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Is Social Security Disability Taxable?

Social Security Disability benefits help those who have suffered from an injury by providing funds to cover expenses while they attempt to recover, if possible. For those who may never recover, Social Security Disability benefits may be their only source of income. Because it is considered a source of income, however, Social Security Disability benefits are taxable.

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Most Social Security beneficiaries will not be taxed because their income is not high enough. However, roughly one-third of those who receive benefits will have to pay some taxes on their benefits.

Generally, those who must pay taxes have other income outside of their social security benefits, likely from a spouse or other household income. These benefits are taxable regardless of whether you receive them before or after retirement, due to a personal disability, or as a result of a survivorship claim.

What Amount of my Social Security Disability Benefits is Taxable?

If you want to take a guess at how much of your disability benefits may be taxable, you can try to use this IRS Form. You could also do some simple calculations on your own.

1. Determine your base amount of taxes: Your base amount will vary depending on your filing status.

  • $25,000 if you are single, head of household, a qualifying widow(er), or you are married but filing separately and lived apart from your spouse for the entire year
  • $32,000 if you are married filing jointly
  • $0 if you are married filing separately and lived with your spouse at any time during the year

2. Calculate your qualifying income: Divide your total Social Security benefits for the year in half. Then, add your other income to that number (including your spouse’s income).

3. Find your taxable Social Security benefits: If the number you found in Step 2 is higher than your base amount (Step 1), then up to 50 percent of your benefits are taxable.

4. Find any additional tax: If the number you found in Step 2 is higher than specific amounts, then up to 85 percent of your benefits may be taxable. These amounts vary depending on your filing status.

  • $34,000 if you are single, head of household, a qualifying widow(er), or you are married but filing separately and lived apart from your spouse for the entire year
  • $44,000 if you are married filing jointly
  • $0 if you are married filing separately but you and your spouse lived together at any point during the year

Speak with a Trusted Social Security Disability Lawyer

The majority of those who receive Social Security Disability Lawyer due to an injury will not have their benefits taxed because of their relatively low income; however, this not always the case. For more information, contact Fetterman & Associates, PA at 561-845-2510.

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What Injuries are Covered by Social Security Disability?

What Injuries are Covered By Social Security DisabilityThere are a lot of injuries and illnesses that could be labeled as “debilitating”, however, just because an injury is, doesn’t mean it qualifies for Social Security Disability benefits. Even if an injury or illness is not disabling right away, the person can still qualify for disability benefits even if it develops later.

Social Security Disability is offered as a government program; therefore, there are strict rules and qualifying procedures. In order to qualify, you must prove that:

• You have a mental or physical disability;
• The disability prevents you from doing work or any gainful employment;
• The disability will last or has lasted for at least one year or will result in death.

These guidelines were developed by the SSD, but can be interpreted on a case by case basis. So, even if you have a disability that has lasted over a year, you could be denied benefits. You must also prove all three factors, which can be more complicated than simply providing a doctor’s note.

Gainful Work: A Commonly Misunderstood Requirement

The substantial and gainful work requirement is very restrictive. For example, you were a vet tech for 30 of your 45 years of life. But, you injured your back and your physician has said that injury will last for a long time. You are now missing so much work that you can no longer work as a vet technician. But, do you have the capability to earn income another way? If you cannot lift or stand, can you still work while sitting? If so, you are likely to be denied SSD benefits.

However, if your age, education, and skills exclude you from any applicable desk jobs, then you may be approved.

How SSD Approves or Denies

In order for the SSD to decide whether or not you qualify, they go through a step-by-step process, which includes:

• Determining if you are working now and if your average earnings are higher than the base amount set by SSD.
• The severity of your condition, and if it truly impacts your ability to thrive.
• If your disability qualifies under the SSD.
• If you can do other types of work.
• If you can continue working in your current career field.

Read more about what to do after an SSD denial.

So What Injuries Qualify for SSD?

There are a lot of injuries that can qualify for SSD, but they are categorized by:

• Respiratory System Disorders
• Cardiovascular Disorders
• Musculoskeletal Injuries
• Injuries to Speech or Other Senses
• Skin Disorders
• Endocrine Disorders
• Hematological Disorders
• Neurological Disorders
• Immune System Disorders
• Mental Disorders
• Neoplastic Diseases
• Congenital Disorders that Affect Multiple Systems within the Body
• Genitourinary Disorders

Need SSD? Hire a Social Security Disability Attorney

If you are injured or think you qualify for SSD, then you need an attorney. The application process is highly complicated and even if you qualify, you could be denied much-needed benefits. Contact the West Palm Beach social security disability lawyers at Fetterman & Associates, PA today. We offer free case evaluations and can assist you with your SSD claims.

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Disabilities Can Result From Substance Abuse

Yes, it is true — substance abuse can cause disabilities. These disabilities therefore can quality a person for Medicaid/Medicare benefits, as well as Social Security Disability. Addiction Treatment Magazine published a recent study noting that abusers eventually develop permanent damage of some type for which they can receive benefits. The truth is this is a terrible situation, but at least help is available.

