Social Security Disability provides financial support to millions of Americans in need. This service, provided by the federal government, offers monthly payments for those whose disabilities prevent them from working. Losing this support can negatively impact your life if you cannot work.
Once you’ve secured Social Security Disability, you can take a few steps to ensure you continue receiving payments. Similarly, if you’re in the process of applying, there are best practices to avoid being cut off from Social Security Disability.
How Can You Lose Access to Social Security Disability?
It’s relatively rare for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to remove someone’s benefits if they’re already receiving them. Typically, you’ll only lose access to your benefits if:
- You return to work and begin earning more than $1,350 per month (as of 2022)
- Your medical condition improves and the SSA determines that you are no longer disabled
Returning to work or overcoming your disability are positive life developments. Few are worried about losing their disability benefits if it means that they can return to work in a normal capacity.
While losing benefits after gaining them is rare, denied claims commonly ground Social Security Disability benefits before they kick in. Per the SSA, roughly 64% of all benefits claims between 2008 and 2017 were denied. If you’re facing a denied claim, it’s important to know your options. You have the right to pursue the appeals process, which includes:
- Reconsideration: During reconsideration, an SSA case worker not previously familiar with your case will review the information you’ve provided. You can also supplement your reconsideration claim with additional evidence.
- Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing: You can present your case to an ALJ and ask them to review it.
- Appeals Council: The council reviewing your claim can alter the status of your decision or re-submit your claim to an ALJ for further action.
- Civil action: If none of the previous steps yield a positive result, you can pursue a civil lawsuit in federal court.
You don’t need to handle the appeals process on your own. A Social Security Disability lawyer can act as your representative throughout this process and work towards the approval of your claim.
For a legal consultation with a lawyer serving North Carolina and South Carolina, call 828.286.3866
Ensure You Submit Your Social Security Disability Application Correctly
The first step to avoid being denied from Social Security Disability is submitting your application correctly. These are the primary steps to the application process, per the SSA:
- Review the disability checklist: The SSA disability checklist tells you which information you need to include in your application. Review this document closely to ensure you’ve gathered the correct information before submitting your application.
- Complete the online application: The SSA provides an online portal for disability applications. This portal will guide you through the application and allow you to submit your request for benefits online.
- Complete the medical release form: This document allows the SSA to review your medical information. Without it, the SSA cannot confirm your disability.
Failing to submit the required documentation or submitting inaccurate information can result in the SSA denying your claim. As an applicant, you can seek legal advice during this process. A Social Security Disability lawyer can review your application and verify the accuracy of the information you provide.
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The Two Types of Social Security Disability Benefits
Social Security Disability benefits are broken into two categories: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). These are the differences between the two types of benefits:
- SSDI: SSDI is for qualifying individuals with a disability that prevents them from working for at least one year or is expected to result in death. To qualify for SSDI, you must have a work history. This is because Social Security is like an insurance plan – when you pay taxes, you receive disability coverage.
- SSI: SSI is for those with little to no income and few assets. Typically, those who are blind, disabled, or over 65 and have few resources qualify for SSI.
Utilizing a “Spend Down” to Maintain SSI Benefits
Individuals receiving SSI can lose access to their benefits if they receive a large sum, like a gift or inheritance. These large sums can push them over the resource (total cash/assets on hand) qualification minimums.
If you’re on SSI and recently received a large sum, you can utilize a “spend-down” to ensure that you remain with SSI’s resource minimums. Per the SSA, a “spend-down” involves spending the cash that you’ve received until you’re below the resource maximum.
Note that you would need to spend the money on exempt resources, such as paying medical bills, making a rent or mortgage payment, buying a car or necessary home appliances, etc. You will likely not receive an SSI payment during the month you receive the sum, but if you spend the money immediately, you may still qualify for SSI the next month.
A lawyer can advise you further about “spend-downs” and inform you if they apply to your case.
Start Working With a Social Security Disability Lawyer Today
Are you worried about losing your Social Security Disability benefits? Our team of lawyers at Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC can review your case. We’ll explain your options to you and help you pursue an appeal if your claim was denied.
Our team is familiar with the Social Security Disability benefits process. Don’t let your questions keep you up at night. We can provide you with straightforward answers to your Social Security Disability queries. Call our office for a free case evaluation today.