2022 AFBA Financial Planning Guide

12–6. DISABILITY BENEFITS. When you qualify as a disabled worker, you are entitled to receive monthly benefit payments in the same amount you would have been paid had you been retired under normal non–disability conditions. Meeting the requirements for disability benefits is not easy. To begin with, Social Security does not pay for short–term or partial disabilities. The program will provide support only if you are unable to do any kind of work for which you are suited. Specifically, to qualify for disability benefits, you must meet all of the following conditions: a. You must be under the age of 65 and meet two earnings tests (see item “d” below); and b. The degree of disability must be severe enough to prevent you from doing any substantially gainful work; and c. The disability must last (or be expected to last) for at least twelve months, or to result in death; and d. The program has two earnings tests: (1) A “recent work test” which is based upon age at the time of becoming disabled. (2) A “duration of work test” which shows that you worked long enough under Social Security. Example: A 50 year old disabled worker must have worked 5 out of 10 previous years and worked a total of 7 years under Social Security. Determinations on disability applications are made by the Social Security’s Disability Determination Service which has an office in each state. To evaluate the degree of disability, the reviewing official generally follows a five step process: Step 1: Employment. Normally you will not be considered disabled if you are working and making over $1,350 per month in 2022. Step 2: Severity of Impairment. Your condition must seriously hinder your normal work activities. Step 3: List of Disabling Impairments. The Social Security

Step 5: Other Work. The reviewing official must determine whether you can do other work that is suitable to your skills, experience, and education. If an individual receiving disability benefits dies, payments to certain family members can continue to be made. Disability benefits may also be paid to disabled children past age 18 if they were disabled before reaching the age of 22. Additionally, after receiving disability benefits for 24 months, recipients are automatically enrolled in the Medicare program discussed in paragraph 12–9. 12–7. SURVIVOR BENEFITS. When a person covered by Social Security dies, monthly benefits may be paid to certain survivors including: a. Surviving Spouses. Surviving spouses who have not remarried are eligible for reduced benefits as early as age 60 or full benefits at full retirement age or older. If your widow or widower remarries after they reach age 60 (age 50 if disabled), the remarriage will not affect their eligibility for survivors benefits. b . Children. Unmarried, surviving children who are still in primary or secondary school (up to age 19) may receive 75% of the deceased’s basic benefits. Disabled children over age 18 may also receive benefits. c. Parents. Surviving parents who received one–half of their support from the deceased may receive 75% of the deceased’s basic benefits d. Divorced Spouses. Divorced spouses who were married to the deceased for at least 10 years and have not remarried may be eligible to receive benefits. Death Benefit. A one–time death benefit of $255 may be payable to your surviving spouse or minor children provided certain requirements are met. This payment is an additional entitlement and does not affect other benefits the recipient may receive. 12–8. SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME (SSI). The SSI program is a federal initiative designed to help low income people who are 65 or older, blind, or who have a disability. Since the program is operated in conjunction with the states, the amount that can be received will vary from state to state for SSI. For 2022, the federal benefit rate is $841 for individuals and $1,261 for couples. Depending upon the situation, an individual may be able to draw both Social Security and SSI benefits. You can get more information on the SSI program by contacting the Social Security Agency at 1–800–772–1213.

Administration maintains a list of impairments that they consider to be an automatic qualifier for

disability benefits. The list can be viewed at www.ssa.gov or at any Social Security office. Step 4: Previous Work. The reviewing official must

determine whether you can do any of the work you did over the last 15 years.


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