If you are considering filing for Social Security disability, there are a few things you need to understand and consider before moving forward.

You first need to be aware that there are two programs that pay disability benefits, Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income, known as SSI, both of which you may qualify for. Both programs are similar in that they will pay benefits to individuals found medically disabled and unable to work. Yet, Disability Insurance and SSI are also quite different.

Disability Insurance pays benefits to those who have worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes. Those individuals who have worked long enough and are "insured" will be paid monthly disability benefits if found disabled. In addition, family members may be eligible for monthly benefits as well, including spouses and children. Medicare will also be available two years after a person qualifies for monthly benefits.

SSI is a public welfare program that pays disability benefits based on financial need. Since SSI is not funded by Social Security taxes, an individual may qualify for SSI benefits despite lacking any work history. SSI is designed to assist disabled individuals meet their basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter. Furthermore, Medicaid, which is a medical insurance program that covers 100% of all medical services provided, is available immediately after a person is found disabled.

Indeed, to receive benefits in either program, an individual must be found disabled. But what does disabled mean? Unlike other programs, Social Security does not pay for short-term disability or partial disability. Instead, to be found disabled, an individual must have a medical condition that prevented him from work and has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.

Lastly, many people ask whether they can work while applying for disability. It is a great question and one that all should ponder since receiving disability benefits may take months, or even years. With that said, the short answer is yes, you can work while applying benefits. Nevertheless, it is conditioned on the gross monthly income limit of $1,000.00. In other words, if you are making more than $1,000.00 a month, before taxes, you will not qualify for any disability, regardless of your medical condition. If you are under the limit, you will not be disqualified, but you will still need to prove that you’re unable to work due to your medical condition(s).

As you can imagine, Social Security disability can be a tricky and aggravating process. It doesn’t have to be. Allow a licensed attorney to help you.

JJ Zamora

Attorney at Law