSI benefits to determine whether a child applicant qualifies for SSI payments. If your child has one of these conditions, however, the agency might start distributing benefits right away while they process the application:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Down syndrome
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Extremely low birth weight – less than 2 pounds, 10 ounces
  • Complete blindness
  • Complete deafness
  • Severe intellectual impairment in children over the age of 3
  • Symptomatic HIV infection

This is not an all-inclusive list, and any condition could potentially qualify a child for SSI. A Michigan SSI benefits attorney can let you know if your child’s condition qualifies for SSI, and possibly even immediate payments. A Michigan disability attorney can help you navigate the SSI application and appeal process from the start. Contact us today

Can I Receive Unemployment Benefits and Social Security Disability Benefits at the Same Time?

If you cannot work in Michigan due to a disability, you may be wondering if you can receive both unemployment benefits and social security disability benefits simultaneously. 

However, the eligibility requirements of unemployment benefits and SSDI compete against one another. As such, it’s important to consult with an experienced Michigan SSDI attorney as soon as possible to understand your rights and options.

Unemployment Benefits in Michigan

To be eligible for unemployment benefits in Michigan, an applicant must meet several requirements that mirror federal guidelines, for example:

  • The applicant must have been employed before applying for benefits
  • At the time of application, the applicant must be unemployed
  • Separation from employment must not be through the fault of the applicant

Of additional and critical importance is that the applicant must also be “able, available for, and actively seeking suitable full-time work.” This instruction is where the complication arises for those hoping to collect both unemployment and SSDI benefits. 

To better understand the conflict, let’s examine Social Security Disability Insurance guidelines.

Social Security Disability Benefits

Applicants filing for SSDI benefits must meet the requirements of a defined disability that prohibits them from being able to work at substantial gainful activity levels. 

The primary requirements when filing for SSDI in Michigan are:

  • The applicant is unable to work at substantial gainful activity level because of their medical condition or defined disability;
  • The applicant is unable to do the work they did before becoming disabled, as well as other work;
  • The disability is a long-term disability lasting or expected to last one year or more, is a permanent disability, or is a disability that is likely to result in death. 

If the applicant’s condition prevents them from doing the work they did before, but they can do other work, [they] may not have a qualifying disability. However, there are narrow exceptions to this rule, based primarily on age, and an experienced disability attorney can help you understand whether an exception applies in your case as well as evidence needed to support your claim.

The Conflict Between Michigan Unemployment Benefits and Michigan SSDI 

An SSDI applicant must affirm they have a disability preventing them from working. As such, this affirmation directly contradicts unemployment requirements demanding applicants are willing and able to work.  

While a person may legally apply for benefits with both agencies, they should be mindful that government agencies often share data. The inherent conflict of filing for both Michigan SSDI and unemployment benefits may bring into question the applicant’s credibility, resulting in a denial of benefits. 

Nevertheless, when a person applies for both and is approved for both, they must inform Michigan’s Unemployment Department and SSA. There is a possibility that unemployment benefits may be reduced, or they may be forced to repay some or all of the benefits received.

How Can a Michigan SSDI Lawyer Help?

If you’re thinking of applying for both unemployment and SSDI benefits in Michigan, it’s a good idea to speak with a Michigan SSDI attorney first. 

A qualified SSDI benefits attorney can advise you regarding the guidelines of Michigan unemployment benefits and Michigan SSDI, how to apply for the benefits you can qualify for, and what legal risks may be associated with applying for benefits from both agencies. 

Contact our Michigan law office today to speak with an experienced SSDI attorney about your situation. Our consultations are always free and disability is all we do.

Social Security Disability Benefits for Heart Conditions

Nearly half of all American adults suffer from cardiovascular disease, with heart disease being the leading cause of death among men and women nationwide.

Unfortunately, many individuals living with chronic heart conditions are unable to perform everyday activities or maintain employment. Those with debilitating heart conditions often suffer a lack of financial resources for necessary living expenses and much-needed medical care.  

Are you a Michigan resident disabled by a heart condition? Unable to work and earn an income? You may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits for your heart condition.   

Michigan SSDI attorneys explain the qualifications, guidelines, and process for winning SSDI  claims for disabling cardiovascular diseases. Our attorneys are not only award-winning experts in the field but renowned for their compassionate and zealous representation. 

What Are Qualifying Heart Conditions for Michigan Social Security Disability Benefits?

