Disability benefits are paid through the Social Security Administration to disabled workers and individuals who are considered “auxiliary beneficiaries” or children and spouses of disabled workers. These benefits are paid by the U.S. Treasury from the Disability Insurance Trust Fund. This account is funded by percentages of taxes that are received from the Self-Employed Contributions Act and the Federal Insurance Contributions Act. In order to receive benefits, individuals must meet certain criteria.
In order to be considered a disabled worker, the individual must be considered a Social Security eligible beneficiary and have worked for a long enough period of time in what is known as covered employment. Additionally, the individual must have worked for covered employment shortly before the disability began. The disability being claimed must be a medical illness or condition that prevents or will prevent the individual from working for a period of 12 months or more or may result in death.
In order for a disabled worker’s spouse to be covered, he or she must be caring for a disabled child or a child younger than 16 years of age or an individual older than 62 years of age. If a divorced spouse meets one of these requirements and was married to the worker for at least 10 years, he or she will also qualify for benefits. In order for a child to qualify, he or she must be younger than 18 years of age, a high school student who is under 19 years of age, or an adult who was deemed disabled before 22 years of age.
An individual must meet two earning requirements in order to receive disability benefits. First, the worker must pass a work test based on his or her age at the onset of the disability. Second, the individual must be assessed on whether or not he or she worked a long enough period of time according to the guidelines set forth by the Social Security Administration. Disabled individuals should seek the counsel of a Social Security disability attorney to ensure they meet both of these requirements and past the tests.
Once it has been determined that the individual meets the basic requirements for disability benefits, the case gets forwarded to the state Disability Determination Services office. This office will request further information from the individual’s doctors, hospitals, and other institutions whether they have received treatment to determine whether or not the medical condition is a covered type of disability. The office will also request information on different medical tests and treatment information.
In many cases, more information is needed to fully understand how the medical condition affects the individual’s ability to work. In these cases, the agency may request a special medical examination for the individual, which is paid for by the Social Security Administration. This test will help to determine if the individual is qualified for benefits. Those individuals who cannot work due to a severe medical condition or illness that is on the established disability diseases list will typically qualify for benefits.