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Determining Benefits for Young Adults with Disability

  • Synopsis: Published: 2011-11-18 - The Social Security Administration new ruling clarifies the procedure used to determine benefits for young adults aged 18 to 25 with physical and mental disabilities - Olinsky Law Group.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD or SSDI) -A payroll tax-funded, federal insurance program of the United States government managed by the Social Security Administration designed to provide income supplements to people physically restricted in their ability to be employed because of a notable disability, usually a physical disability. SSD can be supplied on either a temporary or permanent basis, usually directly correlated to whether the person's disability is temporary or permanent.

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SSA Ruling Clarifies How It Determines Young Adult Benefits - The SSA recently consolidated its procedure for determining benefits for disabled young adults.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has released a new ruling which clarifies and condenses the procedure it uses to determine benefits for young adults aged 18 to 25 with physical and mental disabilities.

The ruling consolidates several steps of the application process and presents them in a single source for families, attorneys and agencies to access. Now, applicants can use the SSA's ruling for guidance in building their disability claims.

Determining benefits for young adults with disabilities is difficult because the process incorporates both child and adult application review procedures.

The ruling clarifies that young adults are considered adults by the SSA when making benefits decisions, but that evidence of disability from an individual's childhood can be used to help determine an appropriate amount of benefits.

Like other Social Security Disability recipients, young adults must prove that their disability bars them from performing what the SSA calls "substantial gainful activity," for example, holding a job.

The SSA uses five questions to help determine whether or not an individual is eligible for benefits:

  • Is the applicant currently involved in substantial gainful activity
  • Does the applicant have a severe physical or mental impairment that has been medically diagnosed
  • Does the applicant's impairment appear on the SSA's Listing of Impairments or is it equivalent in severity to conditions on the list
  • Does the applicant's "residual functional capacity" (RFC) allow them to do "past relevant work"
  • Does the applicant have enough RFC to do other work that is offered in this country, considering his or her age, education and job history

If the SSA decides that the answers to questions one, four and five are "no" and questions two and three are "yes," then the applicant is eligible for benefits.

To help it determine the answers to the above questions, the SSA requires several pieces of evidence from the applicant in order to prove that they are eligible for benefits. In addition to medical records and work records that all adults can present as evidence, young adults and their families may also give the SSA school-related documentation. Young adult applicants can provide evidence of their disability from physicians and nurses as well as from teachers, Individual Education Plans used in the young adult's school career and any documentation collected by a school's Special Education department.

The SSA may also use a young adult's work attempts to determine their benefit award. Young adult applicants can include both successful and unsuccessful work experiences as well as volunteer work.

From all of this data, the SSA will attempt to determine whether a young adult beneficiary is able to transition into work. If it finds that someone can, it will continue to pay benefits until the young adult completes a transitional work program. If a young adult cannot transition into work, this reality will appropriately affect his or her benefit award.

Applying for Social Security disability benefits is complicated at any age, but for young adults making the transition from adolescence to adulthood, the process can become even more complex. The new ruling should help make the process for applying for benefits more transparent and help young adults and their families gather evidence for a strong application.

If you are considering applying for Social Security disability benefits for a loved one between 18 and 25 years old, please contact an experienced Social Security benefits attorney to help you navigate the application process.

Article provided by Olinsky Law Group - Visit us at

Related Information:

  1. Study Considers Social Security Benefits for Students - Social Security student benefits would help address college affordability and completion for students...
  2. SSI Benefits for Young Adults - When a child who receives SSI benefits turns 18, he or she isn't automatically eligible to continue receiving benefits...
  3. Am I Eligible for Disability Benefits - According to the Social Security Administration's viewpoint, the older you are when you apply for help from them, the easier it is to receive...

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