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Disability Benefits

Our experienced Los Angeles Social Security disability lawyer can help you pursue your disability benefits and represent you in various review hearings and appeals regarding your claims of disability benefits.

With more than 15 years of experience in handling disability claims in California, we have assisted thousands of claimants in Los Angeles and other parts of the state to obtain and facilitate the release of their California disability claims.

As part of the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) major programs to help disabled persons, some qualified individuals are entitled to receive certain benefits depending on his eligibility and needs.

Here are disability benefits that may be available to certain qualified individuals:

Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) - Disability insurance benefits or Title II benefits are given to individuals who are unable to work at a “substantial” gainful level and their condition has existed or is expected to exist for at least a 12 month period. By “substantial,” SSA means the claimant would be unable to earn over $900.00 per month because of the claimant’s disability. This dollar amount increases slightly every year.

To be eligible for this benefit, a claimant must have worked long enough and paid enough into Social Security through their FICA taxes to be “insured.” As a general rule, if a claimant worked at least five of the last ten years, he would be “insured” for purposes of disability insurance benefit. How much a claimant receives each month if found disabled and entitled to his benefit is based on how much he had “paid into” the system during his working life.
Generally, the longer someone has worked and the higher his earnings, the more he would be paid if found disabled. Individuals found disabled and entitled to these benefits may be awarded retroactive benefits. Retroactive benefits can only go back one year from the date of the initial application. There is a five-month waiting period from the date the claimant is determined to be disabled until entitlement to these benefits begins.

Supplemental Security Income - This program, also known as SSI or Title 16 benefits, is a “needs-based” program in which individuals with little or no resources or assets may receive disability benefits. The medical criteria for SSI eligibility is the same as that used for disability insurance benefit — a physical or mental impairment which prevents you from working at a “substantial” gainful level, and the condition has existed or is expected to exist for at least a 12 month period.

An eligible SSI claimant is entitled to receive a federal maximum amount of $674 from the SSA, with an additional supplementary amount from the state. This amount may vary depending on which state you live and the claimant’s living situation. There is no retroactive eligibility for SSI benefits: benefits can go back only to the month in which the claim was filed.
Unlike the disability insurance benefit, there is no five-month waiting period for entitlement to SSI, so your eligibility would begin the month in which you filed your claim or were determined to be disabled, whichever is later. A claim for SSI benefits can also be filed on behalf of any minor children with a disability; however, as with Adult SSI claims, to be entitled to SSI benefits the household income must be below certain limits.

Disabled Adult Child - This program provides disability benefits to adult children of deceased or disabled parents. In addition to the medical requirement that you have a physical or mental impairment which prevents you from working at a “substantial” gainful level, and the condition has existed or is expected to exist for at least a 12-month period, you must also show that your condition has existed and has been disabling since before your 22nd birth date.

In addition, you must be the adult child of a parent who is currently receiving disability insurance benefits, or the Adult child of a parent who is deceased and was “insured” for purposes of eligibility for disability insurance benefits. The adult child must not have worked and earned “substantial earnings” for an extended period at any point after turning 22; however, certain expenses the adult child incurs in order to work may be excluded from these earnings. An adult child already receiving SSI benefits should check to see if benefits may be payable on a parent’s earnings record. Higher benefits might be payable and entitlement to Medicare may be possible.

Disabled Widow's/Widower's Benefits - A disabled widow or widower age 50 or older may be able to receive benefits off his/her spouse’s (or former spouse’s) Social Security record. If you are a widow or widower from a spouse you were divorced from, to be eligible for benefits you need to have been married to your spouse for 10 years or longer and your disability must have started before age 60 and within seven years of the date in which the worker died.

To make a claim for this benefit, a claimant must provide proof of relationship such as marriage certificate or divorce decree, along with your spouse’s death certificate when you file for benefits. If you file a claim for Disabled Widows/Widower’s benefits and disability insurance or SSI benefits, you will receive only the higher monthly benefit amount of the two programs.

Medicare and Medicaid - Once you are found disabled and entitled to Social Security disability benefits, you will also be eligible for medical insurance though Medicare or Medicaid. If you filed a claim for disability insurance benefit, Disabled Adult Child or Disabled Widow’s/Widower’s benefits, you may be eligible for Medicare.

However, eligibility for Medicare does not start until you have been disabled for 25 months. If you are approved for Social Security benefits under any of the above-listed programs, SSA will contact you approximately two months before your eligibility for Medicare begins. Medicare may also reimbursed expenses if you have already been disabled for 25 months, and has a record of all medical bills.

On the other hand, there is no waiting period for Medicaid; however, your income and resources must be very low to qualify. If you have applied for and have been approved for SSI you probably qualify for Medicaid. Contrary to what some people believed Medicaid and Medicare are two different programs. Medicaid is a state-run program that provides hospital and medical coverage for people with low income and little or no resources. Each state has its own rules regarding eligibility and coverage under Medicaid. Some people qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid.

Claiming for any of the mentioned types of disability benefits program of the government is no easy task. If you want your claim to be processed and pursued carefully and successfully, do not hesitate from retaining our legal representation and assistance services. Our expert Los Angeles Social Security attorneys can definitely help you get your deserved disability benefits. Call us today at (866) 998-2545 for free case analysis.

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