Disability

New Rule Modernizes How We Award Disability Benefits

February 24, 2020 • By

Last Updated: February 24, 2020

Documents on office table with pen and digital tablet as work space business concept

The Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income programs protect some of the most vulnerable people in our society. A successful disability program must evolve and support making the right decision as early in the process as possible. To help us do that, we must modernize the rules and standards we use to evaluate how we determine disability benefits. We are moving forward with a rule change that has been in the works for a number of years and serves to update a more than 40-year-old policy that made the inability to communicate in English a factor in awarding disability benefits. The new rule is effective April 27, 2020.

We are required to consider education to determine if your medical condition prevents work. In 2015, our Inspector General recommended that we evaluate the appropriateness of this policy. Research now shows the inability to communicate in English is no longer a good measure of a person’s education level or the ability to engage in work. The new rule also supports the Administration’s longstanding focus of recognizing that individuals with disabilities can remain in the workforce.

To make the right disability decisions, Social Security disability rules must continue to reflect current medicine and evolution of work. We need to update our rules to keep up with society’s changes.

We owe it to the American public to ensure that our disability programs continue to reflect the realities of the modern workplace. Please share this information with your family and friends.

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About the Author

Commissioner of Social Security Administration (June 17, 2019 - July 9, 2021)

Comments

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  2. Bonnie H.

    I am 64 fighting for my ssdi , I have worked from the time I was 16 and had to leave work due due having Cardio syncope reap times of passing out plus due to heart arrhythmia I had to have a pacemaker. I get out of breath due to little effort, plus I am on oxygen. I loved my job and coworkers but they were having to watch over me and pick up for my inability to perform my job duties. I just can not understand why I was turned down ….Help I have used up my 401k money and my insurance has ended and now I’m can not pay
    My bills and get my medicines?

    • Vonda V.

      Bonnie, we are sorry to hear about your disability. If you were recently denied, you may file an appeal within 60 days of receiving the decision. You can provide additional evidence when you file the appeal.

      If you need help requesting a review, you can call us at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance or contact your local Social Security office. Look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal.

      If you’re considering Social Security retirement benefits, you may start receiving benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. Monthly benefits are reduced if you start them any time before your “full retirement age”. Your full retirement age depends on your date of birth. It may be between age 66 and 67. This could affect the amount of your benefits and when you want the benefits to start.

      The Benefits Planner: Retirement provides detailed information about Social Security retirement benefits.

    • Matthew W.

      Our now 7yr old son was diagnosed over 2.5yrs ago as completely disabled and he applied, was accepted for, and currently receive a monthly disability payment. However due to some unbelievable office practices and total dishonestly as negligence by the ONLY PERSON in the Erie, PA office who claims to control these things: his payments (what you call Back Pay) i.e. the over 7 or so months where he was paid while awaiting approval ARE STILL NOT BEING PAID OUT even though I, his Father and Rep Payee have followed all rules and beginning back in NOVEMBER OF 2019 have begun several specific and separate bank accounts in his name exactly as paperwork demanded and have provided ERIE office (Mr. Crissmann) with all info, acct number, routing number, etc etc and yet nothing nothing nothing and no one will even return any phone calls over several periods lasting longer than 3-4 months at a time. I have already lost one job and have literally spent over $2000 in lost wages alone for all the days I’ve been forced to miss to personally and repeatedly make dozens and dozens of trips/appts into that ofc only to be lied to, up and down, and my family doesn’t deserve this…. Nobody does. Please, by the Grace of God, please help us with this situation and please help stop this one or more persons cruel and abusive and irresponsible attitudes that is being displayed…. Were talking about trying to rip off/manipulate/etc the hello and benefits of a totally disabled 7yr old boy with severe autism, chromosomal deletions, etc etc…. It’s just not right and it’s being allowed to continue over and over for years with zero recourse upon the power hungry puppet master that is doing these things to our son and God only knows how many others in similar or even worse situations… With no explanation, accountability, or light at the end of what’s simply been a traumatic, unfair, unjust, and unamerican failures of a process. Thank you. Pls contact me ASAP

