Bills keep coming even if you can’t work because of your health. That’s why it’s crucial to find out if you’re eligible for Alaska disability benefits from the federal government.
Two programs offer monthly benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA):
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
Checking your eligibility is easy. These programs use the same criteria for qualification.
We developed this Alaska disability guide to help you get the payments you’re entitled to.
SSI for Alaska Disability Applicants
SSI disability benefits are for people who are blind, disabled or over 65 who meet eligibility requirements. Here’s what Alaskans need to know.
1. What Are the Age Requirements for SSI Disability?
You’re eligible if you’re 65 or older. People under 65 can qualify if they pass a Disability Determination Services (DDS) exam to establish eligibility. Did you know your Alaska disability lawyer can cover doctor appointments and medical records if you can’t?
2. What Are the Financial Eligibility Rules for SSI Disability?
- Earn monthly income from wages and/or other sources less than $2,260 if you’re blind and $1,350 if you have a different disability. Couples must have less than $2,607 in combined monthly income. Child support, alimony, earned interest, SNAP, TANF, etc., all count as monthly income.
- Have total assets worth less than $2,000. Couples must have less than $3,000 combined. This includes money in bank accounts as well as items you can sell, like lottery tickets, stocks and bonds, etc. Your vehicle, wedding ring, the home you own and other daily living items don’t apply toward this limit.
3. How Much Does SSI Pay?
Approved individuals can earn as much as $841; couples can get up to $1,261. These amounts may go up when Congress approves a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).
4. How Long Can I Get SSI Payments?
Alaska disability recipients must pass a disability update once every 3-7 years. People younger than 65 who don’t pass the update no longer receive benefits. People over 65 keep getting benefits as long as they meet the financial requirements.
SSDI for Alaska Disability Applicants
Here’s what people in the Last Frontier need to know about SSDI benefits.
1. Who’s Eligible for SSDI?
Residents from Utqiaġvik to Adak can apply for SSDI benefits if they answer “yes” to all these questions:
- Have you seen a doctor about your disability in the past 90 days? If not, you can get a DDS exam to confirm your condition. Did you know your Alaska disability lawyer can pay for doctor visits and medical records if you can’t?
- Does your doctor expect your disability to keep you off the job for at least 12 months? You aren’t eligible if you can go back to work sooner.
- Have you worked full-time for at least 5 of the last 10 years for employers who withheld Social Security taxes? Eligibility lapses if you stop working for 60 months since you didn’t pay FICA taxes during that time.
- Are you between 18 and 65 and not currently receiving Social Security benefits? The program stops paying at full retirement age because that’s when you start getting regular Social Security benefits.
Don’t worry if you have some “no” answers. You may still qualify for the SSI program (see below).
2. How Much Does SSDI Pay?
Here’s how Alaska disability payments are calculated:
- The SSA determines your average monthly paycheck over 35 years of work.
- They set your payment at 40% of that amount.
Most people get $1,358 a month for 2022. You can earn more than $3,000 a month if you made $139,000 annually for 10 years before becoming disabled. (The most you can earn is $3,345 a month.) Payments may be higher in years when Congress approves a COLA.
3. How Long Does It Take to Get Your First SSDI Payment?
Most applicants wait 5 months. However, almost half of SSDI applications are rejected because of paperwork errors.
If yours is one of them, you have 60 days to request a reconsideration. That can take up to 3.5 months. If your request is rejected, you can go before an Administrative Law Judge to appeal your case. That process can take up to 12 months, and only 11% of appeals are successful. Even if you do win, you might have to wait almost 2 years for the first payment.
That’s why it’s important to get your application approved the first time.
Did you know that hiring an Alaska disability attorney can make your application three times more likely to be approved? And, you only pay your lawyer if you win your case.
4. How Long Can I Receive SSDI Payments?
You can receive benefits until you’re 65, as long as you pass updates every 3-7 years. After that, you move to Social Security retirement benefits at the same monthly payment amount.
Alaska Disability Seekers May Qualify for Legal Assistance
Did you know hiring an Alaska disability lawyer makes you almost 3x more likely to receive benefits?
Don’t forget! Your qualified Social Security attorneys won’t charge if you don’t get approved. And if you win, then you pay a small one-time fee.
See if you qualify now! Click below to start your free online benefits evaluation.
Margot Lester is the CEO of The Word Factory, a B2B & B2C content marketing agency that provides services for Fortune 100 brands, healthtech companies and SaaS developers. An award-winning business and brand journalist, she writes for daily and weekly newspapers and business journals, national magazines, in-flight publications and leading websites. Margot is also an in-demand writing coach and organizational communications trainer, helping individuals and teams write more effectively. Twitter: @word_factory LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/margotlester.