Will my SSD benefit amount increase if my disability gets worse?

By / March 3, 2016 / After You’re Approved for Social Security Disability & SSI / 15 Comments

Learn when a worsening medical condition could allow you to have more income or health insurance while on Social Security Disability.

Worsening of Health for Social Security Disability Beneficiaries
In general, a downturn in your heath with increasing level of disability will not result in an increase in benefits. Your Social Security Disability payment amount is not based on your degree of disability. Instead it is based on your Social Security-covered earnings before your disability began. See our article If I am Approved for Disability, How Much Will My Social Security Disability Benefit Be? for more information.

Other Possible Benefits Because of Worsening Health
Although Social Security Disability benefits do not increase when you develop new medical conditions or a worsening of your disabling condition, there is a potential for additional income if you are receiving disability due to low vision and your condition progresses to legal or full blindness. Individuals who are blind or legally blind can earn more money from work while continuing to receive Social Security Disability, so their overall income is higher.
Individuals who are approved for Social Security Disability and later develop kidney failure that requires regular dialysis or transplant can become eligible for Medicare coverage before the twenty-four month Medicare waiting period is met. For more information about Medicare, please visit our article If I am approved for Social Security Disability, will I be eligible for Medicare and Medicaid health insurance?

However, if you go back to work after you start receiving your disability benefits, you may be eligible for a higher benefit amount based on those new earnings being added to your former lifetime average.

Will my SSD benefit amount increase if my disability gets worse?
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  • Dear Kimberly,

    It sounds to me like your husband is already on SSD and/or SSI and has gotten worse. If that is the case, unfortunately, there is no way to get an increase in his benefit payments just because he has gotten worse. SSD payments are based on what you paid in over your lifetime. The only way to increase those payments is by having your husband work and pay more Social Security taxes. SSI is an amount set based on your assets and income. The amount of your disability payment has nothing to do with the severity of your disability. Either you are disabled and already receiving the maximum amount possible, or you are not disabled and you receive nothing.

    Sincerely,
    Disability Adviser

  • joseph

    I became disabled and tried to go back to work and worked for awhile then went up for review will my benefits increase

    • Dear Joseph,

      If your recent annual work earnings are significantly higher than the lowest year(s) earnings used in the calculation of your past benefits, your benefits will be increased. This will be done automatically near the end of the year after the year of earnings. For example, if work in 2016 will raise your benefit, you will be notified in late 2017 and the raise will be retroactive to January 2017.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Dear Robert,

    Your SSDI will not increase because you have another illness; however, if you require dialysis, you can apply for early Medicare, which is only available for individuals who require kidney dialysis.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jarrell,

    Social Security benefits due not increase when a person becomes more severely limited medically.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Tina

    I am disabled if my back and knee get were I can’t walk l wear brace’s on both will my amount go up.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Tina,

      Your benefits will not increase due to a worsening of your medical condition.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Jo

        I receive benefits. My condition is worsen and I have new problems arising where I have seizures, epilepsy. I can’t hold a job because it’s too hard for me to work. I can’t stand for long periods of time. So, if I can’t get benefits increased. What am I to do? Please help.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Jo,

          If you do not have SNAP (food stamp) benefits, you might file an application with your local state or county social services office. Try applying to your utility company for energy assistance and/or ask the social services office if they have a list of any non-profits that help with energy costs. Some people get a roommate or move to a different less expensive community to reduce shelter costs

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • I’m 50 years old and I’ve been on disability since 2005. I have cataracts in my eyes now does that qualifies me for being legally blind if so can my benefits increase?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Patricia,

      Additional medical conditions will not increase your Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. Whether or not you are legally blind depends on how much vision you have with the cataracts and corrective lenses.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • marcelete mitchell

    I was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma in 1991. (age 28) From 1991 through 1997 I was working had 3 operations and 4 months 5 days a week of radiation. In 1997 I was force into retirement due to other health issues.(age 34)Now after 24 years of cancer free I’m dealing with Breast Cancer due to the amount of radiation I’d received. Later on this year have to have surgeries on my neck, shoulder and lower back. (age 53). Since I won’t be able to work no more in my life time. Is there anyway with my health conditions that my ssi could be raised?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Marcelete,

      The appearance of additional medical conditions after being approved for disability does not raise benefits. Social Security Disability (SSD) benefit amounts are based on the workers earnings record, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payment amounts are based on assets, living arrangements, and other income.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Tina M. Murphy

    I contracted Hep C through blood transfusions from problems with an IUD in 1974. Now at age 64 I have cirrhosis and hepatic encephalopathy. The cost of medications, doctors, hospitalizations is becoming borderline financial ruin. I am single with mortgage and all things everyone has. I have been on disability since 2013. I worked all my life and maintained perfect credit, always paid bills on time. I find myself slipping financially and am in need of finding available ways of stretching my tight budget. Please, if there are any options for me, I would greatly appreciate you contacting me. Thank you.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Tina,

      If you have not applied for SNAP (food stamps), you might check to see whether you qualify. You might apply to get on a waiting list for government-subsidized housing and/or take in a roomer if you have a second bedroom. Check with your power company to see if they have any assistance for disabled persons.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

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