When most West Virginia workers consider filing for Social Security Disability benefits, they have little understanding of the process. It is commonly assumed that if one has worked for most of their life and can no longer do so due to a mental or physical disability, SSD benefits will be awarded. That may or may not be the case, but the manner that the Social Security Administration uses to determine disability is a specific, sequential process governed by complex statutes and prior decisions.
Individuals who receive Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits rely on this income to meet their day-to-day living needs. It should be noted, however, that the Social Security Administration periodically reviews the cases of SSD and SSI recipients. This is called continuing disability review.
Some West Virginia residents are entitled to back pay after their applications for disability benefits are approved. This is because they may have had a condition that resulted in a total disability before they decided to ask for compensation. Applicants might also be entitled to back pay for the time it took for their applications to work through the system. In some cases, this can take months or years.
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The Social Security Administration has not established a maximum amount of back pay available to Social Security Disability applicants in West Virginia and around the country. The amount of disability benefit back payments is determined by such a large number of factors that establishing a maximum is practically impossible. The four most important factors impacting the payment amounts are the date of filing, the established date of onset, the waiting period, and the month of entitlement.
If an individual in West Virginia or any other state receives disability benefits, family members may also collect benefits. Children, current spouses and former spouses of the recipient may be entitled to up to 50% of the recipient's benefit. The extra benefits are capped at up to 180% of a disabled person's monthly payment, and a former spouse who receives a payment won't count toward that limit.
Some people in West Virginia are concerned about reports from Social Security trustees that the program will face serious problems that could affect its viability. Trustees say that the cost of paying out benefits will exceed the program's income in 2020, marking the first time since 1982 that this was the case. They also warned that this situation, if allowed to continue, could deplete the program's $2.9 trillion trust fund entirely for people receiving retirement benefits before 2034. They also said that the disability funds trust could persist until 2052. Both retirees and people with serious disabilities rely on Social Security for income to cover basic, necessary expenses.
Some Social Security disability applicants in West Virginia may not know what to do after they receive an initial denial notification. Because these applicants are generally too disabled to work, they may be relying on an approval to support themselves. However, it is important to keep in mind that many people who successfully receive disability benefits begin the process with an initial denial. It is possible to surmount an initial negative result through the appeals process.
To qualify for disability benefits, an individual in West Virginia would need to stay below the substantial gainful activity threshold. Those who exceed this limit will have their applications denied on a technicality. When an application receives a technical denial, it means that it is not looked at by a disability examiner. In 2019, an individual can make $1,220 per month or less in gross income and still qualify for disability benefits.
West Virginia residents who are waiting for a decision regarding their Social Security Disability eligibility often wonder how long it will take to receive it. This is understandable, as applicants are often financially strapped due to an inability to work.