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

Why Do People Get Denied Social Security Disability Benefits?

Most people who apply for Social Security disability benefits get denied on the initial application. If you understand why people get denied Social Security disability benefits, you might be able to avoid making a mistake that could force you to go through an appeal process to get the benefits you deserve. A Michigan Social Security disability lawyer can help you prepare your initial application or handle your appeal.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) says that these are some of the reasons they deny applications for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits:

Duration of the Impairment

The medical experts do not expect the impairment to last for at least 12 months. Social Security disability benefits are available only for long-term medical disorders. If the applicant’s condition is not likely to last for at least one year or result in the person’s death, he will not qualify for SSDI or SSI benefits.

Severity of the Impairment

The impairment does not meet the severity standards of the Listing of Impairments, also called the Blue Book. The SSA uses this reference tool to determine an applicant’s medical condition is severe enough to warrant disability benefits.

Ability to Work

If the applicant can perform the tasks of his current job, he will not qualify for disability benefits. You must be 100 percent disabled to qualify for SSDI or SSI. Having to struggle to maintain your job is not enough, as long as you can make more money than that year’s earnings limit.

Ability to Perform a Different Kind of Work

You might not be able to perform your current or any previous job, but the SSA will not stop there. They will explore whether you could go into a different line of work if you completed additional education or job training. The requirement to change your career depends on your age. Older workers are less likely to have to reinvent themselves.

Drug Addiction or Alcoholism

The SSA has strict rules about what impairments will qualify for SSDI or SSI benefits if the applicant has alcoholism or another drug addiction. Having an addiction will not, by itself, make a person eligible for disability benefits.

Provides Insufficient Medical Evidence of the Impairment

The SSA requires applicants to submit enough medical evidence to prove the extent and severity of the disease or injury. The Blue Book provides some guidance as to what the SSA expects for different medical conditions, but they can require additional diagnostic and treatment information as well. 

Applicant Does Not Cooperate with the SSA Evaluators

It is easy to understand why a person would get frustrated when dealing with the SSA on a disability claim. Even when things go smoothly, it can take a year or longer for the SSA to process the application. Most people who receive SSDI or SSI benefits had to go through at least one appeal to get declared disabled and eligible for benefits. Try to be patient. If you do not cooperate with the SSA evaluators, they can deny your application for that reason. 

Failure to Follow Prescribed Treatment

If an applicant does not follow the treating doctor’s orders about treatment for the medical condition, the SSA can deny the disability claim. The SSA will justify the denial by saying that you might have more function and ability to work if you completed the treatment your doctor prescribed.

Returning to Work

If an applicant returns to substantial work while the claim is pending, the SSA can deny the claim. You must be 100 percent disabled to receive SSDI or SSI benefits, so returning to work means that the person is not disabled. 

Other Reasons for Denial

You must have worked at jobs that paid into the Social Security system to qualify for SSDI benefits. The deductions from your paychecks help to fund the SSDI program. Think of those Social Security taxes as insurance premiums. If you did not pay insurance premiums, you cannot collect benefits. What’s more, you have to have worked not only long enough but recently enough to when your disability began in order to be considered “technically” eligible for SSDI benefits. 

The SSI program requires recipients to have very low income and few assets. The SSI program is a safety net for disabled people who do not qualify for SSDI because they did not work long enough at Social Security-participating jobs.

The application process for Social Security disability benefits is long and difficult. It can help to work with a Michigan Social Security disability lawyer who understands the process and knows what it takes to help you be approved as quickly as possible. Our staff will work with you, and your medical team, to ensure that all medical records are submitted for your case, including detailed Medical Source Statements that we draft for each client, to help position you in the best way possible to be approved.  Contact us today. 

 

What to Expect at Your SSD/SSI Appeals Hearing in Michigan

If your application for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) got denied, you have a right to appeal that decision. There are four levels of appeal that we specialize in here at Disability Law Group: 

  1. Request a reconsideration of the decision 
  2. Have a hearing in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ) 
  3. Get a review by the Appeals Council 
  4. File for a review by a federal court 

If you have a hearing scheduled with an administrative law judge, it could be useful to know what to expect at your SSD/SSI appeals hearing. An experienced Michigan SSD/SSI attorney could help you through all four levels of appeal. 

The Appeals Hearing

Once you request a hearing on your appeal, the Social Security Administration (SSA) might ask you to give them more information about your claim or to clarify things in your file. Also, you can take a look at the items in your file and add new information. 

You can have a representative attend the hearing with you. An attorney who has extensive experience specializing in disability claims can help you at every step of the way, including at the hearing to be sure your file is complete, supportive evidence is obtained, and all relevant arguments are presented. You can have medical or vocational experts participate in the hearing. In most adult hearings, a vocational expert will be part of the process to provide testimony. The administrative law judge will question you during the hearing and any witnesses you may have at the hearing. You or your representative may also ask questions of any of the witnesses. 

The hearing follows a structure similar to that of a traditional hearing in a courtroom. However, unlike the trials that you see on TV, or may have experience with yourself, the disability hearings before an administrative law judge are much more informal. Whether your hearing takes place in person or by video teleconference, or even by phone in some cases, it is usually to your advantage to be a part of the hearing so that you have the opportunity to present testimony to support your case and give additional helpful details. 

