Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB)

In 2012, especially with the 2012 election, many people talked about “entitlement benefits”.  Some people consider Social Security disability benefits to be entitlement benefits.  However, unlike Medicaid or food stamps, you pay for your Social Security benefits.  You will notice that “taxes” are taken from your paychecks for Social Security benefits.

In order to qualify for Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) you must have sufficient earnings to qualify.   You earn credits or quarters when you have earned sufficient earnings.  You may earn up to 4 credits each year.  You must have earned at least 20 credits within a ten year period in order to qualify.  This is called the 20/40 rule; 20 credits in the last 40 quarters.  So if you have worked consistently for at least five years then stop working due to a disability, you should be qualified to apply for DIB.  There is more to analyze than just this simplistic rendition, but this will give you an idea of what is required for DIB.  When you stop working, you begin to lose your insured status.  The SSA sets a “date last insured” time based upon your earnings and when you stop working.  In order to qualify for DIB, you must prove that you became disabled prior to your date last insured.  For most claimants, this is not a problem.   In some cases, the date last insured may prevent them from receiving DIB.

The good thing about DIB is that other income does not affect these benefits.  If you are married and your spouse earns an income, this money will not affect your benefits.   Likewise, if you receive other disability benefits, such as service-connected Veteran’s Disability benefits, this will not affect your ability to collect disability insurance benefits.

Your monthly DIB amount is determined by the amount of earnings you received over your lifetime.