When Do My Disability Benefits Start?
If your application is approved, your first Social Security benefits will be paid for the sixth full month after the date your disability began. For example, if Social Securitys finds that your disability began on January 15, your first disability benefit will be paid for the month of July. Because Social Security benefits are paid in the month following the month for which they're due, you would receive your July benefit in August.
How Much Will I Get From Social Security?
The amount of your monthly disability benefit is based on your lifetime average earnings covered by Social Security. If you would like an estimate of your disability benefit, you can request a Social Security Statement that displays your earnings record and provides an estimate of your disability benefit. It will also include estimates of retirement and survivors benefits which you and your family may be eligible to receive now and in the future. The request form is available by calling or visiting Social Security. You can also type www.ssa.gov to get the form from the Social Security Internet website.
How Do Other Payments Affect My Benefits?
Eligibility for other government benefits can affect the amount of your Social Security benefits. The following publications provide more information and are available from Social Security.
- How Workers' Compensation And Other Disability Payments May Affect Your Benefits (Publication No. 05-10018).
- The Windfall Elimination Provision (Publication No. 05-10045.)
- Government Pension Offset (Publication No. 05-10007), a law that affects spouse's or widow(er)'s benefits.
If you have additional questions, contact your local Security Security office, or call The Social Security Administration toll-free at 1-800-772-1213.
Are Benefits Taxed?
Some people have to pay federal income taxes on their Social Security benefits. This usually happens only if your total income is high. At the end of the year, you will receive a Social Security Benefit Statement (Form SSA-1099) showing the amount of benefits you received. Use the statement to complete your federal income tax return if any of your benefits are subject to tax. For more information about this tax, ask the Internal Revenue Service for a copy of Publication 915. Also, you may choose to have federal taxes withheld from your benefits.
Can I Get Medicare If I'm Disabled?
Social Security will automatically enroll you in Medicare after you get disability benefits for two years.
Medicare has two parts-hospital insurance and medical insurance. Hospital insurance helps pay hospital bills and some follow-up care. The taxes you paid while you were working financed this coverage, so it's free. The other part of Medicare, medical insurance, helps pay doctors' bills and other services. You will pay a monthly premium for this coverage if you want it. Most people have both parts of Medicare.
Help For Low-Income Medicare Beneficiaries
If you get Medicare and have low income and few resources, your state may pay your Medicare premiums and, in some cases, other "out-of-pocket" Medicare expenses such as deductibles and coinsurance. Only your state can decide if you qualify. To find out if you do, contact your state or local welfare office or Medicaid agency. For more general information about the program, contact Social Security and ask for the leaflet, Medicare Savings Programs (HCFA Publication No. 10126).
Is My Case Reviewed?
In general, your benefits will continue as long as you are disabled. However, Social Security will review your case periodically to see if you are still disabled. The frequency of the reviews depends on the expectation of recovery.
- If medical improvement is "expected," your case normally will be reviewed within six to 18 months.
- If medical improvement is "possible," your case normally will be reviewed no sooner than three years.
- If medical improvement is "not expected," your case normally will be reviewed no sooner than seven years.
What Can Cause Benefits To Stop?
There are two things that can cause Social Security to decide that you are no longer disabled and to stop your benefits.
Your benefits will stop if you work at a level Social Security considers "substantial." Usually, average earnings of $780 or more a month are considered substantial.
Your disability benefits also will stop if Social Security decides that your medical condition has improved to the point that you are no longer disabled.
You must promptly report any improvement in your condition, your return to work and certain other events as long as you are receiving benefits. These responsibilities are explained in the booklet you will receive when benefits start.