People seldom get a decision from the judge at the hearing. The judge will review any new information you submitted as well as the file on record, your testimony, and the testimony of any witnesses who participated in the hearing. The judge will make a ruling and write a decision. The SSA will send you a letter and a copy of the decision. 

Types of SSD/SSI Appeals Hearings

Typically, the Office of Hearings Operations (OHO) holds SSD/SSI appeals hearings in person or by video teleconference. If you have extremely unusual circumstances, you might be able to have your hearing by telephone. While an in-person hearing is typically most ideal, there may be some situations where a video or telephone hearing may be recommended. However, each option presents unique differences and it is important to consult with an experienced attorney about the advantages or disadvantages given your situation and the facts of your case before making your decision. 

COVID-19 and SSD/SSI Hearings

Because of COVID-19, the traditional ways of handling hearings have changed temporarily.  You will want to confer with your lawyer to find out how and where and how your hearing will take place. Also, please the procedures outlined in this article might get changed temporarily because of COVID-19. Our attorneys are staying up-to-date on policy changes with each Social Security and hearing office, and are taking advantage of new options and technologies to expedite and optimize the process for our clients.

Appeals Hearing About Medical and Non-Medical Determinations 

If you were denied benefits and the SSA ruled against you in the reconsideration, you can request a hearing, either for a medical determination or a non-medical determination. The administrative law judge who handles your hearing will not have participated in any earlier stage of the process. At a hearing, new evidence can be obtained and submitted to help support your case and ensure that you are being given your day in court. 

Most people have to go through at least one stage of appeals to get SSD/SSI benefits. Contact one of our disability attorneys today. Our Michigan SSD/SSI attorneys can help you go after the benefits you deserve.

Parkinson’s Disease and Social Security Disability Benefits

Approximately one million people in the United States are affected by Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease is a medical disorder that is characterized by symptoms like stiffness, tremors, impaired movement, and instability. Parkinson’s disease is part of a group of neurological disorders known as Parkinsonian syndrome. If you suffer from Parkinson’s disease, you may be entitled to Social Security disability benefits. In order to determine your eligibility, please review the information below and contact a Michigan disability law attorney as soon as possible.  

Symptoms

Common symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include:

  • Difficulty writing
  • Tremors or shaking
  • Slowed movement 
  • Rigid muscles 
  • Impaired posture 
  • Impaired balance
  • Decreased ability to perform unconscious movements.
  • Changes in speech

Diagnosis 

Parkinson’s disease is diagnosed based on a patient’s medical history, symptoms, and a neurological and physical examination. The following symptoms must be present over a certain period in order for a physician to diagnose a patient with Parkinson’s disease:

  • Tremors or shaking
  • Bradykinesia (slowed movement)
  • Stiffness in the limbs or body
  • Problems with balance 

Qualifying for benefits  

In order to qualify for Social Security disability benefits for Parkinson’s disease, Social Security follows a 5-step evaluation process that looks at a variety of factors. The first two steps focus on whether the claimant is working at substantial gainful activity levels and, if not, whether the medical condition(s) are severe in that they cause significant work-related limitations. At step three, an applicant could qualify for disability benefits if they exhibit the following symptoms for a minimum of three consecutive months based on their Parksinon’s disease:

  • The inability to control motion in two limbs, resulting in extreme limitations in the ability to balance, stand up from sitting, or use the upper limbs; 

OR

  • Physical limitations problems in one of the following areas:
    • Remembering, understanding, or applying information;
    • Interacting with other people;
    • Concentrating, maintaining pace, or persisting; or
    • Managing oneself.

Documentation required  

In order to demonstrate the above symptoms, an applicant should provide both medical and non-medical evidence to the Social Security Administration. Common documentation includes:

  • Medical history
  • Examination findings
  • Lab test results
  • Medical imaging test results
  • Descriptions of treatments 
  • Descriptions of responses to treatments
  • Statements by medical providers describing the applicant’s restrictions, limitations, daily activities, and how the applicant’s condition affects his or her ability to work.

However, if an applicant fails to meet the above criteria, he or she may still be able to qualify for Social Security disability benefits under certain circumstances. The best way to determine one’s eligibility is to contact a Social Security disability benefits attorney for guidance. 

Apply for Social Security disability benefits today 

If you suffer from Parkinson’s disease, the skilled Michigan disability law attorneys at Disability Law Group are here to help get the benefits you deserve. At Disability Law Group, our experienced attorneys will assist you with every step of the Social Security disability benefits process, from filing the initial application to appealing your denial in court if necessary. If you live in Macomb County, Oakland County, Wayne County, or elsewhere in Michigan and suffer from Parkinson’s disease, we are on your side. At Disability Law Group, disability is all we do. Please contact us as soon as possible for a free consultation. 

