Your ability to get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments in Arkansas or anywhere in the US is based on your ability to work. If you are truly “disabled,” under the Social Security Administration (SSA)’s definition, then you are unable to go to work.
The SSA judges your inability to work, in part, based on how much money you are making. If you can still provide yourself with a living wage, then the SSA may not consider you “disabled.” Each year, the SSA typically changes the income limits for disability, which have increased in 2023.
For a free case review with our Arkansas Social Security Disability lawyers, contact us today at (479) 316-0438.
2023 Social Security Disability Income Limits in Arkansas
The SSA provides monthly disability benefits to over 8 million disabled workers in the United States. Many people rely on these benefits to deal with serious conditions that may require expensive and frequent medical expenses. With a new year often comes increased income thresholds for individuals that work while receiving disability benefits.
Due to some jobs only requiring very little physical or mental activity, there are some jobs that you might still be able to work, even with a severe disability. The SSA’s limit as to what is “disabled” ultimately deals with how much money you can make in a month. If you can work a few hours every week but cannot achieve a living wage on these hours, you may still be able to claim disability payments. Alternatively, if your injury is severe but does not prevent you from working for a living wage, you are not “disabled.”
Substantial Gainful Activity
In determining whether you can work or not, the Social Security Administration looks at your ability to perform a substantial gainful activity (SGA). A person is capable of engaging in SGA if they can meet a certain threshold of earnings every month. If you make over a certain threshold, then you are still “able” enough to work and will be denied SSD. If you cannot work for a living wage, you cannot engage in SGA and may qualify as “disabled.”
Income Limits in 2023
The SSA changes the income threshold for SSA disability benefits periodically. While they may keep the income amount the same for a few years, the limit does generally go up over time. In 2019, the income limit was $1,220 per month.
However, the Social Security income limit for 2023 is $1,470 for non-blind workers. Since blind workers already have difficulties with their sight, alongside other potential disabilities, their SGA limit is $2,460 per month. This means they can make more money each month and still qualify for disability.
Receiving Social Security Disability Benefits While Working in Arkansas
The SSA does not make disability payments to everyone who applies. First, you must go through different rounds of qualifications to show the SSA that you meet their definition of “disabled.” While having a qualifying condition is important, the more important factor is that the disability is “severe.” For the SSA to accept your condition as “disabling,” it must be severe enough that you cannot work. The SSA may allow exceptions for applicants who have disorders not found on their list as long as the condition is equally as severe as one of the accepted conditions.
Determining the Severity of Your Condition
In determining whether a condition is “severe,” the SSA looks at whether you can work. If you cannot get out of bed or transport yourself, you likely cannot work. Similarly, if you cannot physically perform a task like completing the application without help, you will likely qualify for SSD. The SSA will look at what job tasks you are able to perform and whether your prior experience will permit you to perform another job. For instance, if you worked for a few years at a desk job, then became a construction worker, you may be too disabled to perform construction but may be able to return to desk work. If you are completely unable to work because of a condition, you will likely qualify for SSD.
Other Methods for Determining Your Eligibility for Benefits
If you are able to perform some work-related tasks, you may still be able to apply for disability benefits in Arkansas. The SSA does not see things as black and white, disabled or abled, unable to work, or able to work. They recognize that some jobs and some disabilities might be more compatible than others. Because of this, you are not automatically rejected for disability benefits available if you can work to some extent. Instead, the SSA looks at how much money you can make, then determines eligibility.
Calculating Social Security Disability Benefits in Arkansas
In order to be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, you must have contributed to Social Security by paying taxes for at least five years within a ten-year period. If you have not worked for the equivalent of five full-time years or have not made any contributions to the system, you will not be entitled to receive benefits.
How the Social Security Administration Calculates Your Benefits
If you have been paying into the system and have qualified for disability insurance, it usually expires after five years of not working. To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must demonstrate that you met the disability criteria before your insurance expires. The timeframes for this are calculated on an individual basis, taking into account their unique work history.
The amount of your monthly SSDI benefit is determined by a formula used by the Social Security Administration. On average, SSDI payments are around $1,358 per month. Your monthly SSDI payment amount is determined by the amount of Social Security taxes you have paid throughout your lifetime.
