How to Use the Social Security Disability Benefits Eligibility Screening Tool (BEST)
Many hard-working American citizens often sustain an injury or develop an illness or other medical condition that prevents them from being able to work during the course of their life.
These individuals commonly wonder whether or not Social Security Disability benefits may be able to help alleviate the financial burdens caused by lack of employment and income. Unfortunately, individuals who qualify for Social Security Disability benefits often decide not to pursue an application to receive the benefits they may be entitled to.
They are often overwhelmed by the disability claim process and are not sure if they will qualify for the benefits they need. They avoid the application process entirely, afraid to waste time on an application that might not be approved.
Fortunately, there is a way to determine approximately how much you would receive in Social Security Disability benefits each month and whether or not you qualify for benefits from the Social Security Administration.
The following information will tell you how to use the SSA's Benefits Eligibility Screening Tool (BEST) to determine your eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits.
What Is BEST?
The BEST tool is an online eligibility test that can help you determine whether or not you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. This anonymous online test takes about ten minutes to complete and will help you determine which Social Security programs you may qualify for and how much you might qualify for each month in Social Security Disability payments.
It is important to understand that the Benefits Eligibility Screening Tool is not the same as the online disability application. If you use the BEST resources and determine that you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, you will need to move forward and submit a claim for disability benefits with the Social Security Administration in order to receive the benefits you are entitled to.
When you use the SSA's BEST tool to determine whether or not you qualify for benefits, you will need to provide the program with general information such as your birth date, your spouse's birth date, your date of marriage and information regarding your earnings.
It may also ask you personal financial questions and questions about your assets to determine whether or not you may be eligible for the needs-based Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.
When providing the BEST calculators with the information requested, be as accurate as possible. If you provide inaccurate information you will not get an accurate picture of which Social Security programs you actually qualify for.
When you have completed all of the questions that are required, the BEST program will tell you which Social Security Disability benefits you may be eligible for.
If the program tells you that you are eligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits, you may then move to the online application section of the Social Security website to file a claim for disability benefits.
Next Steps to Take
The BEST program itself will not tell you how much you qualify for in payments, but it will tell you whether or not you may qualify. You can then use the online benefits calculators provided by the Social Security website to determine how much those benefits may be.
The information you provide when using the BEST tool is not saved by the Social Security Administration and the program will not ask for your Social Security Number.
Because the information is not saved, you will not be able to refer back to it at a later point in time. If you would like to keep a record of the information received when you use the BEST program, you should print the pages from your computer so that you will have a record of the information you receive.