At first glance, most people think that getting disability benefits depends on how bad a person’s injury or impairment is. While a claimant’s medical condition is certainly a major part of every case, when applying for Disability Insurance Benefits, otherwise known as Title II benefits, the Social Security Administration takes a hard look at one’s earnings over the course of their employment history.
A claimant’s earnings are important because it enables the Social Security Administration to determine eligibility. If the claimant has enough credits to insure them for benefits, as long as they are deemed medically disabled by the Social Security Administration, they will receive monthly compensation as a result of their insured status.
Additionally, a claimant’s earnings history shows a disability analyst or an Administrative Law Judge just how much they’ve contributed into the Social Security system. Someone with a steady work history will get deference because it means they have consistently paid into the system. The disability program was established to protect an individual who has insured themselves by paying taxes and contributing into the social security system.
It’s important to remember that a claimant without a steady work history may still get disability benefits. If they are not entitled to Disability Insurance benefits, they might be entitled to Supplemental Security Income, a needs based program that provides monthly income to claimants who meet income thresholds as well as the disability criteria.
Finally, earnings are important because they give an indication as to how much money a claimant will be entitled to each month if rendered disabled by the Social Security Administration. Every year, approximately three months before your birthday, the Social Security Administration sends out an official earnings statement, which includes a section about social security benefits. There is also a specific section about disability benefits and whether or not a person is eligible if they came disabled.
In short, you should always be aware of how your earnings can affect your disability claim. For more information about eligibility, check out this great video that explains how the Administration determines if you are insured for disability benefits.