You have worked your way through the red tape and qualified for Social Security Disability benefits and have been receiving monthly payments regularly. This means you have beaten the odds as many people in New Jersey deal with rejection after rejection when they apply. However, as can be the case with many disabilities, your condition has deteriorated. Is it possible your benefits could be increased?
How disability payments are calculated
It is important to understand how the federal government calculates your SSD benefits before discussing ways to increase the payments. In order to receive SSD payments, you had to prove that your disability was severe. You must have a working history, based on what is called accumulated working credits, and you must be unable to return to work due to your disability. The disability must be in what is known as the Social Security Blue Book of conditions, it must be expected to last for more than one year, and it must be severe or expected to cause death. The Social Security Administration also looks at whether you can perform other types of work and, if you can, you may be denied benefits. If you are approved, the amount of benefits you receive is based on your accumulated working credits, not on the severity of your condition.
Because your actual benefits are based on your accumulated working credits, it is unlikely that your SSD benefits will increase. Your SSD benefits are the same as the benefits you would receive at full retirement age.
Because your SSD payments are based on your income, any decrease in earnings could result in an increase in SSD benefits. Suppose you were able to work a few hours each week but now cannot because of your worsening condition. This could result in increased SSD benefits. One area where you may be able to increase your SSD benefits is if your vision is impacted. Vision loss has a direct impact on your Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) which could lead to higher SSD payments. The best thing to do should your condition deteriorate, or your vision become impacted is to talk to an attorney who handles SSD cases.
A deteriorating disability can be devastating and made even worse when you are unable to meet your financial obligations. Talking to an attorney may help you to understand how SSD benefits work and learn whether you could qualify for additional payments.