The SSA begins the process of calculating your monthly benefit by using your “average indexed monthly earnings” (AIME). The SSA calculates your AIME based on your average covered earnings over several years. A formula is then applied to your AIME to determine your “primary insurance amount” (PIA). The PIA is the monthly amount you will receive for your SSDI payments.
How You Can Determine Your Primary Insurance Amount
There are multiple ways to determine what your PIA is from the SSA. First, you can get an estimate of your monthly benefits and PIA by using the Social Security Administration’s Online Benefits Calculator. You can also create an account online with the SSA, which will walk you through the steps to calculate your benefits. You can also call a local SSA office near you by looking for a location through the SSA’s “find an office” search online.
Your monthly SSDI payment may be subject to deductions due to several reasons. The SSA may decrease your payment amount as a result of income from employment, Workers’ Compensation payments, receipt of retirement benefits from the SSA, and benefits from other insurance programs.
Conditions that Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits in Arkansas
Social Security Disability Benefits are available to individuals who cannot work due to a medical condition. To qualify for disability benefits, an individual must suffer from a physical or mental impairment that prevents them from being able to work. Below are some conditions that qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits in Arkansas:
Cardiovascular System Disorders
Cardiovascular disorders affect the heart and blood vessels, including coronary artery disease (CAD) and peripheral vascular disease (PVD). These conditions can cause chest pain during exertion or at rest, shortness of breath, fatigue or dizziness when walking quickly or climbing stairs, and other symptoms such as nausea. Most medically recognized forms of cardiovascular disease will qualify for SSDI in Arkansas.
Cancer is a disease in which abnormal cells divide without control and can spread to other parts of the body. The most common types of cancer include leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma. Some cancers can be treated with surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or hormone therapy. However, some people cannot have their cancer cured because it has spread too far or is resistant to treatment. If you have been diagnosed with cancer and are unable to work as a result of your illness, you will likely be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits.
Musculoskeletal disorders are conditions that affect muscles, tendons, or ligaments in your body. The most common musculoskeletal conditions that qualify for disability benefits include osteoarthritis and back pain due to degenerative disc disease or disc herniation.
Brain damage and neurological disorders that are so severe that you cannot function normally without assistance will also likely qualify an individual for SSDI in Arkansas. Examples include traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), strokes, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and other severe diseases that affect the brain.
Conditions that affect your lungs, like asthma, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis, can also qualify you for SSDI benefits if they are serious enough to keep you from working full-time. One of the most common disorders individuals suffer from that allows them to receive SSDI benefits is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which makes breathing difficult even with little movement.
Digestive System Disorders
Digestive system disorders can affect many organs and nerves, which can qualify for disability benefits under SSA’s listing for digestive system disorders. Numerous digestive system disorders are recognized by the SSA, including celiac disease, diabetes Type 1 and 2, gallbladder disease, gastric Ulcer, and gastritis. Other qualifying digestive conditions are Hepatitis, Crohn’s disease, and inflammatory bowel disease.
Immune System Disorders
Infections, genetic factors, environmental toxins, and medicines can cause immune system disorders. Examples include human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), lupus, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), Sjogren’s Syndrome, psoriatic arthritis, and autoimmune hepatitis, among many others. These disorders can cause symptoms ranging from inflammation to severe declines in health, possibly preventing an individual from working entirely.
Social Security disability benefits are also available to those in Arkansas who suffer from mental disorders that interfere with their ability to work. This commonly includes conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, and schizophrenia.
Endocrine disorders are medical conditions that affect hormonal balance in the body. These diseases are often genetic in nature, although they can also be caused by infection or exposure to certain chemicals. Examples of endocrine disorders include diabetes, hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), and Addison’s disease.
Congenital disorders are physical conditions that affect a person at birth or infancy. These disorders are present from birth and are not always immediately apparent. Some examples of congenital disorders include Down syndrome, spina bifida, and cystic fibrosis. Congenital disorders can be mild or severe, but they usually have lifelong effects on the body. The Social Security Administration considers congenital disorders to be disabling conditions that qualify for disability benefits if the condition meets the SSA’s definition of severity.
Our Arkansas Social Security Disability Lawyers Can Help
Call us at (479) 316-0438 today for a free assessment of your case with our Arkansas Social Security Disability attorneys.