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Understanding Social Security Disability

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Understanding Social Security Disability

  • Who is eligible?
  • What injuries qualify?
  • Available Benefits?

Disability is an often misunderstood term. Many people who are disabled don’t know they are eligible for financial support, while others believe that lesser health issues entitle them to benefits. Understanding disability according to the federal government’s Social Security law and the State of South Carolina is important if you or someone you love is unable to work because of a medical condition.

The application process can be complicated, and more than half of the applicants are initially denied their benefits. If you or someone you care about has been denied Social Security benefits, contact The Louthian Firm Accident & Injury Lawyers today toll free at 803-592-6231. You can also contact us online for a free consultation. We can help residents of Columbia, Orangeburg, Lexington, Aiken, Sumter, Charleston, Irmo, Myrtle Beach, Richland County, Rock Hill and across South Carolina get the benefits deserved.

Types of Disability

The Social Security Administration maintains two different programs for disabled people. Both types of disability require that certain criteria be met in order to qualify for benefits.

  • Social Security Disability (SSD) offers financial assistance to people who have previously been employed and have paid into the Social Security system, but who have become disabled to the point where working is no longer possible.
  • The second type of disability assistance is called Supplementary Security Income, or SSI, and is available for people who are disabled but have not worked enough to qualify for Social Security Disability, and who have limited income, property and other financial resources.
According to the Social Security Administration, a “disability” means that you have a physical or mental problem that prevents you from working for at least one year, or which will result in your death.

If you have worked and paid into Social Security and your disability meets the definition, benefits may be payable to you, your dependent children, and your widowed spouse after your death. Social Security Disability benefits are intended to continue for as long as your disability lasts and they can commence at any age. If you are disabled and receiving Social Security Disability and turn 65 years old, they become retirement benefits, but the amount does not change.

SSI Disability Benefits

SSI, or Supplementary Security Income, also requires that your disability meet the same criteria. However, SSI is available even if you have not paid sufficiently into the Social Security system through your employment. Instead of a specific work history, the additional requirements for eligibility are related to your income and resources. For example, if you are single and disabled, and you own no more than $2,000 worth of goods in addition to your home and its lot, you may be eligible for SSI. If you are married, you can own $3,000 worth of goods in addition to your home. Determining what counts toward those $2,000 or $3,000 limits can vary; furniture and cars may or may not count, but stocks and bonds generally do.

Spousal Eligibility for Disability

While Social Security Disability and SSI are the two primary programs available for disabled persons, dependents and spouses may also be eligible for benefits. For instance, when someone who has worked and is entitled to Social Security benefits dies, the spouse may qualify for survivor benefits if age 60 or older, or, if he or she is disabled, they are entitled to widow or widower benefits beginning at age 50.

Disability Eligibility for Children in S.C.

Children are also eligible for benefits – children who have a severe physical or mental ailment that is expected to last at least one year or is terminal may qualify for SSI, depending upon their family resources. If children meet the definition of disabled prior to their 22nd birthday, those benefits may extent past childhood. Children under the age of 18 who are not disabled but who are the dependents of parents who receive Social Security Disability may also receive benefits.

Disability assistance exists in different forms, but you must understand your rights and your qualifications in order to apply for and receive benefits. Many people who are eligible are denied benefits.

Appealing Your Disability Denial

If your claim for disability has been rejected, contact the Social Security attorneys at The Louthian Firm Accident & Injury Lawyers as soon as possible. We can help residents of Columbia, Orangeburg, Lexington, Aiken, Sumter and throughout South Carolina get the appeals process moving quickly, preserve your right to an appeal and bring the balance of power back to your side. We’ve represented injured South Carolinians in government and court proceedings since 1959, and we understand how to get you the best possible result.

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