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Charlotte Social Security Disability Blog

SSD claims are still being processed, but beware of scammers

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused considerable anxiety among many Americans -- not just for their health but for their financial well-being. People who receive Social Security payments, including Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, may wonder if those payments will be interrupted or delayed.

Social Security Administration (SSA) Commissioner Andrew Saul recently sought to allay those fears. In a statement, he said, "The first thing you should know is that we continue to pay benefits."

Understanding SSD benefits if you're nearing retirement age

If you're one of the millions of Americans receiving Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits because an illness, injury or disability has left you unable to work, you know how much you've come to count on that money as a source of income.

What happens if you're nearing the age where you qualify for Social Security retirement benefits? In most cases, you can't get both. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will switch you from SSD benefits to retirement benefits. It's important to know when that will be.

How long will I wait for my disability benefits to start?

Not everyone with a disability is unable to work. Employers make accommodations every day to allow those with disabling conditions the chance to earn a living in areas where they have training, education and experience. In fact, most people prefer to have gainful employment as long as they have the strength and capacity to get up every morning and go to work.

Unfortunately, some disabling conditions simply do not allow one to hold a job. It may be painful to sit, stand or walk for too long. Certain medications may create drowsiness or other complications. In fact, there are countless reasons why a medical condition may leave someone no choice but to quit working and seek disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. However, when it comes to applying for benefits, timing is everything.

Getting Social Security benefits for someone with autism

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) can affect both adults and children. For some, the impact is mild. For others, autism can make it difficult to interact with people or to have a job. Adults who cannot earn a living due to their autism my qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Since a beneficiary can't qualify for SSD benefits unless they have a work history, children with autism can qualify only for SSI benefits. The same is true of adults who have never had a paying job. Many adults who are severely autistic have never been in the workforce.

Who is eligible to receive SSI benefits?

Many people aren't aware of a potential source of needed income that they or someone in their family may be eligible to get from the Social Security Administration (SSA). It's called Supplemental Security Income, or SSI. Even if someone is getting regular Social Security payments, they may be able to qualify for SSI.

The SSI program is designed to help seniors (those 65 and older) and people who are disabled or blind who need financial assistance. Unlike regular Social Security benefits or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you don't need to have held a job or paid in to the Social Security system to qualify.

Overpayments of Social Security benefit can be complex

People who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits have to pay close attention to the benefits they receive. There is a chance that they'll be overpaid at some point. When this happens, the agency is going to come after them for repayment.

There are several things that can happen when you're overpaid. You'll receive a notice that states you have a 30-day period to provide the agency with a refund of the overpayment. If you can't do this, the agency will then tell you that it is going to reduce your benefits by 10% each month until the balance is paid.

Can substance abuse prevent you from getting disability benefits?

Substance abuse, whether it involves alcohol or drugs, can cause or worsen any number of mental and physical disorders and impairments. Sometimes, people use alcohol and drugs to "self-medicate" in order to deal with mental or physical issues they already have. They too often become addicted to these substances.

If a person has a mental or physical impairment that was caused by substance abuse, can they get Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits? It depends.

Lupus and Social Security Disability benefits

Receiving the diagnosis that you have an autoimmune disease can be frightening but also feel like a relief. You have likely traveled from doctor to doctor while they worked to determine what was causing your symptoms and to rule out the most serious issues, like cancer. However, hearing that you have lupus means you may be facing radial changes in your lifestyle.

Lupus, or systemic lupus erythematosus, is not often fatal, but it can be debilitating. This means you may reach a point when you are no longer able to perform your duties at work, which may introduce a new set of problems. Where will you get an income? How will you afford health insurance? Without these, how will you obtain the medical care you need? For many, the answer is disability benefits through the Social Security Administration.

What other benefits impact the amount of SSD you can qualify for?

If you're applying for -- or already receiving -- Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, you may be receiving benefits and payments from other sources as well. Some of these other sources of income can impact how much you're entitled to receive in SSD benefits, while others may not.

These benefits may be reduced if you're receiving other government disability payments from a local, state or federal agency for a nonwork-related injury or illness. This could include temporary disability payments paid by the state or retirement benefits paid to disabled local or state government employees.

Who qualifies for fast-tracking of SSDI benefits?

Nothing in the federal government moves quickly -- and that's certainly true for the gigantic Social Security Administration (SSA), upon which so many Americans rely for a variety of benefits. However, people with certain medical conditions and situations who can qualify to get their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claims fast-tracked.

It's important to understand that "fast-tracked" is a relative term. It can still take at least five months from the beginning of your disability to start receiving payments. Of course, the more complete and compelling the medical documentation you provide is, the easier it will be to get the benefits you need within this timeframe.

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