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keeperumiami
keeperumiami, Senior Tax Expert & Financial Planner
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 7119
Experience:  Sr Tax Expert/Financial PlannerCPA/PFS (retired)Over forty years of advising individuals & small businesses
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I'm trying to apply for SSDI, but I'm baffled by the

Customer Question

I'm trying to apply for SSDI, but I'm baffled by the intended meaning of one of the first questions, "During the last 14 months, have you been unable to work because of illnesses, injuries or conditions that have lasted or are expected to last at least 12 months or can be expected to result in death?" Does it mean "at any point during that period", "all points during that period", or something else?
JA: The Retirement Accountant will know how to help. Please tell me more, so we can help you best.
Customer: I have been in declining health for some time. I was laid off in May of this year, though my doctors have been suggesting I should stop for some time. I need to focus on the extensive medical stuff I need to do each day, and have an appointment with my neurologist tomorrow to begin the formal process. But I don't understand whether the question is asking whether I've been unable to work for 14 solid months, or if I've been unable to work for some of that interval.
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Retirement Accountant should know?
Customer: Regarding this question, no.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 8 months ago.

Hello: This is Phillipsesq. Welcome to JustAnswer! I am reviewing your post, and I will post my response very shortly. Thank you for your patience.

Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 8 months ago.

I'm trying to apply for SSDI, but I'm baffled by the intended meaning of one of the first questions, "During the last 14 months, have you been unable to work because of illnesses, injuries or conditions that have lasted or are expected to last at least 12 months or can be expected to result in death?" Does it mean "at any point during that period", "all points during that period", or something else?

Response 1: At any point.

But I don't understand whether the question is asking whether I've been unable to work for 14 solid months, or if I've been unable to work for some of that interval.

Response 2: Have been unable to work for some of that interval. In any event, your illness MUST be expected to last at least 12 months or result in your passing in order for you to be found to be disabled by Social Security Administration ("SSA"). SSA has a very strict definition of disability.

Goodluck with your application.

A 5-star rating to my response is appreciated so that I can receive proper credit for responding to your post. There is no additional cost to you for giving a 5-star rating.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Thanks.I understand about the 12 months or demise part and the strict definition.A further point of unclarity is that in the meantime, while collecting unemployment, I've been seeking work that might be within my increasingly-limited capabilities. Does collecting UI count as evidence of employability, the way being employed would? I'm also trying to apply for state disability (CA), but running into technical difficulties with their site. Is the sequencing important?
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 8 months ago.

I am going to opt out to give other Attorneys on the site the opportunity to comment on your follow-up questions.

Best wishes,

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
OK. Thanks for the initial answer.
Expert:  Lane replied 8 months ago.

Hi. My name's Lane ... It looks like your other expert has opted out. Maybe I can provide some perspective.

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Collecting unemployment and disability at the same time is a controversial issue in the disability field, with lawyers, non-lawyer advocates.

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Social Security claims examiners, and administrative law judges, all, have different opinions.

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Social Security disability lawyers typically advise against collecting unemployment benefits when applying for Social Security disability, but other lawyers point out that there are situations where an older person could be legitimately entitled to disability benefits due to a medical vocational allowance but be able to work.

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One example would be whene someone was given a residual functional capacity level (RFC) of ability to do sedentary work only, ( because of his age, past job skills, and education level, isn't expected to learn how to do a sedentary job,) he should be approved for disability benefits.

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Social Security's official stance is that receiving unemployment benefits does not prevent someone from receiving Social Security disability benefits, but that a disability claims examiner or ALJ can count the unemployment filing as one of the factors in considering whether an applicant is disabled.

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It sounds as if you MAY fit into that catgegory, but the bot***** *****ne is that is your application goes to an appeals judge (ALC) that is ONE of the things that they can consider.

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Please let me know if you have any questions at all, before you rate me

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If this has helped, and you DON’T have other questions … I'd appreciate a positive rating (using the stars or faces on your screen, and then clicking “submit").

...

Thanks!

Lane


I have a law degree, with concentration in Tax Law, Estate law & Corporate law, an MBA, specialization in financial accounting & tax, a BBA, and CFP & CRPS designations, as well - I’ve been providing financial, Social Security/Medicare, estate, corporate, non-profit, and tax advice, since 1986.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Thank you. *****'ve ended up doing is getting my CA SDI application in first, which will of course end my UI eligibility, and am now working on my SSI application.This brings me to the SSI question about whether I want to receive SS Retirement benefits while waiting for my SDI.I can't find any information on how SS Retirement benefits affect CA SDI. I would expect they conflict, but cannot find any confirmation?I would expect, that I should decline getting early retirement benefits while collecting CA SDI, and by then, my SSDI should kick in (assuming ultimately approved).Is this correct?
Expert:  Lane replied 8 months ago.

When you file for Social Security retirement at the age of sixty-two, you are going to receive a reduced benefit for early retirement.

