SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
Social Security Disability and SSI Questions and Answers
What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?
How do you Win Benefits under Social Security Disability or SSI?
If I am determined disabled, how far back will Social Security pay benefits?
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition?
What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Denial of Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
How to File for Disability - Tips for Filing
If You Get Approved For SSDI Will You Also Get Medicare?
How much does a Social Security disability attorney get paid?
Social Security Disability SSI Criteria and the Evaluation Process
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability SSI and Fibromyalgia
Social Security Disability SSI and Degenerative Disc Disease
Can I Qualify For Disability and Receive Benefits based on Depression?
More questions about SSD and SSI
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability Status
Social Security Disability Tips ó how a claim gets worked on
Social Security Disability, SSI Disability - Terms, Definitions, Concepts
Can I Receive More Social Security Disability If I Get Another Condition Or Illness?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
The amount of an individualís Social Security disability benefit does not depend upon the quantity of medical and/or physical conditions or illnesses. In fact, the severity of an individualís condition or illness has nothing to do with the amount of their disability benefit amount either.
An individualís earnings prior to becoming disabled are what determine the amount of their monthly disability benefit. Each year, an individualís earnings are reported to the IRS and recorded on a Social Security Earnings record. Social Security is responsible for maintaining and correcting individual earnings records.
Keeping this in mind, you can see that the number of illnesses or conditions an individual has or acquires while receiving Social Security disability has nothing to do with the amount of their monthly disability benefit.
At this point, you may be wondering if there is anyway to increase an individualís disability benefit amount. Unfortunately, there are very few ways that an individualís disability benefit can be increased.
I can think of only two ways an individualís monthly disability benefit amount can be increased.
Disability benefit amounts can be increased through cost of living increases or by work activity. Most years, Social Security disability and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability beneficiaries receive an increase in their disability benefits to account for inflation. The only other way an individualís disability benefit can increase is through work activity.
Work activity and Social Security disability entitlement are a tricky situation. Part of the definition of Social Security disability is that an individual must have a medically determinable mental or medical impairment that has prevented them from working and earning SGA (a monthly earnings amount) for at least twelve continuous months, or is expected to prevent SGA work for twelve months.
This means that, to be approved for disability, you must be unable to perform substantial work activity (SGA stands for substantial gainful activity). So working could actually cause an individualís disability benefit to be suspended or even terminated.
Even though work activity can cause problems for disability beneficiaries, those who have not worked much, or have very low earnings amounts in the years prior to becoming disabled, may find that even work that is not SGA may cause an increase in their monthly disability benefit amount.
However, most Social Security disability beneficiaries will have no increase in their disability benefit amount other than cost of living increases.
Return to: SSDRC, or the Social Security Disability Questions page