Social Security Disability Benefits

Social Security Disability benefits provide disability protection in the form of monthly cash benefits to disabled workers and their families for the duration of the disability, depending upon their eligibility to receive such benefits. Disabled widows, widowers, or disabled surviving divorced spouses aged 50 through 59 who meet the other requirements for entitlement to widow's or widower's insurance benefit may qualify for monthly cash benefits. Disabled children of workers entitled to disabled workers and retirement benefits or of insured workers who have died may qualify for monthly cash benefits if the child becomes disabled before reaching 22 years of age.

Disabled individuals, blind, or needy individuals who do not have a sufficient work history to qualify for Social Security disability benefits may be entitled to receive a lesser monthly cash benefit under the supplemental security income or "SSI" program. For more information on "SSI," visit the E-Law message, Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Vocational rehabilitation services may be available to individuals receiving Social Security Disability benefits or to disabled or blind recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits who are capable of being restored to productive activity. In certain circumstances, hospital and supplementary medical insurance protection also may be available to qualifying persons.

Eligibility for disabled workers benefits is limited to workers under full retirement age of approximately 66 years who are unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable 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. A person must not only be unable to do his or her previous work or work commensurate with previous work, but considering the individual's age, education, and work experience, must also be unable to engage in any other kind of substantial gainful work which exists in the national economy. It is immaterial whether such work exists in the immediate area, or whether a specific job vacancy exists, or whether the worker would be hired if he or she applied for work. For blind workers 55 years of age and older, the inability, due to blindness, to engage in substantial gainful activity requiring skills or abilities comparable to those of any gainful activity in which he or she has previously engaged will qualify as disability.

To determine whether you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits or supplemental security income benefits, visit the local Social Security Office at 717 State Street, Highmark Building, Fifth Floor, in downtown Erie, or visit their website at www.ssa.gov.  3/11

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