In what is known as the SSA bluebook, the Social Security Administration has compiled a list of specific heart conditions qualifying for disability benefits. In addition to listing the conditions, the SSA details particular eligibility criteria that must be met to receive a claim award for heart-related illnesses. However, there are exceptions to being eligible for disability benefits, even if your heart condition does not arise to the severity level of one of SSA’s bluebook listings. 

Heart conditions that qualify for disability benefits under the SSA bluebook listing include:

  • Myocardial Infarction
  • Ischemic Heart Disease
  • Chronic Heart Failure
  • Arrhythmias

SSDI attorneys advise that while SSA lists several qualifying heart conditions, you are not restricted to those conditions alone. You may apply for SSDI for any heart condition providing it meets the characteristics of a disability. In other words, as long as your conditions renders you incapable of performing work you have done in the past 15 years, and other substantial work, then you could still be eligible for disability benefits. 

What Criteria Must a Heart Condition Meet for SSDI Benefits?

SSDI evaluates several factors when determining eligibility for benefits for heart conditions. Heart conditions listed in the SSA blue book are each accompanied by a detailed list of criteria that must be met to qualify for SSDI benefits:

  • medical diagnosis
  • imaging which shows heart abnormalities
  • stress tests and failures
  • treatment plans
  • related surgical procedures and hospitalizations
  • Resulting physical limitations and accommodations 

As mentioned, even if you do not meet the bluebook criteria, you may still qualify for SSDI. SSA will consider what your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) is including all of the related limitations your heart conditions, as well as any other impairments you may have, cause you to experience. 

Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) details your condition and its effect on you. An experienced disability attorney in Michigan can help your case by drafting a cardiac impairment RFC form that your doctor, including your cardiologist, can complete. The form should detail the specific heart-related symptoms, diagnoses, treatment, and limitations you have. Once completed by your medical provider, the form can be submitted to SSA as supportive evidence in your case to consider, increasing your odds of approval.  

The eligibility criteria alone for heart conditions make navigating an SSDI benefits claim complex. Seeking counsel from a seasoned SSDI benefits attorney will help you avoid any missteps that might result in a delay or denial of your claim, and help position you in the best way possible to be approved from the start. 

Filing a Michigan SSDI Benefits Claim for Heart Conditions

If your ability to work is impaired due to a heart condition, medical records documenting your symptoms and the overall severity of your impairment will be helpful for a disability case. Further, RFC forms and letters from your doctor supporting your symptoms and limitations they cause you, can help your claim result in an approval from the start. 

Michigan SSDI benefits attorneys at Disability Law Group will work with you and your doctor to assess your ailment in the context of SSDI guidelines. If it is determined that you have a viable SSDI claim, our attorneys will assemble necessary support documentation and file a claim for benefits on your behalf so that you can focus on your health.

Your claim must be well prepared and substantiated with relevant medical reports and documented work limitations for the best chance of approval. If your claim is denied, your attorney will work with you to file an appeal. Relying on the skill and expertise of legal counsel familiar with the Social Security Benefits process is essential.

How a Michigan SSDI Benefits Attorney Can Help You

Navigating the complex rules and regulations of Social Security benefits for heart conditions is challenging. The last complication you need when struggling with reduced income or unemployment due to a health ailment is to go through the disability process alone. The monetary benefits and insurance that accompany a disability claim can be life-changing and you will want an experienced, compassionate team of attorneys on your side from the start. 

When you work with the SSDI legal team at our office, you can feel confident that we will put our expertise and resources to work for you. Contact our office today for a free comprehensive case review with an experienced Michigan SSDI benefits attorney.

Why Do I Need a Medical Expert in My SSD Case?

When you apply for Social Security Disability benefits, you have to meet the Social Security Administration’s requirements for determining that you are sufficiently impaired by your illness or injury. This rule applies to disability applications, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. A medical expert can be useful in building your case for benefits.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses the Listing of Impairments – Adult Listings, also called the Blue Book, to evaluate the severity of your medical condition. The Blue Book contains highly technical criteria, including specific test results, the SSA uses to measure your level of impairment. A Michigan SSDI attorney can guide you through the application process and answer your questions, such as, “Why do I need a medical expert in my SSD case?

Evidence the SSA Requires to Process SSD Benefits Applications

You have to prove to the SSA that you have a significant medical condition and that the illness or injury is severe enough to impair your ability to function. The SSA requires credible medical evidence in order to establish or prove both of these factors. 

