Disability Payments and your Social Security

The Social Security payments that we make during the working phase of our lives allow us to be able to claim benefits when we retire. Unfortunately, while traveling along life's road, people sometimes get injured on the job. The injury could leave them needing medical attention for a specific period of time, or it might leave them permanently disabled so that they can't return to work at all. Do disability benefits have any bearing on the amount of money that you'll receive from the Social Security Administration when you reach retirement age? The answer to that question depends upon when you were injured and how you were compensated for those injuries.

According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), the term 'disability' can refer to a condition that is either physical or mental, but it must prevent you from being gainfully employed for at least one year, with a worst-case being that the condition will eventually cause death. The SSA maintains a list of conditions that are deemed as qualifying by consulted physicians.

Not all benefits that you receive as a result of a disability will affect the amount of social Security you'll receive at retirement. One such benefit is the amount you receive from the Veteran's Administration as a result of military service. State and local government benefits are also not counted when computing your Social Security benefits.

If you're declared disabled by the SSA, you can receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This income also does not affect the amount of your retirement benefit. To qualify for this income, the applicant must be blind, aged 65 or over, or disabled as deemed by the Social Security Administration. Unfortunately, the applicant's earned monthly income must be low – extremely low, in fact. Current income limitations are set by the applicant's state of residence and according to his or her circumstances. Also, the applicant's resources cannot exceed a total value of $2,000 for singles and $3,000 for couples (not include the applicant's home and other items). The maximum benefit that can be received is $637 per month for individuals (as of the time of this writing). Of course, these amounts are subject to change depending on cost-of-living variations.

Workers Compensation payments are an example of one type of disability payment that can affect your Social Security benefits; other public disability programs may have the same effect. The amount of monthly payment you receive from compensation for work-related or other injuries cannot exceed eighty percent of your monthly income before you were injured. When the amount of Social Security benefit you qualify for is combined with the disability payment, the total is compared to your income before you were disabled. If this amount comes to more than eighty percent of your pre-disability income, the amount of Social Security that you're entitled to is reduced until the amount you receive (when added to the disability payment) equals eighty percent of your pre-disability income. The process will continue each month until you reach age 65 or your disability payments end.

In summary, not all disability payments will affect the benefits you receive. For more detailed information, contact your local Social Security Administration office or online at www.ssa.gov.

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