Important Social Security Terminology and Their Meaning

by | Published on Oct 19, 2016 | Social Security Disability

Medical review services for social security disability attorneys focus on ensuring that the claim is legitimate so that the attorney need not waste precious time arguing a case that has no legal value. Social Security disability determinations are made only after a comprehensive medical records review to evaluate the extent of the applicant’s impairment and how it affects his/her ability to work. Around 28% of the disability claims are initially approved and 42 percent ultimately approved. Only those whose condition is expected to last at least one year and prevent them from working full time qualify for the benefits. A person drawing a previous income of a hundred thousand dollars a year may qualify for $2600 in monthly benefits.

Speaking of this momentous public welfare program, statistics show that 91% of U.S. retirees and 84% of U.S. workers expect Social Security to be a major or minor source of income during their retirement period. A lifeline for both retirees and disabled Americans, Social Security is a program that experts believe will be there decades from now. However, many Americans are unaware of some important Social Security terms such as the following.

  • Delayed retirement credits: Working past age 65 to 67 can bring an increase in the retirement benefits from 5.5% to 8% per year, depending on a person’s year of birth. Delayed retirement credits that enhance one’s full retirement benefits beyond 100% can be earned for every month after your full retirement age that you wait to start receiving the benefit check. A person with full retirement at age 67 will receive a monthly increase of two-thirds of 1% for every month he/she delays retirement after the age of 67.
  • Social security credits: Most Americans have to earn 40 credits, equivalent to about 10 years of work, to be eligible for Social Security benefits. For the year 2016, a person can earn one social security work credit for each $1260 of wages/income from self-employment. You can earn up to four of these credits each year, and the amount of money required to earn one credit increases every year. Only fewer credits are required for adults and children to be eligible for other types of benefits such as social security disability benefits (SSDI) and supplemental security income (SSI) benefits.
  • Medicare Parts A, B, C and D: Available to people age 65 or older,
    • Medicare Part A helps pay for inpatient care at a hospital or a skilled nursing facility (after a hospital stay). It may also help pay for some hospice care and home health care.
    • Part B covers doctor services and other medical services/supplies not covered by Part A.
    • Part C or Medicare Advantage Plans are available to Americans enrolled in Medicare Part A and B, and are offered by Medicare-approved private health carriers.
    • Part D is a drug coverage plan offered to everyone with Medicare enrollment.

To sign up for Part A, a seven-month window starting at age 64 -3/4 is provided – you don’t have to enroll in Part B. On the basis of when a person enrolls for Part B and certain other factors, his/her coverage may be delayed and he/she may have to pay a higher monthly premium unless they qualify for a Special Enrollment Period or SEP.

  • SEP or Special Enrollment Period: A person can qualify for an SEP on the basis of certain life events. These qualifying events include losing coverage through a family member, and losing job-based coverage.
  • Back payments: Since the claims processing involves considerable time, beneficiaries are paid back payments from the SSA for the months between the date they applied for benefits and the date the benefits were approved. SSDI benefits involve a mandatory five-month waiting period. Back payments commence only when the waiting period ends.
  • Retroactive benefits: Both SSDI and SSI benefits are eligible for back payments. However, retroactive benefits are available only for disability insurance benefits or SSDI. These are benefits the applicant was already eligible for right from the disability onset date but didn’t apply for earlier. No interest is paid on any back payments for either SSDI or SSI.

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