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This benefit reduction is a permanent reduction that will not change to a higher benefit at your full retirement. However, if you file for disability at the same time you file for your early retirement and are deemed to be disabled by Social Security, they MAY not reduce the early retirement benefit as much as they normally would, if ssdi weren't in the picture
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Social Security may set your medical onset to the date you became disabled to work, and if that date plus the five month Social Security disability waiting period is prior to your month of entitlement to retirement benefits there'll BE no reduction to the retirement benefit.

BUT, if your disability entitlement date is longer than the five month disability retirement waiting period, Social Security will only reduce your benefit by the number of months you received retirement benefits prior to your entitlement to disability benefits. While this would not allow you to receive a benefit equal to your full retirement benefit, it will increase your reduced retirement benefit amount.
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You can always wait. It really depends upon your own cash flow needs at the time you file for a Social Security benefit.

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You should take a look at this:

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http://brendanconley.com/faq/questions-about-other-benefits-and-income/can-i-receive-social-security-retirement-and-disability-benefits-at-the-same-time/

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
That part I understand, though another clear explanation is always helpful.My question is how accepting the offer of receicing early retirement benefits interacts with the STATE SDI program.Is this so obvious that nobody talks about it?I would take early retirement with the reduction if I were not about to start receiving CA SDI. Getting both would be beneficial in that my longevity is not assured, but it seems that would be conflict. But I cannot confirm?
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I am referring to the SSDI application question where it asks if I want to receive early retirement while waiting for SSDI.
Expert:  Lane replied 8 months ago.

Given that last statement, becasue longevity IS what determines the financial results.

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Taking retirement at 62 DOES maximize, with the assumption that your life expectancy is less than the average as per the mortality tables.

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In terms of CA DI

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You're fortunate to live in California, one of only five states to offer short-term disability benefits. (Other states' short-term disability benefits are called temporary disability insurance, or TDI, rather than state disability insurance, or SDI.)

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Many, in California, take advantage of the SDI program while they wait for an approval from the Social Security Administration for disability benefits.

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But your roght in thinking that there is an offset for SSDI, when/if awarded.

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The reduction that Social Security takes from your disability benefits to account for state disability benefits is called an “offset.” To calculate the offset, Social Security will add your monthly Social Security disability benefits, including any dependents benefits payable to your family members, together with your SDI payment.

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If the total amount of both benefits is more than 80% of your average earnings before you became disabled, Social Security will deduct the excess amount from your SSDI benefit. (To figure your average pre-disability earnings, Social Security generally uses the average monthly wages from your highest-paid calendar year during the previous five years.)

Expert:  Lane replied 8 months ago.

Hi,
...
I’m just checking back in to see how things are going.
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Did my answer help?

If this HAS helped, and you DON’T have other questions … I'd appreciate a positive rating (using the stars or faces on your screen, and then clicking “submit")
...
But again, let me know if you need more on this.
Lane

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
OK, I think you're answering the reverse of what my question is.I understand the interaction of SSDI and CA SDI (or at least I think I do).What I'm wondering is the interaction of taking early SS retirement (not SSDI) on CA SDI.I am trying not to screw up my CA SDI benefit in the process here. (I've had some a couple experiences with the EDD on UI and SDI in the past). My CA SDI amount would be higher than my SS early retirement.
Expert:  keeperumiami replied 8 months ago.

Another expert here............I think I understand what you are after.

Social Security Retirement benefits are not an offset to CA SDI benefits.

However, if you file for early SS Retirement benefits and then apply for SSDI and are found not to qualify for SSDI, you will be stuck with a permanent reduction of your Social Security Retirement benefits. At age 62, your SS Retirement benefits would approximate 70% of your full Retirement benefit at your full retirement age.

If I were you, and you can afford it, I wouldn't apply for early retirement benefits while filing for SSDI; chances are that you will be denied initially and have to appeal before you will prevail if you are going to prevail. (Most applicants are denied initially, but that includes applicants that have questionable degrees of disability; for SSDI you are 100% disabled or you aren't disabled at all; there's no partial disability as I'm sure you know.

What would concern me is that if you apply for SS Retirement benefits early and are not retroactively approved for SSDI, you will be stuck with the 70% reduction for the rest of your life. If you wait until you have the SSDI decision, your early retirement benefit will increase by .0625% for each month after age 62 until you begin to collect your retirement benefit. That's approximately 7 1/2% per year if your full retirement age is 66.

But of course, only you can decide if you want to take the risk of not being approved for SSDI.

Steve G.

Expert:  keeperumiami replied 8 months ago.

Just checking in..............

I see that you have had a chance to review my response.

Do you have any follow-up questions?

If not, I would appreciate it if you would take a moment to rate my response as that is the only way that I will receive my share of the payment you already made to the site. There is no extra charge for providing a rating for me.

Thanks very much,

Steve G.