First, you have to submit or allow the SSA to access copies of your medical records, also called “objective medical evidence” from an “acceptable medical source” to prove that you have the medical condition. Once you convince SSA that you have a significant medical condition that they consider potentially disabling, you then have to show that your illness or injury is severe enough to interfere with your ability to work and support yourself.

Usually, the medical evidence comes from the records of medical professionals like doctors, hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare providers and facilities. These records are kept to track your medical visits, and include important factors that will be considered in your disability claim, such as symptoms, diagnoses, exam findings, test results and more. When evaluating the extent of your impairment, SSA will also review other statements from non-medical sources, like your testimony, your friends and family members, people from your place of employment, neighbors, caregivers, and public or private social welfare agency personnel, for example. These medical and non-medical statements and evidence may be viewed favorably, or unfavorably, in your case, depending on what information is contained and other factors as well, such as consistency and supportability with other reports and findings. 

How a Medical Expert Can Help in Your SSD Claim

A medical expert can provide testimony SSA needs to determine the existence and severity of your medical condition. The Blue Book contains minimum thresholds for hundreds of specific medical conditions. SSA also allows people to apply for SSD benefits if they have an impairment from an injury or illness not contained in the Blue Book. 

In that situation, SSA must find that the medical condition(s) is as severe and disabling as some other condition in the Blue Book. These applications are an uphill battle, so a medical expert can help in the process by providing expert testimony to build your case for SSD benefits. Even in cases that fall neatly into a disease contained in the Blue Book, the SSA denies the vast majority of applications for SSDI or SSI benefits on the initial filing.

Most cases have to go through at least one level of the appeals process before the disabled person gets awarded SSDI or SSI benefits. A Michigan SSDI attorney can help you prepare your disability benefits application to reduce the likelihood of a denial of benefits. An experienced disability firm in Michigan, like Disability Law Group, can help you navigate the complex disability process and help obtain all supportive evidence – from medical and non-medical sources – to help increase your chances of being approved the first time around.  Contact our office today.

Can You Apply for Disability Benefits When You Lose Your Job?

Yes, it is true that you can apply for disability benefits when you lose your job. However, in order to be approved, you must meet all the eligibility requirements for the benefits programs. If you are able to work, the Social Security Administration (SSA) can deny your application for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Therefore, the first factor SSA considers in the disability evaluation process is whether you are able to sustain substantial gainful activity level employment, even if not full-time, which is considered a high burden for applicants to meet. 

The disability benefits process can be challenging. Most people have to go through at least one appeal to get the benefits they deserve. A Michigan SSDI attorney can guide you through this process and advocate for you.

How to Qualify for SSDI Benefits

Contrary to what many people think, having a severe illness or injury is not enough to collect SSDI benefits. SSDI is an insurance program that gets its funding from payroll deductions for Social Security. When your employer takes money out of your paycheck and sends it to the Social Security Administration (SSA), you pay into this system. Think of the payroll withholding as paying insurance premiums.

For every three-month block that you work at a job that pays Social Security taxes, you can earn one “work credit.” When you accumulate enough work credits, you can become eligible for SSDI. If you did not pay into the Social Security system, you cannot qualify for SSDI benefits.

Work credits are only one factor the SSA considers when evaluating SSDI applications. Some other elements needed for SSDI benefits include:

  • Your medical condition must last for at least one year or be terminal. If your doctor expects you to recover from your physical or mental illness or injury in less than a year, you are not eligible for SSDI benefits.
  • Your medical condition must meet the severity tests of the Adult Listing of Impairments, also called the Blue Book. The Blue Book contains technical “yardsticks,” such as specific lab test results, that measure how severe an illness is.
  • You must be unable to work for a living because of your medical condition. If you make more money than the earnings limit, the SSA will declare that you are not disabled.
  • The SSA does not pay benefits for partial disability. You must be 100 percent disabled to qualify for SSDI. This factor means that you cannot perform any type of substantial work to support yourself.

The technical work credits requirement is frequently the factor that makes people ineligible for SSDI benefits. However, fortunately for many people who do not meet the SSDI technical criteria, Congress has created a safety net for people in this situation: Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

The Eligibility Requirements for SSI Benefits

The disability severity rules are the same for both SSDI and SSI. Your severe medical condition must still meet the same requirements in order to be found disabled under both programs, including last for at least one year or be expected to last one year or result in death, and make you unable to support yourself through gainful employment, for example. 