  3. Robert L.

    Tuesday, September 29, 2020
    10:01 AM
    Dear Commissioner Saul and the Social Security Administration,
    I am writing you and the S.S.A. to once again appeal the decision stating that I owe back overpayment of over $132,000.00 because they say I am at fault.I honestly believe I am not at fault and that at the time they said I they were discontinuing my benefits because they no longer had a disabilityThis determination was made without an examination by the physicians like I had to do when I was initially determined to be disabled..At that time I in fact was and have continued to suffer the same disabilities.I wrote the S.S.A. explaining this and I thought they reconsidered because my benefits were continued. I have continued to work with my physicians and medical professionals.For the first several years I was on an alarming amount of prescriptions and it was causing me more problems than it helped so I stopped spme of them.I amm fortunate to not have become addicted to the opiates I was on because at the time it wasn’t widely known to have such a negative impact on ones health as it is today.I have done everything my doctors have asked of me and have had minimal positive results and a great deal of the time my health declines.I was always employed with a good career and enjoyed my many years of martial arts training,playing golf and tennis.That all came to an end.Having to be on disability to me was embarrassing and I felt a lot of shame because I was always involved in sports and other activities that I no longer was or am able to.
    Sometime in the early part of the first decade of the 2000s I was sent a letter stating I had been underpaid by several thousand dollars and was subsequently sent the underpayment in a couple of different payments.
    A few years later I was sent a letter stating I had been told that I had been overpaid and that I would have to reimburse the S.S.A..I was shocked to say the least and since then have been going through appeals.MY benefits were stopped and was told I needed to get examnined by the doctors that the S.S.A. had set an appointment for.I went and was examined.I was determined to still have disabilities and was put on S.S.I. and medicaid instead of S.S.D. and medicare.I inquired as to why this was but met with explanations I did not understand.
    This continuing ordeal has exacerbated my health in a lot of negative ways.I do not understand how I am at fault for anything especially since I was found to still have disabilities by the physicians the S.S.A. sent me to be examined by.
    AT this time I am on my Social Security Retirement but have been informed that they want to stop my benefits until the year 2031.
    When I was first informed of this supposed overpayment we went to the local S.S.A. office here in San Antonio,Texas. They reviewed my records and thought it should be dismissed but that because the amount was above their jurisdiction of $20,000.00 it was out of their hands and had to be decided by others. They told me I shouldn’t worry about it because they said I was redetermined to have disabilities. They also said that with that said that the fact it was not my fault that I was in this situation and I had no ability to pay they were confident it would be dismissed.
    I was recently sent a letter stating that they were going to uphold their finding that I would have to pay back this money.This is why I am writing you to please look into this matter.I went to ‘The Commissioners Corner’ and read what you had to say and I quote
    “Millions of people depend on us to do our job well, each day, no excuses – because when we don’t, people suffer.” If the S.S.A. stops by Social Security Retirement benefits I will have no income to support myself and will not have any medical care which is made worse because I just had prostate cancer and will not have any way to monitor my health for cancer or to manage my other health problems.Thank you for your time.

    Sincerely,
    From ROBERT L. Levesque s.s.n. *** – ** – ***

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Robert, thanks for using our blog. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask that members in our Blog community work with our offices with specific questions. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance or you can contact your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

  4. Deborah S.

    I am on SSDI. I AM 64. How much money can I make and not lose my disability. I am unable to work full time. I have already used my ticket to work when I was on disability in 2007. I currently get around 1400 a month after Medicare and cannot live on this.

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Deborah, thank you for your question. Social Security has special rules that make it possible for people with disabilities receiving Social Security Disability (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to work and still receive monthly payments. These are called work incentives.

      For SSDI beneficiaries, there is a Trial Work Period (TWP) and then an Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE). The TWP allows you to test your ability to work for at least 9 months. During this period, you will receive your full disability benefit regardless of how much you earn as long as your work activity is reported and you continue to have a disabling impairment. In 2020, any month in which earnings exceed $910 is considered a month of the 9-month trial work period.

      Once you’ve completed your TWP, you get a 36-month safety net called the EPE. During the EPE, you get benefits for all months your earnings or work activities are below the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level as long as you continue to have a disabling impairment. Social Security will suspend cash benefits for months earnings are over SGA and start benefits again if earnings fall below the SGA level. In 2020, you are earning SGA if your earnings, after any allowable deductions, are more than $1,260 in a month.

      Check out Social Security’s Red Book for descriptions of the many work incentives.

