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Hattiesburg Social Security Disability Law Blog

Waiting until 67 may mean optimal use of Social Security benefits

While many people in Mississippi make an active effort to plan for their future by making wise financial decisions in their earlier years, having the additional support of Social Security benefits can be comforting. Even though people do have the option of beginning to claim their benefits as early as age 62, waiting until several years later can have significant advantages. 

What many people may not realize is that choosing when they will begin to withdraw from their Social Security is as critical a decision as any. Why? Because waiting until they are 67 years of age has so many beneficial reasons that it practically makes no sense to begin withdrawing any sooner unless there is an emergency. People who begin withdrawing as soon as they are eligible at age 62, are relinquishing the possibility of earning up to 8 percent more of an eventual monthly payout if they had chosen to wait. This amounts to between 70-80 percent more cumulative growth. 

Understanding all of the benefits you may be eligible to receive

When you are unable to work, it is a significant financial setback for your family. How can you support yourself and your loved ones if you are not able to hold a job? How can you pay for your daily needs and your health care if you are not earning an income? These are pressing questions, and if you are asking them, you could be eligible for disability benefits.

Eligibility for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration depends on your current health status, your physical capabilities and how long you expect your medical condition to last. The problem is, eligibility can be a tricky thing, especially when you may also be eligible for other types of benefits as well. If you think you may qualify for disability benefits in addition to other types of support, you may find it beneficial to seek help as you navigate these important matters.

Dispelling common misconceptions about SSDI benefits

Mississippi residents with especially debilitating disabilities may have trouble supporting themselves because they cannot work, and if you are among them, you may be trying to qualify for certain forms of assistance to help you get by. At the Davis-Morrow Law Firm, we understand that Social Security Disability Insurance is one such program that may be able to help you, and we have helped many people in your shoes better understand the benefits system and application process.

According to Everyday Health, there are a lot of common misunderstandings among Americans when it comes to the SSDI benefits process, and all the misinformation out there can make it harder for applicants to do everything correctly. Just what are some of the common misconceptions that exist regarding the SSDI benefits program?

How much can you expect to get if approved for SSDI?

Intended to help Mississippi residents with serious disabilities support themselves when unable to work, Social Security Disability Insurance is an assistance program that you may be able to utilize as a disabled person, provided you qualify. Just how much money you can expect to receive in SSDI payments will ultimately depend on certain factors, but there are some areas you can examine to get a better idea of how much you might expect to receive with each payment.

Per the Motley Fool, before you can figure out how much you might get in monthly SSDI payments, you will first need to determine whether you qualify for them. To qualify, you will first need to demonstrate how your condition meets the U.S. Social Security Administration’s highly specific definition of “disability.” Then, you will need to prove that you worked long enough in a Social Security-covered job to qualify for benefits.

How do SSI and SSDI benefits differ?

As a disabled Mississippi resident who has a disability so severe that you are unable to make a living because of it, you may be thinking about trying to obtain benefits assistance from the U.S. Social Security Administration. You may, too, have heard that there are two different types of benefits that may, depending on circumstances, be available to you, but you may be less informed about how they differ and which type might better serve your needs.

According to the National Council on Aging, the two most common benefits programs that help Americans with disabilities are Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance. SSI benefits seek to help Americans who have severe disabilities, but low income levels, get by in the absence of working.

Can a TBI qualify you for SSD benefits?

Say the words "traumatic brain injury," and most in Hattiesburg might automatically assume you mean incidents where a person is left in a vegetative state and unable to care for themselves. Yet TBIs also include things like concussions, whose symptoms are often believed to be temporary. Even mild and moderate TBIs that allow for recovery can still leave you dealing with cognitive deficits that make working to support yourself and your family difficult (if not impossible). Social Security disability benefits may indeed be available to you if you have suffered a TBI, but only if you meet the Social Security Administration's criteria. 

Per the SSA's Listing of Impairments, in order for you to qualify for disability benefits following a TBI you must demonstrate a marked limitation in physical functioning as well as impairments in any one of the following four areas: 

  • Understanding, remembering or applying information
  • Interacting with others
  • Maintaining concentration and focus
  • Managing and adapting to changes in either your circumstances or surroundings

What are 3 ways you can lose Social Security disability benefits?

As a resident of Mississippi who is currently receiving disability benefits from the U.S. Social Security Administration, you probably receive them because you have a serious, long-term disability that keeps you from being able to make a living as you otherwise would. While, generally, disability benefits are long-term in nature, there are certain circumstances that can cause your benefits to cease.

According to the Motley Fool, while there are a number of different circumstances that can cause you to become ineligible for your disability benefits, the circumstances vary based on the type of benefits you currently utilize. The things that can cause your Social Security Disability Insurance to stop, for example, are not always the same as the things that can put an end to your Supplemental Security Income.

Does a mental illness qualify you for disability benefits?

It’s commonly accepted physical disabilities can be a barrier to employment. However, mental illness as an obstacle is oftentimes overlooked. If you suffer from a mental illness, your condition could make it hard for you to find the energy to go to work. You may even think holding a steady job is impossible at this trying time in your life. When your mental illness hinders you from succeeding in a job, you might feel stuck and hopeless. Even if you’re not working, you still have bills to pay.

If that’s the case, you could potentially receive assistance through either Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). These two government programs provide people with insurance and a monthly income. According to the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services, at least 160,251 Mississippians utilize these benefits. So, you’re far from alone in your struggles.

Is your disability eligibility under review?

Even if years have passed since the Social Security Administration approved your application for disability benefits, you may have a vivid recollection of the time and effort you spent seeking approval. Perhaps the SSA rejected your initial application and you had to go through the appeals process. Fortunately, your claim was successful, and you now receive the funds you need to help with your medical and personal expenses.

Receiving a letter from the SSA advising you that your case was under review may have come as a surprise to you. In fact, you may have concerns that the SSA intends to cut off the benefits you depend on. You may find it helpful to understand the review process and your options if the SSA should decide to end your disability payments.

Eligibility requirements for those interested in SSD benefits

While people may feel strongly about the impact of their disability on their ability to retain employment, their eligibility to begin receiving and to continue to receive disability benefits from the Social Security Administration in Mississippi is only approved after considerable thought. The process whereby it is decided that a disabled person does qualify for benefits has been implemented to prevent people from taking advantage of an imperative resource for those whose disability is truly debilitating. 

According to The Motley Fool, one portion of the application process preceding a person's ability to acquire social security disability benefits is called a "recent work" test. Passing this test requires that people have worked for a minimal number of years in correlation with their age and when their disability occurred, in order to be eligible to be considered for benefits. Additionally, they must be able to prove that their disability does in fact prevent them from maintaining employment at all. 

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