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Social Security Disability and Social Security Retirement: Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ

What is Social Security Disability & Social Security Retirement?

Social Security Disability and Social Security Retirement is an insurance program providing cash to people to people over 65 and to people under 65 who cannot work.

Who distributes Social Security Disability & Social Security Retirement?

Social Security distributes Social Security Disability & Social Security Retirement.

How much can I expect to receive in Social Security Disability & Social Security Retirement?

It depends on your earnings record; the more money you (or the spouse you've depended on) earned before becoming disabled or turning 65, the higher the benefit.

What kind of earnings record must my spouse or I have to be insured?

To be insured for Social Security disability purposes, you generally need to have worked within 10 of the 20 quarter-years just before becoming disabled.

What standards will Social Security use to determine if I am disabled?

To determine disability, Social Security uses the same 5-step test that it uses for Supplemental Security Income.

These steps are:

  • First, Social Security looks to see if you're currently earning more than $700. If you are, you probably will not be considered disabled and the test stops there.
  • The second step asks if your medical problems are severe. If your medical problems are not severe, you also will not be found disabled by Social Security.
  • The third step asks if your condition is as bad as one of the conditions in a Social Security "Listing of Impairments." If your condition is on the list, Social Security will find that you are disabled.
  • The fourth step asks whether you can return to "past relevant work" you did within the past 15 years. If you can, Social Security will find that you are not disabled.
  • The fifth and final step considers your age, education, work history, and remaining capacity to do work to see if you could do work that exists in significant numbers in the national economy. If you can't, you will be found disabled.

Are there restrictions on how much income I can have and still get Social Security Disability?

No. However, if you have earned income over $700 per month, Social Security will probably decide that you are not disabled.

Is there a limit on the resources I can have and still get Social Security Disability?

No, there is no resource limit.

Are my Social Security Disability and Retirement benefits taxable?

Social Security's website says "maybe." For more information, visit www.ssa.gov and click the "Taxes and Social Security" category. SSI, however, is not taxable.

Will I receive medical coverage along with my Social Security benefits?

Generally, yes. If you are over 65, you generally get Medicare. If you are disabled and under 65, you generally start getting Medicare after you have been eligible for Social Security Disability for two years.

Last Review and Update: Jul 16, 2003