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Social Security Eligibility and Back Pay


If an illness or injury has negatively affected your ability to work, it can be frightening to think about the possible financial issues that can arise. Thankfully, if you are in this position, you can apply for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA). The money you can receive through these benefits can offer the stress relief you need at a difficult time in your life. Keep reading to see how to determine if you qualify for disability benefits.

The Main Factors

Your eligibility for benefits is based on three specific factors: the severity of your condition, your work history and your financial situation. You will have to provide proof that your ailment and income are at a level that fits the qualifications that have been set by the SSA.

Your Medical Condition

The SSA will assign someone to review your application and make a determination if you fit their definition of “disabled”. To do so, they will consider the answers to the five questions below:

  • Are you working?
  • Is your condition severe?
  • Is your condition found on the list of disabling conditions?
  • Can you do the work you did before?
  • Is there another type of work you can do?

The answers to these questions will complete a profile that will determine if your condition impairs your ability to work to the extent that you need benefits.

Your Work History

Since disability benefits are tied into the Social Security system, only those who have paid into Social Security are eligible to receive disability benefits. Although the exact number of work credits you need changes every year, a general rule of thumb is that you need to have worked at least 40 quarters at a job that deducted Social Security taxes from your pay. Twenty of those credits need to have been earned in the past 10 years.

Your Income Level

To be eligible for benefits, your countable income must be $1,170 per month or less. Although that may seem like a low amount, it should be noted that the SSA does not count all the money you bring in as countable, so it is a good idea to check with a qualified representative to see what your countable income is.

Back Pay

It can often take 12 months or even longer after you have applied for benefits to get an affirmative answer from the SSA. During that time, you will not receive any monthly payments. However, once your claim has been accepted, you are entitled to benefits from the day your application was submitted. The SSA takes care of that money in the form of a lump-sum pack payment. It should be noted that if you hired a disability representative, his or her fee will be taken out of your back pay amount.

If you have questions regarding applying for disability benefits, contact London Disability today.

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