Social Security disability: The what, when and how

Social Security disability benefits can be an important resource for individuals who become disabled.

To help make that better known, and in observance of the 27th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Pierce County Aging and Disability Resources will host an informational presentation about Social Security disability on July 25 at TACID, which is located at 6315 S. 19th St. in Tacoma. Attendance is free, and refreshments will be served.

The presenter will be Kirk Larson, a public affairs specialist with the Social Security Administration.

The most recent U.S. Census revealed that about 19 percent of the population has a disability. And studies show that about a quarter of 20-year-olds will become disabled before reaching age 67, according to Aging and Disability Resources, a division of Pierce County government.

In Pierce County, almost 20,000 individuals receive Social Security disability benefits. Over 13,000 are between 18 and 64 years old, and about 38 percent of people with a disability in Washington are employed, according to officials. When a family member experiences a long-term disability and the main source of income is eliminated, the repercussions can be felt for years.

Workers earn coverage for benefits by working and paying Social Security taxes on their earnings.  The program provides benefits to disabled workers and their dependents.  For those who can no longer work due to a disability, the disability program helps replace lost income. Disabled workers receive an average $1,166 per month. Spousal benefits average $32 a month, and benefits for children average $352 a month.

The July 25 presentation will cover:

  • How to qualify and apply for benefits.
  • What happens when an application is approved.
  • How to appeal denials.
  • Who can receive benefits on a person’s earnings record.
  • What people should know about receiving disability benefits
  • When Medicare coverage starts for Social Security disability beneficiaries.

TACID (Tacoma Area Coalition of Individuals with Disabilities), which is hosting the presentation, is a non-profit organization that promotes independence of individuals with disabilities.

Similarly, the goal of Aging and Disability Resources (ADR) is to help older adults and the disabled live safely and independently in their own homes. On behalf of such people, ADR works with caregivers, families, neighbors and community members, said spokesman Bob Riler.

Additional information from ADR is available at 253-798-4600.