Filing for SSD Benefits in Illinois

Social Security Disability (SSD) is a federal benefits program that provides payments to people who are unable to work. Although it is a federal program, many decisions with regard to claims are determined by state departments. That means that there is specific information you should know about applying for SSD in Illinois.

Are You Eligible for Social Security Disability?

Two conditions are set out by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to qualify for SSD benefits. First, you must have worked in jobs covered by Social Security for long enough and recently enough to qualify for benefits. The second requirement is that you must have a medical condition that meets the definition of disability set out by the SSA.

Work History and SSD Benefits

Earnings and work history are based on work credits that are collected during employment or self-employment. In 2019, one work credit is received for every $1,360 earned, to a maximum of four credits a year. The credits remain on your Social Security record even when you change jobs or are unemployed for a period of time. The number of credits that you need to qualify for SSD depends on how old you are when you become disabled. Generally, you need 40 credits, with 20 of them earned in the 10 years previous to the year you became disabled. Younger workers, under 31 years of age, may qualify with fewer credits.

Disability in Illinois

Social Security only pays for total disability — it’s not available for partial disability or short-term disability. Other avenues, such as Workers’ Compensation, insurance, savings, and investments, may be available for those forms of disability that don’t qualify for SSD. Under Social Security rules, you are disabled if three conditions are present:
  • Your disability prevents you from performing work that you did before.
  • It is determined that your medical condition prevents you from adjusting to other work.
  • Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.

Applying for SSD

You can apply for SSD benefits at your local SSA office in Illinois, by telephone, or online. Medical decisions about disability claims are made by the disability determination agency for each state. The Bureau of Disability Determination Services (DDS) in Illinois will make the initial determination of whether you are eligible for disability. DDS is administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services, located in Springfield.
There is a limit to the amount of time you have to file for SSD benefits after you stop working. You can establish a protective filing date (PFD) by notifying the SSA in writing that you intend to apply for disability benefits; the PFD is also set when you start an online application, even if you don’t finish it.
A Protective Filing Date will help you maintain your eligibility for SSD, in the event that your “day last insured” — the last date you are eligible to qualify for SSD — is past when you apply for SSD benefits.

SSD Benefits Payments

The Social Security Disability benefits are based on the earnings that Social Security was paid from, before you became disabled. The benefit payment may be offset — reduced — if you receive disability benefits from certain other sources, such as workers’ compensation. The benefit isn’t impacted by veterans’ benefits, private insurance payments, or regular sources of income.

The SSA calculates your benefits using a complicated formula, but your benefit statement will tell you how much you would receive if you became disabled this year. The benefit statement can be accessed online once you create a personal Social Security account.
The average SSD benefit in 2019 is $1,234 a month; for those with above-average income, the amount can go up to $2,861. Social Security benefits are recalculated every year to account for increases to cost of living, based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Back Payments for Disability Benefits

Approximately 37 percent of Illinois applicants are approved for disability benefits. Most disability applicants are eligible for back payments by the time they get the approval letter.
The number of back payments you could receive is based on when you applied for SSD and the date the SSA decided you became disabled, referred to as the established onset date (EOD). You may also receive retroactive payments for up to 12 months prior to the application date, if you were disabled for that long. Back payments for applicants approved for SSD benefits is paid in one lump sum.

Waiting Period for Disability Benefits in Illinois

There is a five-month waiting period for benefits after you are approved. That means that you must be disabled for five months after the established onset date, before disability benefit payments begin — you will receive payments starting at the sixth month. Back payments will not include the five months of the waiting period.

Getting Help with your SSD Application

Dealing with Social Security matters can be complicated, especially if you are disabled. You have the right to representation as you navigate through the laws, rules, and procedures for applying for SSD in Illinois, or any appeals that may be necessary to obtain the benefits you are eligible for.
A legal expert can protect your interests and ensure that you have access to the resources that can improve your situation, as well as providing strong advocacy for your case to the decision-makers in the system. Contact the Good Law Group for a complimentary Case evaluation. We can be reached by phone at #847-577-4476 or we can be reached online.