How Much Does Short-Term and Long-Term Disability Pay?
There are different sources of disability payments, some public and some private. The Social Security Administration operates two separate federal disability benefit programs, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD or SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Each of these programs only recognizes long-term disabilities which the Social Security Administration (SSA) defines as lasting at least 12 months or more.
At MJ Ellis Disability Law Office, our entire staff focuses on getting federal SSD and/or SSI disability benefits for everyone who is eligible. We provide skilled legal representation to disabled residents in Northern New Jersey and the surrounding area. Our central mission is to win the highest possible amount of federal disability benefits for each of our clients. If you have questions about your disability claim, or if you think you might be eligible for either Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits, contact us for a full and free consultation about your case. You can call us at (973) 940-8635 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Then there are state-sponsored programs that vary from state to state. Those state-paid programs may provide for different qualifying criteria and can cover short-term “temporary disability.” No federal program cover or pay benefits for short-term disabilities. Private insurance policies provided either by employers or paid for by individuals do cover short-term disabilities depending on the specific terms of each policy. But these are completely unrelated to any Social Security Disability program.
How Long-Term Must a Disability Be for Social Security?
To qualify for either SSD or SSI benefits, the Social Security Administration requires a person to be disabled for at least 12 months, or for their disability to be likely to result in their death. The purpose of the 12-month minimum disability duration is a practical one, to ensure the continued financial viability of the programs by limiting the benefits only to those most in need of benefit payments.
In cases where a physical or mental impairment is almost certain to persist for at least 12 months or longer, SSD and SSI are authorized to approve disability benefits even if the 12 months has not yet elapsed. But were the Social Security Administration to approve either SSD or SSI benefits to applicants whose impairments were likely to resolve within months, the number of eligible claimants would grow immensely and exhaust the available funds fairly soon.
Five-Month Waiting Period Applies to Eliminate Short-Term Disability Claims
People who are unable to work because of either an injury or illness can find it difficult to predict whether their disability will last for a year or more. And it is impractical to ask disabled people in need to wait for the full 12-months before filing their SSD or SSI claim. Instead, when someone expects or learns from a doctor that their impairment will disable them for an extended period, they work with an experienced disability lawyer who collects and prepares necessary documents and files a claim for disability benefits from SSD and/or SSI.
Once an SSD claim is filed, the review process usually takes three to six months. When an SSD claim is approved, a 5-month waiting period is applied to start from the applicant’s “disability onset date.” Only in the 6th month from that date does an applicant become eligible for benefit payments. This procedure is designed to prevent the payment of disability benefits to someone who might recover enough over a short period of time to become ineligible for disability benefits.
Remember that Social Security’s definition of a disability is a “medically determinable physical or mental impairment (or combination of impairments) that lasts or is expected to last for 12 months or longer (or result in death) and that prevents the claimant from performing substantial gainful activities. The SSA’s measure of a “substantial gainful activity” in 2022 is any activity by which a person can earn $1,350 in monthly countable income. For those who are blind, the monthly income eligibility cap is $2,260.
SSI claims do not have the same 5-month waiting period as the SSD benefits program. When an SSI claim is filed, an initial review generally results in the immediate payment of benefits to the qualified applicant. In the event that the initial approval is later changed, finding the applicant was not eligible, then SSI benefit payments would stop but the recipient usually does not need to repay the money.
Continuing Disability Reviews
Long-term impairments that are approved for SSD but are not necessarily approved indefinitely. To confirm that a benefit recipient continues to be disabled, the SSA conducts periodic case reviews.
- If improvement of a disability is not expected a review is conducted every seven years.
- If improvement is possible, a review is conducted every three years.
- If improvement is expected, then a review is conducted every 18 months.
Get All Your Disability Questions Answered by MJ Ellis Disability Law Office Today
Attorney Maryjean Ellis and her entire staff at MJ Ellis Disability Law practice want you to have all the answers you need to make well-informed decisions regarding your rights to SSD or SSI disability benefits. We are Northern New Jersey’s disability law resource. Our experience comes from fighting to get thousands of clients over many years the maximum disability benefits for which they are eligible.