A disability attorney is important in helping applicants for disability benefits understand the various  technical, legal, and medical terms encountered during the application process and thereafter. Here is a continuation of a look at some important terms associated with applying for social security benefits:

Family Benefits (Dependent Benefits)

When you’re eligible for retirement or disability benefits, the following people might  receive benefits:

  • a spouse if he or she is at least 62 years old (or any age but caring for an entitled child of the deceased spouse under age 16 or disabled);
  • children if they are unmarried and under age 18, or under age 19 and a full-time elementary or secondary student ;
  • children age 18 or older but disabled before age 22;
  • ex-spouses age 62 or older.

There are a variety of technical requirements for each category of potential beneficiaries, and in some cases, it depends on the death or disability of the wage earner.  Timing issues can be critical here.


FICA (“Federal Insurance Contributions Act.” is the tax withheld from an individual’s salary or self-employment income that funds the Social Security and Medicare programs.

Insured Status

Individuals that have worked and earned enough Social Security credits to be eligible for retirement or disability benefits or enabled their dependents to be eligible for benefits due to your retirement, disability, or death, attain and have insured status.

Maximum Earnings

The maximum amount of earnings counted in any calendar year when computing Social Security benefits.


This is a joint federal and state program that helps with medical costs for people with low incomes and limited resources. Medicaid programs vary from state to state.


Medicare is a federal health insurance program that covers routine hospital services and most but not all primary medical care.  Medicare is not as comprehensive as Medicaid. SSDI beneficiaries are eligible to receive Medicare two years after they are deemed eligible for SSDI benefits. In practice, the eligibility is almost always 29 full months after the date you became disabled.  There are some rare exceptions.  Yes, two years is not 29 months, but there is a five full month wait on eligibility Title II cash benefits ( thank Congress! ), so 24+ 5 =29 months.

OASDI (Old Age Survivors and Disability Insurance)

The Social Security programs that provide monthly cash benefits to workers and their dependents when they retire die or become disabled.

PIA (Primary Insurance Amount)

The monthly amount payable if you are a retired worker who begins receiving benefits at full retirement age or if you’re disabled and have never received a retirement benefit reduced for age.

Supplemental Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

This is an entitlement program that is typically available to any person who has paid into the Social Security system for at least ten years, regardless of his current income and assets.  Younger beneficiaries and disabled adult children of retired or deceased workers may have different requirements. Theoretically, all qualified workers, even high-income earners, are eligible SSDI recipients.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

A federal supplemental income program funded by general tax revenues rather than Social Security taxes that helps aged, blind, and disabled people with limited income and resources by providing monthly cash payments to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter.  This program is ”means tested”- the more means (think money, assets, income) you have, the less SSI you get.  At a certain point, you can be medically disabled yet be “too rich“ for SSI.  The program has a maze of rules regarding financial eligibility .  Once someone is qualified for SSI, the benefits  usually includes Medicaid eligibility.

One of the best ways to make sure you understand all of the technical, legal, and medical terms associated with applying for social security disability benefits is by retaining the services of a qualified Kentucky Social Security Disability attorney. Contact Sullivan Law Office today. We offer free consultations, so you have absolutely nothing to lose! We look forward to hearing from you. Call 888-587-0228 or visit us online.Social Security Terms Defined And Explained Part 2