Am I Disabled?

Social Security Disability. Social Security defines being disabled as an inability to work fulltime in any Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”) by reason of your impairment(s), mental and/or physical, which is expected either to result in death, or to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months.

1. Social Security disability (“SSDI” or sometimes called T2 or Title II). If your are disabled as defined above, and if you have worked ‘recently enough’ and ‘long enough’ as set out in the table below, then you can receive disability benefits based upon your work record.

Age Age Quarters of Coverage
In or before the quarter you turn age 24. 1.5 years of work during the three-year period ending with a quarter your disability began.
In the quarter after you turn age 24, but before the quarter you turn age 31. Work during one half the time for the period beginning with the quarter after you turned 21 and ending with the quarter you became disabled.
In the quarter you turn age, 31 or later. Work during 5 years out of the 10 year period ending with the quarter your disability began.

Your monthly benefit for SSDI is based not on your financial need or medical expenses, but upon your FICA contributions.

Family Members. Additionally the following family members may get benefits because you are disabled: Your spouse who is age 62 or older, Your spouse if she is caring for your child who is younger than age 16, and Your unmarried child including an adopted child, step child or grandchild who is younger than 18 or younger than 19 if still in high school.

Primary Insurance Amount (“PIA”) Your monthly benefit amount is called the Primary Insurance Amount (“PIA”). This amount is calculated by Social Security based upon your earnings.

Social Security Statement showing the estimated amount of your benefits. You can obtain a current Social Security Statement with an estimate of your retirement, disability, and survivors benefits at Social Security’s website:

Auxiliary Benefits. Your family may also receive Auxiliary benefits, which are divided among your spouse and your minor children under age 16, and minor children under age 18 unless the child is still in high school, and under age 19.

2. Disabled Widows or Widower’s benefits (“DWB”) . A disabled widow or widower who is at least age 50, who became disabled within seven years of the latest of: His/her deceased insured spouses death, or the last month you were entitled to mother’s or father’s benefits on your deceases spouses record, or the month your previous entitlement to disabled widow or widower’s benefits ended because your disability ended. .

3. Disabled adult child benefits (“DAC”). He or she must meet the adult definition for disability prior to age 22, be at lease age 18, unmarried, and who is the child of an insured parent entitled to Retirement Insurance Benefits (“RIB”), Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”), or is deceased, but insured under Social Security.

The adult child does not have to have worked since benefits are based upon the parents earnings.

The adult child can be adopted, or in some cases the stepchild, grandchild or step grandchild.

4. Supplemental Security Income (“SSI” or sometimes called Title 16 or Title XVI). This is a welfare entitlement program available to anyone legally in the United States. You must be disabled. You must have limited income and resources. Your home and one vehicle are not counted as resources. If you are married you must have less than $3,000 in resources. If you are single you must have less than $2,000 in resources. Social security will also look at your spouse’s income, or if you are living in a household of another the income that person brings in.

Benefits are paid the month following your becoming disabled, or have filed your application, whichever occurs last.

For 2012 the maximum SSI benefit is $694 per month in Colorado. The SSI benefit amounts vary from state to state.

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