The problems developed by substance abusers include physical or behavioral changes. Substances affect the central nervous system of a person, causing conditions like seizures, pancreatitis, gastritis, liver damage, peripheral neuropathies, personality disorders, anxiety disorders, depressive syndrome, and organic mental disorders. Are you ready to move forward with your case? Hire a social security disability attorney today.

Determining Disability Permanence

Disabilities Can Result From Substance AbuseThe Social Security Administration must pay benefits to those with substance addiction disorders as long as the condition which qualifies — including those listed above — remains. As a result, the permanence of drug and alcohol addiction must be determined.

The severity of disorders like anxiety and depression can be difficult to determine because the time it takes the abuser to go through therapy, gain the benefits of drugs and get sober varies greatly. If a permanent disability results from using drugs, abusers can receive Medicare and Medicaid substance abuse benefits. Approval is needs-based and many abusers can qualify for work-based SSD benefits via Medicare after a couple years.

Types of Benefits

The types of benefits available include SSI or Social Security Income and SSDI or Social Security Disability Income. Their eligibility requirements are different but both define disabled in the same way. In order to be placed under consideration you must have had your condition for at least 12 months and it must be determined that it will last for another year at a minimum.

The other qualification is that the substance abuse threatens the abuser with possible death. Earning a living must be prevented by the drug abuse, indicating the severity of its impact upon the life of the abuser.


Unfortunately fraudulence has lead the SSA to become more stringent about benefit distribution, even for those who truly need the benefits. Fraudulence is often seen in small amounts and thus used as an excuse to not pay out benefits to the needy in all types of social programs — not just those related to substance abuse.

Political motivations on both sides of the aisle call for a reduction in government expenditures of these types. What this means for the truly needy substance abusers is lower payouts and more work to get those payouts.

Also Read:

Hire a Social Security Disability Attorney Now

You need a social security disability benefits attorney with the experience to get you the benefits you need. Do not let yourself get grouped with those committing fraud, contact the Law Team at Fetterman & Associates today.

The process of getting your benefits can be very complicated and in order to receive benefits it’s crucial you complete it correctly, including appeals, how disability is defined by the SSA, and what causes the SSA to reject benefits.

The Social Security Administration has more incentive to pay you than to not, but with an attorney at your side you can fight for your rights. Contact The Law Team of Fetterman & Associates now.

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Getting Social Security Disability Benefits May Take Longer Due to Cuts

News is out that staffing cuts at the Social Security Administration (SSA), which occurred during the 2013 fiscal year, will have an impact on those seeking timely hearings. In September 2012, the SSA had 65,113 workers; a year later, that number had been reduced to 62,543. Over the past three years due to cutbacks, the SSA has lost a total of 11,000 employees.

What this translates into is a backup in processing claims on all levels, more pressure on workers, and the chance that decisions regarding your social security disability benefits may not go the right way. The sum effect can be a loss of or delay in getting much needed benefits.

Long Term Disability Applications

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is to be used when someone has a severe disability, physical or mental or both, that lasts 12 months or longer. To qualify for benefits under the program someone has to be unable to perform their job duties and, as a result, they are precluded from earning a living. Workers, who make contributions through their FICA with holdings, fund the program, which is administered by the SSA.


Although those who apply for benefits are not required to use a lawyer, an attorney with experience in this area can be very helpful. Many times those who are disabled will file for benefits without legal assistance, but will then decide to use an attorney when they have been turned down initially and are preparing for their SSA review and appeal process.

The entire process of applying for and appealing SSA decisions can take more than a year, for some it can take as much as three years before they receive a final decision. With the reduction in the SSA workforce, the time for the processing of claims is expected to expand.

Good News for the Future

However, there is good news on the horizon. The SSA has reported that they will receive increased funding for FY2014 and expect more funding for FY2015, which means they will be hiring more employees. Although there will certainly be a learning curve involved in training new employees, this is, overall, good news for the future. But presently, the SSA is contending with shortfalls in staffing.

Working with an Attorney

A knowledgeable, experienced, and skilled attorney who has been successful in helping others secure SSDI benefits can be a major factor in expediting your claim and reducing frustration. Your lawyer will know how to best document your disability and present it. They will be able to monitor the progress of your application, provide additional information in a timely mannerthat may be requested by the SSA, and represent your claim in any hearings.

Find Out More

If you believe that you have a claim for a long-term injury and will be seeking help through SSDI, consider working with a lawyer who understands the system and can help make sure that every aspect of your claim meets their criteria. A knowledgeable lawyer will be able to guide you through the entire process and will help reduce any problems related to improperly prepared and incomplete applications.

For information on the SSA and SSDI, contact Fetterman and Associates at 561-845-2510 today. We offer a free evaluation of your claim and situation. Fetterman and Associates will protect your rights and work hard to make sure that you have every opportunity to receive the benefits that you deserve.

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