After working most of your life, you deserve to finally reap the benefits of social security. However, if you have been disabled and forced out of work before retiring, you may have trouble receiving the benefits due to you. In these situations, you may apply for social security disability benefits, which often requires plenty of paperwork and potentially even legal help.
The legal team at the Law Offices of Dr. Bill LaTour has spent years helping disabled individuals collect on social security benefits, and if you need help getting what you deserve from the government, we want to talk to you. You should start by keeping the following information in mind.
What Are Social Security Disability Benefits?
With each paycheck, you can expect a little to be taken away in social security taxes. When you are old enough to retire, you can therefore expect to receive this money back as insurance after years of hard work and paying your taxes. A disability prior to official retirement, however, complicates matters. Social security disability benefits are therefore set up to cover qualifying individuals who can no longer work.
These benefits are based on your covered earnings (i.e. past wages that have been taxed), and they may be reduced if you are receiving disability benefits from another source, such as workers’ compensation. Regular income does not affect this amount.
How Are Benefits Calculated?
After meeting the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) definition of disability, the SSA will use the Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME) and Primary Insurance Amount (PIA) to calculate your specific benefits. These calculations are understandably complicated, but key differences are highlighted below.
- Average Indexed Monthly Earnings: The SSA adjusts your lifetime earnings to account for wage increases over time. In effect, AIME is used to ensure that your future payments also rise over time.
- Primary Insurance Amount: The SSA will use your AIME to calculate your PIA, which is the base amount of your particular benefits.
In order to calculate specific numbers, you should consider using a free online calculator at the SSA’s government website.
Additional Information to Keep in Mind
When it comes to social security disability benefits, you should keep the following information in mind as well.
- Back Pay: By the time you actually get approved for social security disability, you will probably be eligible for back payments. This depends on your filing date.
- Offsets: As mentioned above, offsets can occur that will reduce or eliminate your disability benefits. This typically means workers’ comp settlements, as veterans’ benefits and other insurance payments are not often included.
- Cost of Living Adjustment: Every year, the SSA adjusts benefits based on increases to the general cost of living. The change is determined by an increase to the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Contact a Lawyer for More Information on Social Security Disability
If you would like to learn more about how to apply for SSI or social security disability benefits, contact a disability lawyer at the Law Offices of Dr. Bill LaTour. At the very least we can advise you on how best to move forward with your case.