If you are one of the 61 million adults in the United States that suffer from a disability, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. The SSA will essentially enter your past work earnings and Social Security earnings into a formula to calculate the amount of SSDI benefits you will receive.
While this amount is unlikely to change, as it is based on this fixed formula, there are other things you can do to maximize your benefits while unable to work due to a disability.
First, you should make sure that you apply for disability benefits as soon as you become disabled. The SSA says that in order to receive benefits, your disability must be expected either to last for a minimum of one year or to result in death.
In other words, you don't have to wait for a year to apply. The mere expectation that your disability will last a year is enough to potentially qualify for benefits.
It is also important that your application for benefits provides a clear picture of how your medical condition makes it impossible for you to work. Be as specific as possible when describing the tasks you are no longer able to do because of your disability.
A physician may be helpful when it comes to explaining the medical diagnosis and treatment information. If your condition changes and you become able to work again, it is important that you inform the SSA as soon as possible. The SSA has a trial work program that allows you to keep receiving benefits while you re-enter the work force.
Additionally, if your disability resulted in your early retirement, you may be tempted to take your Social Security retirement benefits early. However, if you do this, you will generally receive a reduced amount. Instead, you can apply for disability benefits, and if your claim is successful, you will be able to get disability benefits and still be entitled to full retirement benefits when you reach retirement age.
Before you begin the application process, you may consider consulting an attorney specializing in disability benefits.