Sixty-one million Americans live with a disability, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For many, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a necessary lifeline. If you currently receive benefits, you might wonder if you can increase your SSDI checks.
Life circumstances can change at any time. If your situation changes, you or a family member might be eligible for higher SSDI benefits.
When Can SSDI Benefits Increase?
In general, the Social Security Administration (SSA) calculates SSDI benefits based on your earnings. There are not many ways to increase benefits on your own. However, there are a few life changes that can increase your benefits.
Death of a Spouse
If your spouse (or an ex-spouse) has passed away, you might get survivor benefits. You might be eligible for higher benefits based on a deceased spouse’s work.
If an ex-spouse has died, you might get benefits even if you’re already receiving benefits from another spouse.
Reaching Retirement Age
Depending on your birth year, your retirement age is between 66 and 67. If you’re at retirement age or older, you can receive Social Security benefits even if you’re working. Unlike SSDI benefits, it doesn’t matter how much you earn.
Death of an Adult Child
If an adult child has died, you might be eligible for parent’s benefits. You could qualify if your child:
- Had enough work credits to qualify for SSDI
- Was providing at least half of your income support
Additional Benefits Based on Your Own Work
If you have worked, you could be eligible for higher disability or retirement benefits based on your work.
Benefits From a Former Marriage
You could be eligible for benefits based on an ex-spouse’s work if:
- You are at least 62 years old.
- You are currently unmarried.
- Your marriage lasted for at least 10 years.
Child Entitled to Benefits
Suppose you are caring for a child who was disabled before age 22 or under age 16. In that case, they could be eligible for additional benefits through your spouse’s or your own work.
Past Military Service
You could receive additional benefits through the Veterans Health Administration if:
- You have former U.S. military service.
- You are receiving SSDI or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Loss of Income or Resources
If your income or financial resources have decreased, you could be eligible for SSI. The SSI program provides additional revenue to low-income disabled individuals and seniors. In some cases, you could qualify for both SSDI and SSI benefits.
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How Can I Find Out My Full SSDI Benefits?
The SSA has a Benefits Eligibility Screening Tool (BEST) you can use to find out your benefits. The questionnaire will tell you if you’re eligible and what benefits you qualify to receive.
If you think you qualify for more SSDI benefits, a Social Security Disability lawyer can help. John Foy & Associates can help you pursue the disability benefits you deserve.
Contact us today to schedule a FREE, no-risk consultation. We do not charge a fee unless we win your case. Call us at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to get your FREE consultation today.
How Can I Maximize My SSDI Benefits?
Be as detailed and thorough as possible when applying. Also, apply for benefits as soon as you can after becoming disabled.
To be eligible for benefits, you must meet the SSA’s strict criteria:
- You must have earned enough work credits through paying into Social Security.
- You must meet the SSA’s disability definition and have been disabled (or be expected to be disabled) for at least a year.
- You must be unable to earn substantial gainful activity (SGA).
Provide as much documentation of your condition as possible. Ask for help from your doctor in communicating your diagnosis. Be specific about how your condition prevents you from doing things.
The more you can show how your condition is disabling, the better your chances of approval. Even if you qualify, the SSA could deny your application due to a lack of information.
Update the Social Security Administration About Any Changes
If anything changes in your life, let the SSA know right away. If you might be eligible for higher benefits, you’ll want to start receiving them as soon as possible.
If you need to retire early because of your condition, consider applying for SSDI benefits first. You might be able to avoid a lower retirement benefit. Then, you can start getting Social Security benefits when you reach retirement age.
Consider Other Types of Benefits
You might be eligible for additional benefits besides your SSDI each month. Look into other governmental assistance you might qualify to receive. You might also consider local social services or assistance programs in your area.
Talk to a Social Security Disability Lawyer for Free Today
You might be able to increase your SSDI if specific life changes happen. However, SSDI benefits can be complicated and confusing. It’s best to consult with a Social Security Disability lawyer to know your options.
At John Foy & Associates, we’ve been helping SSDI applicants for over 20 years. We know the ins and outs of the system and how the SSA handles claims. Contact us today to discuss your options during a FREE consultation.
To schedule your FREE consultation, call us at (404) 400-4000, or contact us online. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take your call.