Nevada SSA Benefits: What You Need to KnowFiled under General
The Social Security Administration (SSA) is in charge of a group of government programs that makes payments to individuals if they meet certain requirements. The rules governing the programs administered by the SSA may be found at 20 CFR 404 et. seq. Generally, eligibility for Nevada SSA programs is contingent upon the person’s work history or that of a relative. Benefits provided by the SSA fall under these general categories:
- Disability benefits;
- Retirement benefits;
- Spousal benefits;
- Dependent benefits; and
- Death benefits.
Another SSA benefit program, known as Supplemental Security Income is provided to those who meet the eligibility requirements based on financial need instead of work history. The guidelines governing SSI benefits may be found at 20 CFR 416 et. seq.
Types of Social Security Benefits Available in Nevada
Each type of SSA benefit has its own eligibility requirements, which are explained in detail below.
If you are found to be disabled by the SSA and have worked a sufficient amount of time to obtain a minimum number of work credits during your work history, you may be entitled to SSA disability benefits (SSDI). In order to be considered disabled by the SSA, you must have a physical or mental impairment that prevents you from participating in substantial gainful activity. When someone applies for SSDI, the disability should be expected to last a minimum of 12 months or, alternatively, expected to result in death.
When someone becomes disabled before the age of 24, he or she must have worked for at least six quarters in the three years just prior to when the disability began in order to qualify for SSDI. Under SSA standards, a “quarter” is a three month period. When an individual becomes disabled at any age between 24 and 30, the person must have worked for at least two quarters between age 21 and the time the disability began. If the person became disabled at age 31, he or she must have one quarter of work for each year subsequent to the person’s 21st birthday and before the year during which the disability began. A person must also have worked a minimum of 20 quarters in the past 10 years before the onset of a disability.
In order for an individual to be eligible to receive social security retirement (SSR) benefits, he or she must have worked for 10 years during his or her lifetime in employment that was covered by Social Security. In order to meet the 10 year requirement, a worker must have 40 credits. Credits are based on actual earnings not the actual number of months worked. A maximum of four credits of credit may be earned in any calendar year.
Individuals who are eligible for SSR may take early retirement beginning at age 62, at a reduced monthly rate. Otherwise, if the person waits until the expected age of retirement outlined by the SSA based on his or her birth year, the benefit amount will not be reduced. In the same fashion, a person who takes a late retirement after the expected age of retirement will receive a higher monthly benefit.
SSA calculates monthly SRR benefits based on a number of factors which include average monthly earnings during your work history, discarding the five lowest earning years, adjusting earnings for inflation, and computing the individual’s primary insurance amount.
Spousal & Dependent Benefits
If you retire or become disabled, your family is entitled to receive benefits from the SSA as well. Qualified family members may receive a check for up to 50 percent of your retirement of disability benefits. The following individuals may be eligible to receive SSA benefits:
- Unmarried children: this includes those under the age of 18, under the age of 19 if still in high school, and/or 18 and older if the child became disabled before the age of 22;
- Current spouse: if your spouse is at least 62 years of age, or if he or she is any age and cares for a qualified child who is under the age of 16 or is disabled;
- Divorce spouse: if your prior spouse was married to you for at least 10 years, is at least 62 years old, and unmarried.
Upon death, the SSA makes a one-time lump-sum payment of $255 to surviving family members if the deceased either (1) worked a total of 10 quarters during his or her lifetime; or (2) worked at least one quarter for each year after the person’s 21st birthday (not counting the year of death), or at least 6 quarters in the 13 quarters just prior to death. Generally, the benefit is payable to a surviving spouse. If there is no eligible spouse, the payment goes to a child.
Supplemental Security Income
The government’s SSI program pays benefits to eligible people who are 65 years of age and older, blind, or disabled who are financially in need. The government considers an individual to be financially in need if he or she has limited resources and income. While these standards vary from state to state, in Nevada a person’s non-exempt resources must not exceed $2,000, and monthly income may not exceed $534.40 if age 65, $512.00 if disabled, or $603.30 if blind – presuming the person is living independently). A couple (spouses) may receive SSI benefits if they are both either (1) age 65, (2) blind, and/or (3) disabled. The couple cannot have more than $3,000 in non-exempt resources. There are specific income limits for couples to be eligible to receive SSI under Nevada law.
Reach Out to a Nevada Attorney to Discuss SSA Benefits
Those in need of SSA benefits should seek legal representation at any stage of the claims process, but especially if you have to appeal a denial of benefits. If you are not represented prior to requesting a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), you should seek one at this point. The knowledgeable attorneys at Paul Padda Law have experience representing individuals in Nevada before the SSA. Call us today to schedule your initial, free, consultation with one of our lawyers.