Today we welcome guest blogger Bryan MacMurry from the Disability Benefits Help. Disability Benefits Help provides information about disability benefits and the application process.
Helping a Loved One Apply for Social Security Disability
As a caregiver, you’ve probably helped your loved one with various types of paperwork related to their medical condition. If they have become so debilitated due to a mental or physical ailment that they are no longer able to work, they will probably require your assistance in applying for Social Security Administration (SSA) disability benefits.
Here are some things you should know about SSA benefits. These insights will help you determine which program your loved one is eligible for as well as the steps that need to be taken to complete the application process.
What Disability Benefits Are Available?
In order to qualify for Social Security Disability, a person must be completely disabled, which means that they must be unable to perform any kind of substantial gainful activity and their disability is expected to last for at least a year or to end in their death.
The SSA has two support programs intended to help people with diagnosed disability support themselves financially and have access to the medical treatment they need. Each program is meant for a different type of applicant but both of them will pay monthly cash benefits to those reswho meet the medical criteria required for eligibility.
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): This program pays benefits to disabled workers based on their past earnings. To be eligible for SSDI, your loved one must have worked a certain number of years prior to becoming disabled and paid into Social Security. Once approved, he or she will be eligible for Medicare coverage after two years.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI): This program is “means-tested,” meaning that it is intended for those in financial need. Applicants must have less than $2,000 in assets and a highly limited income, which makes SSI a program geared more toward children and the elderly. SSI recipients can also receive Medicaid in their state.
Medically Qualifying for Disability Benefits
When your loved one applies for disability, the SSA will evaluate his or her eligibility by consulting the Blue Book, which is its official publication of disabling conditions. The Blue Book, which has one section for children and another for adults, requires an applicant to meet the listed criteria of a disabling condition in order to qualify for benefits.
When you help your loved one apply, you will also have to collect and submit medical documentation that confirms his or her diagnosis and outlines their treatment history. Their treating physician will fill out a residual functional capacity (RFC) form, which the SSA will use to evaluate how the applicant’s illness has affected their ability to maintain gainful employment. SSI applicants will have to be interviewed by a SSA representative, so prepare to be present to provide any necessary support.
The Compassionate Allowances Program
Applicants with certain disabilities can be automatically qualified as disabled and have their applications fast-tracked via the Compassionate Allowances program. These conditions include breast cancer, acute leukemia, heart transplant graft failure, and mixed dementias.
Qualifying for Benefits With a Medical-Vocational Allowance
If your loved one does not meet any Blue Book listing but his or her RFC analysis indicates that they are unable to maintain gainful employment, they may still qualify for SSD benefits under a medical vocational allowance system. The SSA will review all medical documentation to evaluate how the illness has hindered their ability to perform daily activities as well as functions related to jobs they are trained and qualified for. If the SSA concludes that their symptoms leave them significantly impaired, they may be granted disability benefits under a medical-vocational allowance. This program is intended for those who are genuinely unable to work but could not meet a Blue Book listing.
For more information about applying for SSA disability benefits on behalf of a disabled loved one, please visit the SSA website at https://www.ssa.gov/, schedule an appointment at your closest SSA office, or call 1-800-772-1213. Monthly disability payments will make it easier for your loved one to meet his or her medical and financial needs, which will give both of you peace of mind.
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