Most people imagine Social Security as a source of income after retirement. But even before old age, you can qualify for Social Security benefits according to the disability law.
As of today, there have been 70,000 people who have received SSI and SSD insurance benefits. These benefits help people with disabilities go through life with ease.
But the process of applying for these benefits can be time-consuming and frustrating. And thus, you need social security disability lawyers by your side. This article outlines everything you need to know about the application process and the requirements needed.
What Are the Qualifications for Social Security Disability Benefits?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) decides if you qualify for SSDI insurance benefits. And it can take months before your application is approved and you can claim the benefits.
If you hire a lawyer for this, the process will be made easier. Social security disability lawyers will submit your SSDI application on your behalf. You will also be able to collect payments through them requirements such as your medical records. They can accompany you to meetings or discussions with Social Security representatives.
You can also depend on them to check your application for errors that can delay the process. The SSA will collaborate with your representative and grant them access to data from your Social Security file.
Hiring a professional representative is a personal choice and you can go through the process alone. In any case, it’s best to find out if you qualify for social security disability benefits before applying. Here are the common questions that the SSA uses to evaluate your disability claim.
1. Are You Unable to Work Because of Your Disability?
Whether or not you are employed is the first thing the SSA will consider. If you can work and earn more than the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA), you don’t qualify as impaired. This year, the amount ranges from $1,350 to $2,260, depending on your disability type.
Even if you do not meet this requirement, the SSA will still look into the type of job you have. They will also check how much work you do. There is no fixed number of work hours required to qualify, but you should consider what your employment reveals about your health.
For example, it will be hard to convince the SSA that you are disabled if you’re working full-time.
2. Are You Severely Impaired?
The adjudicator will check your medical data to see if you have a severe impairment. To qualify, your symptoms should interfere with your ability to carry out basic work functions. These activities include both physical as well as mental activities.
Your disability should also prevent you from working for at least 12 months. If it doesn’t, the SSA won’t consider your disability as “severe.”
3. Does SSA’s “Blue Book” Cover Your Condition?
After that, the administration will check if your condition meets the criteria in their Listing of Impairments. This list, sometimes called the “Blue Book,” specifies the conditions that SSDI benefits cover.
But finding your disability in the Blue Book does not automatically entitle you to benefits. Your impairment should still fulfill the SSA’s standards for severity, duration, and consequences. For instance, although psoriasis is included, not all cases will qualify for benefits. The condition should adversely affect your ability to perform basic job duties.
If you don’t meet the above requirements, the SSA can still consider you for SSDI benefits. In this situation, the examiner must decide if your disability is as severe as the one described in the Blue Book. Such cases call for a skilled disability lawyer who can compile enough proof to submit on your behalf.
4. Are You Able to Go Back to Your Previous Job?
The goal here is to see if you can carry out tasks you have previously completed. The adjudicator will assess your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) before making a ruling. Your RFC outlines your capabilities in light of your health. The SSA will assess your employment history to establish two key factors:
- Whether your illness prevents you from going back to your previous job in the same capacity
- Whether you have made payroll tax contributions to the Social Security system
If you do not meet these two requirements, the examiner will move on to the last deciding factor.
5. Are You Able to Work Other Jobs?
The adjudicator will now decide if you can do other types of work. They will also assess if it is fair to anticipate that you can be employed given your skills, age, education, and work experience. You will get benefits if your disability prevents you from working. Your application won’t push through if the examiner thinks you can work.
Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits
You can apply for SSDI benefits as soon as you become disabled. To start, you need to fill out a disability claims form and submit it through online SSD applications. You can also call their office or submit important documents in person.
Applying for SSDI benefits seems straightforward. However, to avoid delays, you need to compile the necessary documents and sources of information. Be sure you have all of the following data needed before applying:
- Names, birthdates, and social security numbers of your present and prior spouses. Also, prepare the dates of marriage and divorce with your spouses.
- Your children’s names and birthdates if they are under 18 and still go to school.
- If you’ve served in the military, provide information about your time, including your service dates.
- Employment data for three years including the current year. This should include the name of your employer when you started and stopped working, and the salary you earned.
- A list of your health issues.
- The names and addresses of the medical professionals you’ve seen. It also helps to provide the times you had an appointment with them as well as your patient ID numbers. The SSA also needs the names and dates of any ordered tests and the medicine you take.
You should know that there are millions of people applying for disability benefits. That means the chances that your application won’t push through are high. Last year, there were over 1.8 million applicants for SSDI benefits. The SSA only accepted about half of these applicants.
In this case, it’s best to learn more about disability benefits and the application process. A Social Security disability lawyer can answer your questions relating to Social Security disability.
What Should You Do If Your SSD Claim Gets Rejected?
Should they reject your application, the SSA will provide you with a written notice. They’ll let you know why they didn’t accept your claim and how long you have to appeal. If you wait too long, you won’t have time to file an appeal and would have to resubmit your claim.
That’s why it’s important to hire a lawyer for Social Security disability. Your attorney will know what document to submit to support your claim and establish your disability. You can collect the information and proof that Disability Determination Services will need to assess your claim.
During this time, you should include other missing documents such as medical records. The more details you can offer, the more likely they will accept your disability claim. The examiner should evaluate your situation and establish the seriousness of your condition. They can check if you can work and make a living with the right paperwork.
You can file another appeal if they still deny your disability claim after the appeal. Aside from asking you questions about your illness, they will also hear from medical experts. The court will also have access to your medical records. With this, the judge should be able to decide what sort of work, if any, you can do.
Social Security disability is an important source of income and livelihood for those with severe impairments. Apply as soon as you can, give as much information as you can, and reply swiftly to any requests. At the same time, get help from a Social Security disability attorney to expedite your application process.