Adult Social Security Benefits for Kentucky Residents
The United States Government, through the Social Security Administration, provides several types of benefits to qualifying adults. While most may be familiar with the Social Security benefits payable to retired workers, Social Security benefits are also available in several other situations. At the Kentucky social security and disability law firm of Hessig & Pohl, we identify the benefits our clients are entitled to and help quickly and efficiently obtain these benefits.
The Social Security Appeals Process in Kentucky. With decades of collective experience assisting clients through the process of obtaining Kentucky social security benefits, we are an invaluable resource for those pursuing these important government benefits.
Types of Social Security Benefits
The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides two main types of Social Security benefits: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). While the SSA oversees the payment of both of these benefits, each benefit has different purposes.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits:
SSDI benefits are available to individuals who 1.) have a disability, 2.) worked during their lifetime, and 3.) earned sufficient work credits. In addition to injured workers, spouses and children who develop a disability before the age of 22 may also qualify for SSDI benefits based on a family member’s employment history.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits:
SSI benefits consist of cash payments to older adults and people living with disabilities, regardless of their age. Unlike SSDI benefits, SSI benefits are only available to those with limited income and assets. A disabled employee can qualify for both SSI and SSDI benefits in certain situations, provided they have a sufficient work history and limited income and resources.
What Are Qualifying Disabilities?
Social Security applicants over the age of 65 do not need to prove that they have a qualifying disability. However, most Social Security applicants must prove that they suffer from one or more major disabilities before qualifying for benefits. The SSA uses the same criteria when assessing disability for both SSI and SSDI benefits. Specifically, a disability is defined as “the inability to work due to a physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”
Of course, this definition does little to help potential applicants assess their eligibility. Thus, the SSA provides a list of 14 disability listings that can help an applicant gauge whether they are entitled to benefits. The current disability listings are:
- Cardiovascular system disorders
- Congenital disorders that affect multiple body systems
- Digestive system disorders
- Endocrine disorders
- Genitourinary disorders
- Hematological disorders
- Immune System Disorders
- Malignant Neoplastic Diseases (cancer)
- Mental disorders
- Musculoskeletal system disorders
- Neurological disorders
- Respiratory system disorders
- Skin disorders
- Special Senses and speech disorders
To obtain Social Security benefits in Kentucky, an applicant must show that their disability results in the necessary level of impairment. Each of the above listings provides a detailed list of qualifying conditions. In addition, applicants can qualify for benefits by showing that they have another type of disease, disorder or disability, resulting in the necessary level of impairment. Notably, applicants who suffer from one or more minor disabilities can rely on the cumulative effect of their disabilities to meet eligibility requirements.
Qualifying for SSDI Benefits in Kentucky
To qualify for SSDI benefits, an applicant must have a qualifying disability as well as a significant work history. These benefits are paid out based on the amount of “work credits” that an applicant earned throughout their employment history. Work credits are earned by paying Social Security taxes. The number of work credits an applicant needs to qualify for SSDI benefits varies year to year. That said, an applicant generally must accrue 40 work credits, 20 of which were earned in the past ten years. Younger SSDI applicants can be able to obtain benefits with fewer work credits.
Once the SSA determines that an applicant has the necessary amount of work credits, it will engage in a five-step process:
- Is the applicant currently working?
If an applicant is currently working, and making more than the maximum amount of available SSDI benefits, they will not qualify.
- Is the applicant’s condition severe?
Only applicants with a “severe” condition will qualify for SSDI benefits. When assessing the severity of an applicant’s condition, the SSA looks to whether it affects their ability to perform basic tasks, such as walking, lifting, sitting, standing or recalling information.
- Is the applicant’s condition listed?
If an applicant’s condition is listed in one of the 14 disability listings and is severe, the applicant will qualify for benefits. However, even unlisted conditions can qualify if the applicant can show that their condition is equivalent to a listed disability.
- Can the applicant still perform the duties of their job?
Applicants with unlisted disabilities must show that they cannot perform their job duties due to their disability-related limitations.
- Can the applicant perform some other type of work?
Even if an applicant cannot perform the duties of their previous job, the SSA will want to know if the applicant can still work in some other capacity.
The application process for Kentucky SSDI benefits can be complex, and the assistance of a dedicated Louisville disability attorney can be of great assistance.
Qualifying for SSI Benefits in Kentucky
The SSA makes Supplemental Security Income benefits available to those with limited resources, who are either over the age of 65 or suffer from a disability. SSI is payable to those who have a qualifying disability, regardless of their work history.
When assessing whether an applicant has a qualifying disability, the SSA uses the same criteria for both SSI and SSDI, which requires an applicant show they have “the inability to work due to a physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”
Currently, the income limit for Kentucky SSI benefits is $2,000 for an individual and $3,000 for a couple. The SSI income limit is more challenging to determine, but generally speaking, the more money an applicant makes, the less their SSI benefit will be.
Those applying for SSI or SSDI benefits in Kentucky are not required to have an attorney’s assistance. However, the application process is not always straightforward, and the SSA may contest an applicant’s eligibility on several grounds. Thus, applicants are advised to work with an experienced Kentucky social security attorney when applying for these important benefits.
Contact a Kentucky Social Security Disability Attorney Today for Immediate Assistance
If you have a disability, you may be entitled to Social Security benefits. At the Louisville social security law firm of Hessig & Pohl, we help clients prepare and submit their SSDI and SSI claims. We also represent applicants who have applied on their own and have been denied. With our decades of experience on your side, you can rest assured that you are in good hands. To learn more, and to schedule a consultation with one of our Kentucky disability lawyers today, call 502-777-1111. Calling is free, and because we work on a contingency basis, we will not charge a fee unless we can help you obtain benefits.
Marty fought for me when the insurance company denied my claim. We sued and got the insurance limits.