|Natalia Jofre:||Hi and Welcome to Hill & Ponton Social Security Disability blog. I’m Natalia Jofre. I’m the director for our Social Security section.|
|Shelly Mark:||And I am Shelly Mark. I’m the senior Social Security attorney.|
|Natalia Jofre:||Today we’re going to talk about one of the benefits that you can potentially qualify for under the Social Security Disability Program, and that is disability insurance benefits. The acronym is DIB, and a lot of people like to refer to it as “regular disability.” It’s because disability insurance benefits people think that that encompasses all of the benefits, in reality, that is the name of the one regular benefit.|
|Natalia Jofre:||One of the basic criteria to qualify for regular disability … It would be that you have to have worked and paid into Social Security taxes …|
|Natalia Jofre:||… for at least five out of the last 10 years.|
|Shelly Mark:||That’s a really big one, Natalia, because I’ve had friends, family, clients that have needed to file for disability, and for the right reasons. They’re very sick or whatever it may be, and they really did not realize that they had to have worked five out of the past 10 years. They thought maybe because they had worked 20 years, and they had stopped, that they would still be eligible, and that is not the case. So it is really important to realize that you have to have worked five out of the most recent past 10 years to be eligible.|
|Natalia Jofre:||What you do is when you’re working and paying into Social Security taxes, you’re earning what are called earnings quarters. You have to make a certain amount, so it can’t just be, “Well, I worked from January through March. That’s a quarter of the year. I should get a quarter for that year.” No. If you made $500, you’re not going to have enough for an earnings quarters … an earnings quarter. You need to make somewhere in the ballpark of let’s say $1,300. But if you work, and let’s say you make $8,000 for the whole year, and you make that money just in one month … Like we see this all the time with real estate agents. Let’s go get a nice hefty commission check in November, and maybe it’s for like $8,000 and that will pay for their quarters for the whole year.|
|So it doesn’t have to be that you worked the whole year, even if you made the amount in one particular month, but it was high enough and you paid Social Security taxes on that money, it could give you earnings quarters for the whole year. So that when you’re talking about working five out of the last 10 years, that’s what they’re looking at … how many earnings quarters do you have? The other thing is that there’s a five month waiting period.|
|Shelly Mark:||That’s correct too. Basically, Social Security is going to owe you benefits from your onset date or the day that you’re alleging you became disabled, until when they’re actually paying you, but there is a five month waiting period. That’s a rule that’s across the board. It’s for everyone that is approved for disability benefits. It just means that for the first five months, you’re not going to be entitled to payment.|
|Natalia Jofre:||The other alternative would be … Let’s say you waited to apply. They’re going to apply … It’s either going to be a five month waiting period or one year prior to your date of application. That’s in order for them to start paying you. Why do they do that? One of the most important things … and it will be the note that we end on … You will be penalized by Social Security if you wait to apply. The specific reason they have that rule in place is … Let’s say you became disabled in 2011. Let’s say maybe you were a housewife, and your husband was doing well, and you didn’t really feel the need to apply for benefits, and he was making more than enough money. So even though you were disabled, you just didn’t apply for benefits. Now his situation has changed. Maybe, he got another job. He’s making a lot less money, so now you’re like, “Now we need that extra income. Let me go ahead and file for my disability benefits.”|
|Well, Social Security isn’t going to pay you all the way back to 2011 because you chose not to apply. They’re going to look at when did your disability actually start, when did you apply for benefits, and then even if you were disabled since 2011, they’re only going to pay you one year retroactively from the date of your application.|
|Shelly Mark:||This is something just to note that we have to explain to our veteran clients as well. This is a big difference with the VA and Social Security, so we have to explain to not only our veteran clients, but to all clients, that if you allege you were disabled back in 2009, and you have the evidence to support that … If you didn’t file until 2014, you’re only going to get paid back the 12 months prior to your file date.|
|Natalia Jofre:||We have a lot of cases for veterans that they’re no longer insured now. A lot of them come back from war with severe PTSD, so they don’t want to have to do anything with anyone, so they don’t apply for benefits. Several years pass, and then by the time they file, they’re past their date last insured. We’ll do a whole other blog on that because that’s a very complicated topic, but all of this to say that they won’t get benefits all the way back. But as long as we can prove that they were disabled prior to that date, they can still qualify for benefits. So that’s a really good point.|
|Shelly Mark:||A lot of the things … The reason that I see veterans say that they don’t apply for Social Security is because their VA is pending. What we want to encourage them to do is to go ahead and apply for Social Security while your VA is pending, and let both process through.|
|Natalia Jofre:||You don’t have to apply for one or the other. You can apply for both at the same time. All right, great. We will talk more about different benefits and their entitlement dates, and onset date. I think we’re going to do our next one on onset dates because that’s a really important topic.|
|Natalia Jofre:||So we’ll see you next time. If you have any questions in the meantime, visit our blog or call our office.|
|Shelly Mark:||Thank you.|
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