The differences between SSDI and SSI are:

  • You do not need to have accumulated work credits to qualify for SSI.
  • SSDI has no assets limit, but you can only get SSI if you have very low financial resources.
  • In addition to the earnings limit for SSDI, all of your countable income reduces the amount of your SSI check. A person who has more than a few hundred dollars a month of countable income is unlikely to collect much in SSI benefits if anything.

The rules for these programs can be complicated. But, you should not allow the application and appeal complexities deter you from securing the benefits that you deserve. A Michigan SSDI attorney can help you go after disability benefits you are owed. At Disability Law Group, we are here to help you. Let our team of expert attorneys and caring staff put our years of experience exclusively specializing in disability claims help you win the benefits you need. Contact our office today.

Applying for Disability Benefits with COPD

The CDC estimates that nearly 16 million Americans are affected by Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD), an inflammatory lung disease-causing restricted airflow and difficulty breathing.

COPD sufferers are often plagued with severe shortness of breath, respiratory infections, and chronic fatigue, rendering them unable to engage in any substantive physical activity or income-producing work. 

If COPD is limiting your quality of life and interfering with your ability to work, you may be eligible for relief through Social Security Disability benefits. 

Michigan residents applying for COPD disability benefits are encouraged to seek guidance from an experienced Michigan Social Security Disability attorney. The Social Security Disability application process is complex, and you will want help from a legal expert versed in current SSD guidelines and requirements.

Do I Qualify for COPD Disability Benefits?

Not everyone afflicted with COPD qualifies for SSD benefits. The Social Security Administration evaluates select criteria when considering SSD applications for approval. Contacting an experienced disability attorney early on in the process, or before the application is submitted, can help ensure that your application is complete and thorough which could increase your chances of approval and expedite the process.

One way to qualify for disability benefits is by meeting SSA’s criteria at Step 3 of the sequential evaluation process which looks at the Blue Book of designated ‘Listings’ that qualify your impairments as so severe that it would merit an award of disability benefits. Your COPD must meet the specific medical criteria related to age, gender, and height, as outlined in the SSA’s Blue Book to qualify. In consideration of these requirements, you will be required to submit results from one of four tests confirming the severity of your COPD:

  1. Spirometry: evaluates lung capacity
  2. DLCO: measures blood oxygen levels
  3. Oxygen saturation
  4. ABG: measures the partial pressure of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the blood

However, even if your COPD does not merit the strict criteria to be eligible for disability benefits based on SSA’s Listing of impairments, you still may qualify for disability by showing that your condition, either alone or in combination with any other impairment(s) you may have, would preclude your ability to work at a substantially gainful level. Every year, thousands of applicants who suffer from conditions like COPD are rejected by the SSA for insufficient medical evidence supporting their claims. A knowledgeable Social Security Disability attorney will review your medical documentation and ensure your file is complete, as well as assist with drafting condition-specific documentation to help support your case.

What Documents Does the SSA Need to Approve My COPD Disability Application?

Your Social Security Disability lawyer will assemble a comprehensive COPD claim application on your behalf. As part of the application package, your lawyer will include specific documents and records as evidence of your disability:

Medical Records and Work History:

Your medical records and work history will be used to compare the severity and limiting factors of your COPD against your ability to perform work similar to your job experience. 

Income Tax Returns:

Income tax returns will reflect your contributions to Social Security and whether you have enough credits to qualify for SSD payments. 

The more organized and thorough your documentation, the greater your odds of receiving SSD benefits from your original claim.

What If My COPD Claim for Social Security Disability Benefits Is Denied? 

Your Social Security Disability attorney can appeal your case, including at the Request for Reconsideration level or before an administrative law judge, if your claim is denied.  Some firms, like Disability Law Group, specialize in claims beyond the administrative hearing level, to include appeals before the Appeals Council and US District Court level.  In preparation for an appeal, your attorney will prepare you for testimony and brief or legal memorandum, and and present additional arguments and evidence proving your inability to work:

Medical-Vocational Allowance

A medical-vocational allowance is a global assessment of your medical health, physical limitations, education, work history, marketable skills, age, and current employment opportunities.  All of these factors are weighed together to determine what you could do to earn an income. 

RFC Reports 

RFC reports, or residual functional capacity forms, document in specific detail the physical and/or mental activities you are able or unable to do that directly impact your ability to work. 

Witness Statements

Statements from friends, family, co-workers, and work supervisors tell about your declining health and inability to perform everyday and work-related tasks due to COPD complications. 

