Chicago Social Security Disability Insurance Requirements Overview

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can provide disabled workers with much-needed financial benefits. However, not everyone is eligible, and a successful application may require extensive documentation and close attention to detail.

For help with your SSDI application, consider reaching out to a qualified attorney. A knowledgeable lawyer could provide guidance through the application process and explain the Chicago Social Security Disability Insurance requirements that apply to your situation.

Requalifying for Disability Benefits

Disabled individuals generally must go through a review process in order to continue receiving benefits. Social Security will periodically check in on the person for updates about the state of their disability. For example, if someone is receiving Social Security disability benefits for a stroke with residual effects, Social Security needs to requalify them perhaps two or three years down the line after their initial application.

A person can continue to get benefits while they are in the review process, but they may have to submit additional supporting documentation to show that they are continuing to treat for the stroke. Social Security may ask about their symptoms to see if they have improved. If Social Security determines the disability ceased, their SSDI benefits would end.

Returning to Work

If someone who receives disability benefits decides to return to work, they may no longer be eligible for SSDI. However, just because they start working does not mean the benefits will end immediately. First, they have a trial work period.

During the trial period, an individual is allowed to work at substantial gainful activity (SGA) levels for up to nine non-consecutive months within a 60-month period. If they work for nine months within five years, whether consecutive or not, they lose their eligibility for benefits.

Work Credits

In order to be eligible for SSDI benefits, an individual must have fulfilled work requirements by earning a certain number of credits, dependent on age. In 2018, a person receives one work credit for every $1,320 of earnings, and they can receive up to a maximum of four credits per year.

If someone is disabled before the age of 24, for example, they have to have worked for one and a half years or earned six credits. At ages 24 to 30, they need credits for half the time between the age of 21 and the time they became disabled. At 31 or older, they need at least 20 credits in the ten years immediately prior to becoming disabled.

Receiving SSDI Payments

The amount of the SSDI payments are based on the lifetime average earnings of the disabled person. It is important to note that in some instances, earnings might not be counted into the lifetime average.

For example, the Chicago public school system has its own pension plan, so those teachers and staff members are not paying Social Security. If someone works five years for Chicago public schools and five years for another company where they are paying Social Security, only earnings from the other company will contribute towards disability. It is based on the individual’s lifetime average earnings that they have earned so far.

As far as how the benefits are paid, generally they are paid electronically. Direct deposit is usually the best option, but they also offer a special card or electronic transfer. For older applications prior to May of 2011, they mail checks. An individual’s birthdate governs when the payments are received each month.

Reach out to a Chicago SSDI Attorney

SSDI benefits can provide valuable financial support for disabled individuals. However, qualifying for disability can involve confusing rules and regulations. For help understanding the Chicago Social Security disability insurance requirements and how to apply, contact an experienced attorney today.

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