Often, people with a physical or mental impairment that prevents them from working are reluctant to apply for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits because they believe this program is a form of welfare. However, this simply isn’t true. Social Security disability is not welfare Alperin Law

Requirements to Receive Benefits

All welfare programs have strict income requirements based on the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) for the applicant’s household size. Some also have other requirements, such as only being available for people with children under 18 living at home or having a maximum timeframe during which a person can receive benefits.

SSD benefits require you to have earned sufficient work credits by being previously employed in a job covered by Social Security. The program is funded with taxes taken from your earnings, and you do not become ineligible for benefits by having earned a high wage in your last position. Additionally, being married or having children is irrelevant.

In addition to meeting specific work credit requirements to receive SSD, you are required to have a physical or mental impairment expected to last one year or more that prevents you from working. You must be unable to perform the work you did previously and unable to adjust to a new position.

Eligibility for Other Assistance Programs

SSD benefits are based on your lifetime earnings before your disability began. Since most recipients were employed in lower-paying manual labor jobs before they became disabled, their benefits are modest. The average payment is about $1,200 per month, with most recipients receiving between $800 and $1,800. They also receive back pay, but this is a one-time lump sum.

This modest income often makes SSD recipients who have no other financial resources eligible for types of government assistance reserved for the needy, such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. However, someone earning the same income from employment would also qualify for these programs.

The fact that many SSD recipients also qualify for welfare benefits only means that our social safety net should be strengthened. It does not suggest that recipients are trying to “cheat” the system in any way.

Have You Or A Loved One Been Denied Social Security Disability Benefits?

If you or a loved on has been denied Social Security Disability Benefits you need to speak with an experienced SSD attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Virginia Beach office directly at 757.490.3500 to schedule your free consultation. We have offices throughout Virginia including Chesapeake, Newport News, Norfolk and Suffolk.


Scott Alperin
Experienced Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney Serving Virginia Beach Area Clients Since 1994.
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