People still have to deal with a severe and disabling condition even after they start receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. Their health may actually deteriorate instead of improving. But if that’s the case, will their SSDI benefit increase?
The short answer? No. Benefits do not increase if your disability worsens. Here’s why.
It’s About Qualifying for SSDI Disability.
Having a disability that prevents you from working satisfies part of the requirements to receive SSDI benefits. Your condition must meet the Social Security Administration (Social Security) definition of disability:
“…the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”
So, you must be unable to work. Social Security’s Listing of Impairments shows what medical evidence is necessary to prove disability. While the severity of your condition contributes to the success of your claim, there’s no mention of increasing benefits if you get worse.
But there are even more hurdles to overcome before qualifying for SSDI benefits:
- You must work in a job that Social Security covers.
- Your work history must show that you have earned enough work credits.
- Some of the work credits must have been earned within a specific time frame.
You will qualify for SSDI benefits, in part, because of your disability. But your benefits are not determined by the severity of your condition. In other words, Social Security might pay the same amount to someone with a sleep disorder as they pay someone with terminal cancer.
Generally, most people’s SSDI benefit is the same as their full retirement benefit.
SSDI Benefits Can Change for Other Reasons
However, your benefits could be reduced or terminated because:
- You are able to engage in substantial gainful activity, or
- Your condition has improved to the point where you are no longer considered disabled.
Social Security conducts continuing disability reviews. In fact, there are two types:
- Medical. Social security will review your medical condition to see if it still prevents you from working.
- Work. SSDI benefit recipients sometimes are able to work part-time. However, benefits could be reduced or terminated if they earn more than the limit set by Social Security.
Of course, the first hurdle is being approved for SSDI benefits.
We Can Help You Apply for SSDI Benefits
The application process is challenging. In fact, the majority of first-time applications are denied. It helps to have an experienced Social Security attorney by your side, especially if you have to proceed to the appeals process.
If you are disabled, contact Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. at once. Let our attorneys guide you through the process of obtaining Social Security disability benefits. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.