when are you disabled "enough" for income support?

Knowing several disabled people who work, when are you disabled enough not to work and qualify for disability income support? (US or other countries, just state what country you’re talking about.)

For instance, if I was to go blind tomorrow, I don’t think I could get back to work for months if not a year. Are the newly disabled required to attend therapy to get back to work? Or is the income support so stingy that it motivates you to work if you can?

In the US, it is determined on a case-by-case basis. If you want to work, you certainly can. Your right to work while disabled is protected (though weakly enforced). If you don’t want to work, then you must justify that you are unable. A listing of pre-qualifying conditions is at the Social Security Administration. If you are blind, the government will support you with less justification needed than other ailments. Disability is for problems that are chronic, though, so if one only needed a few months leave, there’s a different means of assistance. Social Security wouldn’t qualify.

The income support is quite low in the US. My husband is disabled and his disability checks cover, just barely, his medications. Of course, if he didn’t get disability, we’d have to be paying that chunk of money out of my paycheck, so I’m not complaining.

Blindness is one of the “easy” disabilities to claim.

The income support is quite low in the US. My husband is disabled and his disability checks cover, just barely, his medications. Of course, if he didn’t get disability, we’d have to be paying that chunk of money out of my paycheck, so I’m not complaining.

Thanks for the info. How is a disability benefit amount arrived at? I assume based on prior pay, but how? What if you never held a job?

Social Security Disability benefits are based solely on your past earnings; if you never worked, you can’t get it. You also have to have worked and earned a certain minimum amount in twenty of the previous forty calendar quarters, since SSD is intended to replace recent earnings.

If you haven’t worked enough to qualify for SSD you might still qualify for Supplemental Security Income, which is based not only on inability to work (or age) but also on financial need. If you have little or no income/savings and no other means of support you might qualify.

Every quarter or semi-annually or something I get a letter in the mail that tells me what my benefits would be if I became disabled immediately. It’s based on earned wages and also on time in the workforce. My husband’s benefits were pretty low because he was out of work for a while and his wages were pretty low when he was working.

I am not sure how it is calculated if you never had a job, but if you do work it is based on your prior income. I get a statement from the Social Security administration every year showing (among other things) my taxable social security income, how much I can expect to collect when I retire, and how much I would collect if I where disabled. I believe everyone who pays into social security is supposed to get one of these statements.

According to my most recent statement if I am disabled the amount I would collect would be about the same as if I worked to full retirement age and is a little less than 1/3 of my income. I am 30-ish and have worked my whole life.

On preview it looks like LurkMeister answered your last question.

It looks like there is a minimum amount you have earn before you are eligable, theres lots more info at the social security administration site – http://www.ssa.gov/dibplan/dqualify2.htm

The disability need not be permanent, but must last (or expected to last) for one year, or result in death (or expected to result in death).

If you meet a “Listing” you are qualified so long as you meet the other conditions (20 QC in 40 QC). You can pick your disability from this Listing of Impairments:

If you don’t meet a Listing, you may be qualified under the “Grid.” This takes in consideration your age, education and vocational factors. Here’s the Grid:

Your benefits will be determined by your primary insured amount (PIA). Here’s how your PIA is computed:

If you don’t qualify for Title II benefits (employees’ benefits) you may be eligible for Title XVI benefits (Supplemental Security Income [SSI]). Same disability rules apply. Here’s your these benefits are computed:

You need notes from the appropriate doctors explaining exactly how you are disabled, when the condition started, and how it prevents you from working. The application form requires you to list all assets (bank acounts, stocks, cars, real estate, etc) all living expenses (rent or mortgage, electric, gas, water, sewer fees if any) all people living with you and their incomes. There are a few criminal history questions. After making sure everything is properly filled out and all other necessary papers included, you mail it in and they turn you down.

A few dopers who actually work in the system can confirm this. Almost everybody is turned down the first time regardless of disability. The whole process is nervewracking and some people don’t go through the trouble of reapplying. If you are accepted you are given an interview. In my experience, the interviewer was petty-bureaucrat toad filled with hatred. Since him, every employee I’ve had to deal with was a generous, caring individual who was doing their best to help people in need. The difference is so dramatic I’m convinced the toad was given his position to further discourage people from completing the process and getting benefits.

SSI payments don’t even cover rent, let alone utilities. The medical plan is great though. I have no copay. My medications are covered, though the HMO keeps changing the formulary. This means I have to call my doctor and have her contact the HMO to explain that yes, I really do need that particular pill as I’ve tried all the alternatives the new formulary suggests and they didn’t work.

Food stamps now take the form of a mac card. They cover only food. While not allowing cigarettes or alcohol to be purchased with foodstamps makes sense, I would like to be able to use them for things like soap, toilet paper etc. I can now walk a block to a Russian market and buy caviar with food stamps (This is not an exaggeration. The market does take food stamps. They do sell canned caviar. Note that I do not actually buy caviar with my food stamps, I’m just pointing out an absurdity of the system).

There are scheduled reviews of eligibility for food stamps, eligibility for SSI, and proof of continuing disability. These are conducted seperately and may take the form of mailing back proper forms and papers, scheduled telephone interviews, or a scheduled interview at the county office.

Statistically, I think I found it was 30% are accepted the first time through. My husband was accepted the first try.

The paperwork, which I filled out, wasn’t too bad. His internist and cardiologist had to fill out papers, too, and he had to have a visit with a psychologist. All the psychologist did was ask him about his medical history and send him away. It was odd.

Your second sentence applies only to SSI benefits. Y:our first sentence is incorrect. In fact, such statements from a physician that you are disabled is not given any evidentiary weight, being a conclusion. Physicians must give only facts and opinions as to your “residual functional capacity,” which is what you can do in the way of work in spite of your impairment(s). Medical evidence is, of course, necessary, to document any alleged disorder, and opinions from treating physicans as to how those impairment(s) affect your RFC is controlling as to your disability if supported by the other medical evidence and is not contrary to other medical opinions.

Except for the continuing review requirement, that also pertains to SSI only. Even Title II beneficiaries, however, must be reviewed every two years according to the Regulations, if improvement can be expected.


That was obviously a consultative exam ordered by SSA. Your husband apparently alleged a mental disorder, such as depression, anxiety, etc. Physicians or psychologists who examine someone at the request of SSA do a cursory job. There’s not any money in that since they get paid a very low amount, but it’s the amount they have agreed to accept for those kinds of exams. Usually these guys do these exams in quantity and in many instances, but not all, they are not the best in their fields. You are correct that many are turned down on the initial determination. The reconsidered determination does not have a very high percentages of payment either. The claimant should file an appeal with the Office of Hearings and Appeals, whose reversal rate was as high as 70%. This is the appeal procedure: