Your Social Security Approval Package (Finally, the Long Wait is Over!)
by: Lala Balattan
Back and forth to the Disability Determination Services (DDS)… Arranging and rearranging data and documents for applications, appeals and motion of requests… Monthly contacts with the Social Security Administration Claims Rep and the DDS examiner… After endless consultations with your legal counsel or representatives, after many, many series of medical consultations and examinations, and finally, after too many false hopes and expectations… Your patience and determination has been rewarded! You have received the ultimate information relating the approval of your Disability Benefit claim!
So, what now?
Usually, the letter sent to you by the SSA informing you of your claim approval will show the amount of the benefits you are to receive, as determined by the Social Security Office, and when the payments will start. The benefits due to you are to be given monthly. Generally, you must be disabled for 5 full calendar months before you can receive your disability benefits for the first time.
If it had taken you so long to wait for the approval of your benefit claims, it is also likely that you will receive certain amounts for benefits past due. This will be based on how long it took to process and resolve your case and the determined actual date your disability began. These back-payments will be given to you in lump sum – the SSI give it by installment, depending on its amount size, while the social security disability back-pay are paid in a single lump sum.
Certain medical benefits will also be received. You may receive Medicaid if your benefits are derived from supplemental security income (SSI) or Medicare if it is from the Social Security Program, also called Retirement Survivors Disability Insurance. Your medical benefits will start coming 2 years after your eligibility for benefits has been established.
Ever wonder how they come up with your package? The amount of your SSDI payment is based on the worker’s lifetime average earnings covered by the Social Security. It is adjusted each year because of changes in the cost-of-living. Reduction of the amount is based from the Workers’ Compensation payments (including Black Lung payments) and/or public disability benefits, for example certain state, and civil service disability benefits. Other income or resources do not affect the payment amount.
On the other hand, the SSI payment amount is based on the amount of countable income that you receive, your living arrangement, and the State where you reside. The basic monthly payment is called the “Federal Benefit Rate” (FBR). During the year 2004, FBRs are $564 per month for an eligible individual, and $846 per month for an eligible couple. These are adjusted each year depending on the changes in the cost-of-living rates. “State Supplement” are also additional amounts paid to some by their state. The amounts and qualifications for this vary on each state.
SSI payment amount is figured by adding up your FBR and State Supplement, if any, and then subtract your countable income.
Start enjoying your benefits and remember, folks, spend wisely!
About The Author
Lala B. is a 26 year-old Communication Arts graduate, with a major in Journalism. Right after graduating last 1999, she worked for one year as a clerk then became a Research, Publication and Documentation Program Director at a non-government organization, which focuses on the rights, interests and welfare of workers for about four years.
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