  5. Lee C.

    Hi, My son applied for SS Disability in 2016 he has a wife and 2 children. He applied because he is bipolar and has terrible bouts of depression and he has psoriact arthritis so bad that he has to have infusions every 3 weeks to be able to keep moving because his joints swell so badly. From taking meds. for the bipolar the side effects have done damage to his kidneys. He had lawyers to represent him. The same Judge turned him down 3 times. He was told he could work a job lifting 50 lbs and sitting down. Mean while he doesn’t even have a high school diploma. Then he was told he would have to work 10 years before reapplying. Mean while he is now having grand maul seisures. He is delivering pizza right now and suffering terrible. I wanted to know if there is anything that can be done. He is 42 and always work long hours from the time he was 17. Thank you

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Lee, thank you for using our blog. We pay disability benefits through two programs: the Social Security Disability Insurance program (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must have worked long enough and recently enough in jobs covered by Social Security (usually within the last 10 years). The (SSI) program is a needs based program that gives cash assistance to disabled individuals with limited income and resources. We pay disability benefits to people who are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last one year or more or to end in death. If your son thinks he may be eligible to receive disability benefits and would like to apply again, he certainly can do that. He can use our online application.

      If he has questions or is unable to apply online, he can call us at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance or you can contact your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

  6. Karen B.

    My husband is receiving Disability benefits. Before being approved for the disability, in his spare time he used to umpire high school volleyball & baseball games. Is he able to do this while on disability.

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Karen, thank you for your question. Social Security has special rules that make it possible for people with disabilities receiving Social Security Disability (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to work and still receive monthly payments. These are called work incentives.

      For SSDI beneficiaries, there is a Trial Work Period (TWP) and then an Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE). The TWP allows you to test your ability to work for at least 9 months. During this period, you will receive your full disability benefit regardless of how much you earn as long as your work activity is reported and you continue to have a disabling impairment. In 2020, any month in which earnings exceed $910 is considered a month of the 9-month trial work period.

      Once you’ve completed your TWP, you get a 36-month safety net called the EPE. During the EPE, you get benefits for all months your earnings or work activities are below the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level as long as you continue to have a disabling impairment. Social Security will suspend cash benefits for months earnings are over SGA and start benefits again if earnings fall below the SGA level. In 2020, you are earning SGA if your earnings, after any allowable deductions, are more than $1,260 in a month.

      Check out Social Security’s Red Book for descriptions of the many work incentives.

  7. Bertha

    Hola como puedo saber si esta recibiendo mi esposo lo indicado de su discapacidad ,el trabajo desde la high school y hasta antes de su emfermedad trabajo y siempre reporto sus impuestos .

  8. Lawrence G.

    I was not sure of giving out my ssn even to someone who say they where with ssd attorney firm called crest

    • Vonda V.

      Thanks for checking with us, Lawrence. Generally, we will only contact you if you have requested a call or have ongoing business with us. Recently, scams—misleading victims into making cash or gift card payments to avoid arrest for Social Security number problems—have skyrocketed. Our employees will never threaten you for information or promise a benefit in exchange for personal information or money.

      If you receive a suspicious call like this: 1) Hang up. 2) Do not provide personal information, money, or retail gift cards. 3) Report suspicious calls here. For more information on how to protect yourself, check out our Frequently Asked Questions. We hope this helps.

  9. Brenda

    Hello,
    How can I get information about my son’s Beneficiary Notice letter of eligibility for SS disability. I already filed for him back in November 2019under my acct because he was incapable of self support since a young teen. I need to know if I can get electronic access to that application and just fill out needed information so it won’t be a duplication of effort.. He is still my dependent and I am authorized to collect and provide information on his behalf to SSA. The application to SSA is due on September 14, 2020 Unless the due dates are extended because of COVID. How can I get information on what to do if no
    agent answers the main no. 1-800-772-1213

    • Sharon K.

      I need a duplicate social security card for my son.
      Mark Allen Nurse
      *** – ** – ***
      Mail to my address:
      20916 W Ray Rd
      Buckeye, AZ 85326
      Thank you,
      Sharon K Sperry

  10. Ken L.

    Can a veteran 75 years old apply for disability at a , 100% diisabilty rom the VA. I

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Ken, thank you for your service. When a person has reached their full retirement age (Currently 66) and is receiving Social Security retirement, they are no longer eligible for disability benefits. We hope this helps!

Comments are closed.