Call a Michigan Social Security Disability Attorney Today

A progressively debilitating disease, COPD can make performing simple, everyday activities nearly impossible, including working to earn a living. Here at Disability Law Group, disability benefits is all that we do. Contact us today for a free consultation so that we can fight to help you win the benefits that you deserve. 

If COPD affects your ability to work, you may find financial relief through Social Security Disability benefits. However, the rules and regulations surrounding Social Security Disability claims are tedious and exact.

Don’t risk denial of your COPD disability claim for benefits. Consult a knowledgeable Michigan Social Security Disability attorney today for a comprehensive case review and proper handling of your COPD claim. Reach out to us today.

How Does Marriage Affect Social Security Disability?

Social Security Disability refers to two different programs, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Marriage affects these programs in different ways. SSDI and SSI each have different rules for eligibility and calculation of benefits. A Michigan Social Security Disability attorney can explain the two programs and advise you about your eligibility.

SSI Benefits and Marriage

You have to be disabled to qualify for both SSDI and SSI benefits. However, for the SSI program, in addition to proving disability under the rules, you must be under the resource and asset threshold. In other words, you must be low in resources and assets with few countable financial resources. For a married couple, the Social Security Administration (SSA) looks at the disabled person’s income and part of the spouse’s income when evaluating eligibility for SSI. Since the income limit for SSI is quite low, having an employed spouse could make you ineligible for SSI benefits or could reduce the number of your monthly benefits.

That result might seem harsh, but SSI is only a safety net. The purpose of SSI is to keep disabled people from being entirely destitute, even if they never paid into the Social Security system through deductions from their paychecks. People who worked long enough, and recently enough,  at jobs that paid Social Security taxes can file for SSDI benefits if they become disabled. 

Getting married can reduce the amount of your monthly SSI check in other ways than countable assets. The most that a person can collect in SSI benefits in 2021 is $794 a month. If you get the maximum SSI benefit and you marry someone who is disabled and collects the maximum benefit, your check could get reduced by the SSA. Before getting married, your separate checks of $794 totaled $1,588. The maximum SSI benefit for a couple is $1,191 a month for 2021. Therefore, the combined amount a married couple receives is reduced if they both are eligible for SSI payments. The financial resources limit for SSI is $2,000 for an individual and $3,000 for a couple. However, both spouses may continue to be eligible to have Medicaid insurance coverage if approved for SSI, as well. 

How Marriage Affects SSDI Eligibility and Benefits

You become eligible for SSDI benefits by having earned enough work credits and being disabled, as well as some additional requirements. You earn work credits by working at jobs that deduct Social Security taxes from your paychecks or having a spouse who did so. Getting married does not disqualify you for SSDI benefits if you are eligible based on your work record nor will marriage result in a reduction of your SSDI benefits. 

Depending on your age, you could lose your SSDI benefits if you qualified based on your former or deceased spouse’s work credits and later marry. Still, you might be able to qualify for SSDI benefits using your new spouse’s work credits.

Getting married can impact adult disabled children who collect Disabled Adult Child benefits based on the parents’ work credits. There are some situations in which getting married does not terminate the adult disabled child’s benefits, but an experienced disability attorney can help you understand your rights and how to qualify for the benefits that you deserve. 

SSDI and SSI benefits are complicated and sometimes confusing. A Michigan Social Security Disability attorney can explain your rights and advocate on your behalf. Contact us today.

What Is Presumptive Disability?

Typically, it can take many months for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to process an application for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits. Most people have to go through at least one appeal to get the benefits they deserve. In some situations, however, the SSA can grant immediate SSI payments. The SSA calls these cases “presumptive disability” (PD). 

The applicant still has to meet the PD criteria, but the process can be much quicker than with a standard SSI application. A Michigan disability attorney can answer your questions, like “What is presumptive disability?” or “How do I apply for immediate SSI benefits?”

Medical Conditions that Qualify as a Presumptive Disability Case

Here are some examples of medical conditions that, subject to meeting the PD requirements, a person could be eligible for immediate SSI payments:

  • Total vision loss
  • Total hearing loss
  • Severe intellectual disorder in a person at least seven years old
  • End-stage renal (kidney) disease (ESRD) that requires chronic dialysis treatments
  • Down syndrome
  • Symptomatic HIV or AIDS
  • Terminal illness when the doctor anticipates death within six months and the patient is in hospice
  • The applicant has a long-term medical condition that confines the person to bed and requires the patient to use crutches, a walker, or a wheelchair.
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
  • Cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, or muscular atrophy that causes impaired speech, walking, or use of the arms or hands
  • Stroke that caused impaired walking or use of a hand or arm three months after the stroke
  • Amputation of two limbs or one leg at the hip
  • Low birth weight
  • Spinal cord injury that leaves the patient unable to walk without a walker or similar equipment

Having one of those conditions does not guarantee a person immediate SSI payments. You must also meet the financial eligibility rules about low income and limited financial resources to get approved for presumptive disability. 

