The process of applying for Social Security disability can be confusing, as can many of the terms used. And, while a simple Google search is enough to decode the meaning of some terms, others are not as easy to understand.
To help you decipher the language the Social Security Administration (SSA) uses during the disability process, here are clear and simple explanations for several common terms.
If the SSA approves your application for Social Security disability, you will receive an award letter. This official document contains the amount of your monthly disability payments and the total of any back pay to which you are entitled. If your case is not approved, you will receive a denial letter instead.
Back pay is a term used to describe past due benefits, or money you would have received if the SSA had approved your claim immediately. The amount of your back pay depends upon the date you file your application, your disability onset date and whether you are eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB).
If the medical evidence you provide is insufficient for the SSA to make a determination on your disability, you may be sent for a consultative exam. This is a medical assessment performed by your doctor or another qualified professional and paid for by the Social Security Administration.
If you are eligible for disability, your dependents may also receive benefits. Minor, unmarried children and children who are under 19 and full-time students may qualify for payments. Your spouse, ex-spouse or dependent grandchild may also be entitled to benefits.
The onset date refers to the date you became disabled and eligible for benefits. This date, which is only official after verification and approval from the SSA, determines if and how much back pay you can receive.
Substantial Gainful Activity
In order to be eligible for disability benefits, you must be unable to perform what the SSA refers to as substantial gainful activity (SGA). In other words, you can only work and earn a minimal amount of money. In 2019, the SGA limit is $2,040 for blind applicants and $1,220 for non-blind individuals.
Do you need an explanation for other Social Security disability terms? Or are you ready to apply for Supplemental Security Income or Disability Insurance Benefits? For free answers and advice from an expert, call on the team of highly-experienced advocates at Mountain West Disability.
After working with clients across the country for several years, the legal professionals and case managers at Mountain West Disability understand process of applying for SSI and DIB, and we can assist with every aspect of your claim. Contact our northern Utah office and schedule a free consultation to discuss Social Security disability today.