An Overview of Social Security Disability Benefits for Michigan Residents

The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides benefits to people who are unable to work due to disability. And although many people need Social Security disability benefits to survive, the process for obtaining these benefits can be confusing and difficult. Due to the complexity of the process, it is advisable that anyone seeking Social Security disability benefits obtain the services of a Michigan disability law attorney for assistance. Below is some additional information about Social Security disability benefits in Michigan. 

What does the SSA consider a disability?

The SSA considers a person disabled if he or she:

  • Can’t perform the type of work he or she performed prior to the medical condition;
  • Can’t transition to other work due to the medical condition;
  • Has a severe medical condition(s) that has lasted or is expected to last at least one year, or result in death.

Types of Social Security disability benefits

Social Security disability benefits are intended for people who can’t work due to disability, and there are several criteria that an individual must meet in order to qualify for these benefits.

For more information on these requirements, please contact a Michigan disability law attorney for assistance. 

Special circumstances 

Under certain circumstances, Social Security disability applicants can receive benefits without meeting the criteria described above. The following categories of people may be entitled to benefits depending on the circumstances. 

The blind – Even if an individual is not legally blind, an inability to work due to severe vision problems may entitle him or her to benefits. 

Widows and widowers – When a worker dies, his or her spouse may be eligible to receive disability benefits under certain circumstances. 

Children – Individuals who become disabled before the age of 22 and have a parent who had accumulated sufficient work credits prior to their becoming retired, on disability themselves, or deceased, may be eligible for benefits. Further, children may also be eligible for SSI at any age, depending on their condition, but this program is also means-tested.

Veterans – Veterans suffering for disability and those injured during military service may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. The SSA and the Veterans Administration (VA)  provide veterans with various benefits, including disability-based benefits.

Compassionate allowance – Finally, under the compassionate allowance program, individuals with specific serious medical conditions, such as certain cancers, brain disorders, and other rare illnesses can have their disability benefits applications expedited. A list of eligible compassionate allowance conditions is maintained by the SSA, and an experience attorney can help you navigate and expedite the disability process. 

Disability Law Attorneys in Michigan  

If you are unable to work due to a medical condition, the skilled disability law attorneys at Disability Law Group are here to help. At Disability Law Group, our experienced Michigan attorneys will assist you with every step of the Social Security disability benefits process, from filing the initial application to appealing your denial in court if necessary. If you live in Macomb County, Oakland County, Wayne County, or elsewhere in Michigan and would like to apply for disability benefits or fight a denial, we are on your side. At Disability Law Group, disability is all we do. Please contact us as soon as possible for a free consultation. 

Unemployment & Social Security Disability Benefits

Unemployed & unable to work? Social Security Disability benefits are available for people who have a medical condition that keeps you from substantially working. Check out our video below to learn about what is considered to qualify for disability benefits, and how Unemployment factors in. Call us today to speak free grammar checker with an attorney for your free consultation. 800-838-1100

How Are Social Security Disability Benefits Calculated?

The amount of Social Security disability benefits you are entitled to is based on your covered earnings, which are the wages that you paid Social Security taxes on prior to your disability. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a program that provides benefits to certain disabled individuals who are no longer able to work. In order to be eligible for SSDI, you must: (1) be insured under the SSDI program and (2) meet the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) disability definition. However, if you qualify and receive disability payments from other sources, your SSDI benefits payment may be reduced. Below is an overview of the way SSDI benefits are calculated.   

How benefits are calculated 

Although the actual formula used to calculate SSDI benefits is extremely complicated, the SSA calculates SSDI benefits by using one’s Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME) and Primary Insurance Amount (PIA). 

AIME

The first thing SSA does when calculating a benefit amount is to determine an applicant’s AIME. In order to do this, the SSA adjusts the applicant’s lifetime earnings to account for the increase in general wages that occurred during the years he or she worked. The SSA uses up to 35 of an applicant’s working years in making this determination. The SSA then takes the years with the highest indexed earnings, adds them up, and divides them by the total number of months for those years. This calculation is then rounded down to determine the applicant’s AIME.

PIA

An applicant’s Primary Insurance Amount (PIA) is the base amount of his or her benefits. The SSA uses a total of three percentages of an applicant’s AIME to determine his or her PIA. The amounts that result from this calculation are called bend points, and these are updated every year to reflect the national average wage index. For example, the PIA for an individual who becomes eligible for SSDI in 2019 is the total of the following:

  • 1.90% of the first $926 of an applicant’s average monthly earnings
  • 2.32% of an applicant’s average monthly earnings over $926 through $5,583
  • 3.15% of an applicant’s average monthly earnings over $5,583

Although the process of calculating one’s monthly SSDI benefits is complicated, the SSDI application process doesn’t have to be—particularly with the help of a Michigan disability law attorney. Therefore, if you are unable to work due to a medical condition, the skilled Michigan disability law attorneys at Disability Law Group are here to help you get the benefits you deserve. At Disability Law Group, our experienced attorneys will assist you with every step of the Social Security disability benefits process, from filing the initial application to appealing your denial in court if necessary. If you live in Macomb County, Oakland County, Wayne County, or elsewhere in Michigan and would like to apply for disability benefits or fight a denial, we are on your side. At Disability Law Group, disability is all we do. Please contact us as soon as possible for a free consultation.