The Basics of Social Security Disability
Very often, there’s misinformation about the Social Security Disability program. Criticisms by the press and by politicians belie the fact that it’s very difficult to get disability benefits in America. In fact, studies have show that the US disability benefits program has one of the most rigorous and difficult standards of the western democratic nations.
For Social Security, the standards for disability are as follows:
- You must be projected to be disabled for more than one year
- You must not be able to do any job you’ve had in the past 15 years
- You also must not be able to do any job in the entire national economy.
One of the most important considerations for someone about to apply for disability is the benefits rate — how much you would receive from the government. Across the nation, this is about $1150 per month — enough to survive, but it’s no gravy train.
Social Security Disability Insurance is typically not for a short-term disability, though there are “closed period” exceptions for people who have had a terrible accident that will require a long period of rehabilitation.
Over 75% of claimants are over 50 and over 30% are over 60. These older workers can’t pivot their careers to rejoin the workforce in the same way someone younger might. In addition, there’s this sobering statistic about the Social Security Disability program: 1 in 5 men and 1 in 6 women pass away within 6 years of entering the program; these are people life-changing and life-threatening disabilities that severely inhibit their lives.
Not to mention, there is a long waiting period for Social Security benefits to be approved. The initial stage, when 70% of claimants are denied, takes around 5-8 months. The three next stages can each take over a year to complete, making the total time at least two excruciating years without working to be approved.