Do you live and work in the great state of Arizona? Have you recently become unable to work due to illness or injury? You may be wondering if Arizona disability benefits are available to you.
Arizona disability payments are similar to those of many other states. Individuals unable to work for health reasons may apply for two federal disability programs. In fact, the Social Security Administration (SSA) handles both. It is smart to learn as much as you can about how these programs work before applying. Finally, consider working with an Arizona disability lawyer so your claim’s more likely to succeed.
TIP: Make sure to gather copies of your full medical records from your doctor to submit with your disability benefits application. You need medical evidence that proves your condition prevents you from working for at least one year to qualify for Arizona disability payments.
First, know that no state-level programs pay short-term or temporary Arizona disability benefits. You may want to ask your employer if it offers short-term disability coverage as part of its specific benefits package.
Next, visit the disability services page found at AZ.gov. There are some programs there your family might find helpful. For example, the Arizona Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) helps individuals with disabilities overcome barriers to employment and become as economically independent as possible.
Which Federal Programs Pay Arizona Disability Benefits?
The SSA manages payments and screens applicants for two federal programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
TIP: You can use the same application to file for Arizona disability benefits through both programs. Check one box on your claim form, and the SSA screens you for both SSDI and SSI.
Arizona Disability Program #1: SSDI, Otherwise Known as SSD Benefits
How Much Money Can I Collect Each Month In SSDI?
The maximum monthly SSDI pay amount in 2022 is $3,345. The average monthly SSDI benefit for disabled workers nationwide is $1,358/month. The SSA figures out your specific benefit amount using your highest average wage earnings over a 35-year period.
SSDI Eligibility Requirements
- The program will only pay benefits if your healthcare provider believes your injury, illness, or disability prevents you from working for at least one year. If your condition improves enough for you to work again in less than 12 months, you cannot qualify.
- The SSA defines disability differently than your doctor probably does. You must prove you can’t work full-time for at least 12 months because of physical or mental health issues.
- You may qualify for SSDI payments only if you worked five in the last 10 years full-time while paying FICA payroll taxes. Some people in Arizona who don’t get SSDI are service-industry workers, union members and federal or state employees.
- If you stopped working more than five years ago, you won’t qualify for SSDI. Your coverage for this program lapses if you stop paying premiums for 60 continuous months.
- You must be aged 18-65 when you apply to get SSDI benefits. If you already get some regular Social Security or early retirement payments, you cannot qualify for SSDI.
The SSA takes about 3-5 months to review every SSDI claim. There is also a required five-month waiting period before you can get benefits. The SSA approves 1 in 5 — or 20% — of first-time SSDI claims. Only 35% of SSDI applicants ever get benefits.
TIP: To triple your chances of approval, have an Arizona disability lawyer help you file. They work on contingency, so you owe $0 if the SSA doesn’t award you payments.
The SSA re-checks your disability status every 3-7 years until you reach full retirement age. Then, SSDI automatically changes over to Social Security retirement.
Arizona Disability Program #2: SSI, or Supplemental Security Income
How Much Will SSI Benefits Pay Out to Individuals?
SSI is the second program the SSA runs. It has the strictest eligibility requirements of any benefits program. If you didn’t work five of the last 10 years full-time or are over the age of 65 with few assets, apply for SSI. The pay amounts for this program vary up to a max of $841/month per person or $1,261/month per couple.
SSI Eligibility Requirements
SSI medical eligibility requirements are the same as those for SSDI. That said, you must have very low income — and almost no assets or financial resources — to qualify:
- Your total household income cannot be more than $1,350/month.
- You must own less than $2,000 in financial assets ($3,000 for couples). There are some exceptions to that rule. For example, the SSA won’t count your house, the land it sits on, one vehicle, your wedding ring, and some household goods.
You May Qualify for Legal Assistance
Applying for Arizona disability benefits can feel difficult at a time when you’ve suffered a setback with your health. If you need help, talk to an experienced Social Security attorney for free over the phone.
Having an Arizona disability lawyer file your application makes the process much easier. All disability lawyers work on contingency, so you pay $0 for claim help now. Already denied benefits? An Arizona disability lawyer can fix any paperwork mistakes before you appeal.
Ready to see if you may qualify? Click the button below to start your free online benefits evaluation now!
Laura Schaefer is the author of The Teashop Girls, The Secret Ingredient, and Littler Women: A Modern Retelling. She is also an active co-author or ghostwriter of several nonfiction books on personal and business development. Laura currently lives in Windermere, Florida with her husband and daughter and works with clients all over the world. Visit her online at lauraschaeferwriter.com and linkedin.com.