Also, if you get approved for presumptive disability, these payments are temporary. You can only collect PD benefits for up to six months. If the SSA does not decide on your application within six months of the first PD payment, the presumptive disability benefits will stop until the SSA makes a decision. 

If the SSA rules on your application before the end of the six months, the PD payments will stop. Your SSI benefits will convert to regular SSI payments if the SSA approves your application. You will not have to repay the presumptive disability payments you received if the SSA denies your application for SSI benefits. 

Other Ways to Speed up the Process of Getting Disability Benefits

The SSA offers three other programs for people who need quick decisions on their disability benefit applications. These programs include:

  • The Quick Disability Determination program, that uses software to identify cases that will need very little work to approve or deny
  • The Compassionate Allowances that address many cancer cases and certain other medical conditions
  • The Terminal Illness program (TERI), for people who are getting hospice care for terminal illnesses.

A Michigan disability attorney can help you navigate the disability benefits application process. Contact us today.

Will My SSDI or SSI Benefits Transfer Between States?

There are two programs that the federal government operates to provide financial support to individuals who are disabled. The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers both programs. The approval process can be complicated, and many people get help from a Michigan disability attorney to get the disability benefits they deserve as quickly as possible. After you receive your Social Security disability benefits, the benefits should continue as long as you are disabled, even if you move to a different state (and possibly even a different country depending on where and the type of benefit you receive).

Social Security Disability Benefits Are Federal Benefits

SSDI and SSI are federal disability benefits. SSA handles those benefits for the federal government. States are not involved in the process of obtaining, receiving, or continuing Social Security Disability Income nor Supplemental Security Income other than through contract work through SSA. 

Therefore, if you choose to move to another state, your SSDI and SSI benefits should continue without interruption. The SSA pays most individuals their disability benefits through direct deposit. As long as you keep your bank account open, you should continue receiving your disability payments that way. Individuals who have been approved for SSDI and SSI may also opt to have a card issued through SSA that they can access their disability funds through or a paper check instead of direct deposit to a bank account.

You do need to notify the SSA of your new mailing address, however, if you move and are receiving disability payments. If you want to open a new bank account to receive your SSDI or SSI payments, you also need to notify the SSA and request that the SSA begin making direct deposits to your new bank account.

State Medicaid Benefits and Social Security Disability Benefits 

When you receive SSI benefits, you also qualify for Medicaid benefits. Medicaid is a state-administered health insurance plan. Therefore, you will need to apply for Medicaid in the state you are moving to once you have moved. Medicaid programs vary from state to state, so your Medicaid benefits could change depending on the state to which you are moving. A disability attorney experienced in disability law and processes can walk you through what to do for SSI and Medicaid entitlement. 

Your Social Security Disability Benefits Could Decrease

If you intend to live with another person or persons, your disability benefits could decrease or altogether cease depending on the household situation and disability benefit that you are receiving. SSDI benefits are based on your work history and income. Therefore, if you receive SSDI benefits, those benefits should not change if you move, even if you move to another state.

However, the Social Security Administration bases SSI benefits on financial need. It considers all your resources, including the financial support you receive from another person, including a spouse or someone you live with. Therefore, if the other person pays a portion of the rent, utilities, and other household expenses, your SSI payments could decrease. A Michigan based disability attorney can help you understand how your living situation may impact your disability benefit. 

You are required by law to report any changes in your finances. If you fail to report the change to the SSA, you could lose your benefits if the SSA discovers the change. If your benefits continue, the SSA may deduct an amount from each monthly payment until you reimburse the SSA for the overpayment of benefits from the date of your move to the date the SSA discovers the change in finances.

Contact a Michigan Disability Attorney if You Have Questions About Social Security Disability Benefits

The SSA denies many applications for SSI and SSDI benefits on the first review. The reasons for denial vary but often include lack of medical evidence or insufficient information. If your application for SSI or SSDI benefits has been denied, talk to a Michigan disability attorney immediately about your options for appealing the disability denial. Contact us today