Getting injured and becoming disabled will disrupt your life. It can prevent you from working, cause mounting medical bills, and may even require you to adjust your living conditions. Fortunately, Social Security Disability benefits are there to assist in these situations, but not everyone qualifies for Social Security Disability.
Who qualifies for SSD? You must meet specific criteria, and convincing the Social Security Administration that you meet them is not always easy. If the SSA denies your claim even though you are eligible, talk to a Social Security Disability (SSD) lawyer.
Qualification Requirements for Social Security Disability
According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, you must have:
- Earned enough wages covered by Social Security
- A medical condition that the SSA considers a disability
- Been unable to work for at least a year, or your doctor expects that you won’t be able to work for a year or more.
Those who qualify will get SSD benefits until they can work again. If their disability is permanent, their benefits may continue until death. When we go to the SSA to argue your case, our task is to convince them you meet these requirements.
Get the strong arm
Social Security Disability Isn’t a Handout
All U.S. workers contribute to Social Security through a piece of every paycheck they earn. Thus, your entire working life, you paid into this system. The benefits you can receive through Social Security Disability aren’t charity or handouts. They’re something you have rightfully earned and deserve if you’re unable to work anymore.
Don’t find yourself in financial trouble when you can no longer work. Always apply for SSD benefits. The only thing they can do that’s harmful is tell you you don’t qualify. And if they do, that’s where John Foy & Associates can help you.
How to Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits
To take it a step further, you must have enough work credits and meet the SSA’s definition of disability to receive Social Security Disability benefits. Here’s what it takes to qualify.
Social Security Work Credits
When you earn wages, your employer takes a portion to go towards Social Security taxes. You must have worked in jobs covered by Social Security to qualify for benefits. You can do this through earning wages or through paying self-employment taxes.
Each year, you can earn up to four work credits by making a certain amount of money. In 2022, you need to earn $1,510 for each credit, or earn $6,040 a year to reach the maximum. Each year, the amount you need to make goes up slightly.
Most adults need at least 40 work credits to qualify for SSD benefits. You must also have earned 20 of those credits in the ten years before becoming disabled. However, younger workers who become disabled will require fewer credits. The SSA provides information on how to earn credits per age group.
Qualifying as Disabled
Social Security has a specific definition of a disability. You only qualify if you have a total disability. That means:
- You have been disabled (or are expected to be disabled) for at least a year.
- You cannot do the work that you did before.
- You cannot adjust to other forms of work.
- You cannot get short-term or partial disability benefits through SSD.
The SSA must determine that you fit their definition of disabled. The program assumes working families will have access to other disability resources. You will need to provide solid proof of your disability.
The SSA will look for your condition on their Listing of Impairments, also known as the Blue Book. The list contains conditions they recognize as disabling. If you do not have a condition on the list, the SSA will see if it compares to a listed condition.
What If My Symptoms Don’t Match the Listing?
Each of the impairments has a set of symptoms that the SSA looks for to see if you meet their qualifications for having that disability. You do not need to have them all to qualify. You may wish to tell your doctor that you’re applying for SSA and bring in the section related to your disability for a formal diagnosis.
Also, if you do not have an impairment on the list, but do have symptoms that are similar to another condition, the SSA may still qualify you. The important thing is that you cannot work because of your impairments, not that you have a specific diagnosis.
The Social Security Administration’s Disability Questions
The SSA also will ask the following questions to see if you have a total disability:
- Are you working?
- Is your condition “severe?”
- Is your condition found on their list of disabling conditions?
- Can you do the work you did previously?
- Can you do any other type of work?
Some people qualify for a faster approval process. Certain cases qualify for Compassionate Allowances. These conditions are severe enough to qualify just with a diagnosis. The SSA will only need to confirm that you have the disease in order for you to qualify for Social Security Disability.
The SSA also uses Quick Disability Determinations. This process uses computer screening to find cases for which approval is highly likely. A quick determination can get someone with a severe condition benefits sooner.
Completing Your Social Security Disability Application
Each person must complete an application to apply for benefits. You can do this by:
- Applying online
- Calling the SSA
- Visiting a local Social Security office
You will need to provide proof of your medical condition, such as a medical record. You’ll also need to show that you cannot work and have earned enough work credits. If you’ve paid into the system, the SSA should be able to look up your work credit history.
You should also apply for benefits as soon as you become disabled. You cannot receive benefits until your sixth full month of disability. It’s best to get started immediately so that you don’t have to wait too long.
For more specific information on your unique case, or if you feel your situation may not allow you to get the benefits you need, please get in touch with our lawyers to help you. We will go over your application with you and inform you of all the options available to you.
What to Provide in Your SSD Benefits Application
When you apply for disability benefits, the SSA will ask for information like:
- Your name, Social Security number, and gender
- Your date and place of birth
- Whether or not you are married
- Your spouse’s name, Social Security number, and birthdate
- Names, Social Security numbers, and birthdates of any former spouses
- Your marriage date(s) and when any marriages ended
- Whether or not you earned money in the years since 1978
- Information about your employers and what you made for this and last year
- The date you became unable to work because of your condition
You will also need to provide documentation for your claim. For example, you’ll need your birth certificate, last year’s tax returns, and medical records. It’s best to consult with a Social Security Disability lawyer first. Your lawyer can ensure that you have everything you need when you go to the office. This can prevent costly delays in your approval.
SSD Benefits Rejections Are Common
As mentioned previously, rejections are common. Even if you feel you’ve done everything right, the SSA is notorious for making things difficult and complicated. There are many reasons why your application could have been rejected:
- Too many past rejections or appeals.
- Your disability isn’t serious enough to warrant benefits.
- Prior history of addiction or failure to maintain your health and wellness.
- Insufficient information provided on your application.
- Incorrect form or filing.
If you’re stuck and don’t know what the issue may be, it’s best to get professional legal assistance to help you make your claim. If you know the issue, do your best to resolve it before reapplying. We can help you.
Don’t Give Up After a Rejection By the SSA
Most people get denied on the first try. Since the system is so strict, many fall through the cracks. If the SSA denies your claim, but you know you qualify, talk to a Social Security lawyer. An experienced attorney can help you:
- Evaluate why the SSA denied your benefits
- Determine what needs to change on your claim
- Make the necessary changes
- File an appeal for benefits
Don’t give up on your claim without speaking to a lawyer. A denial does not necessarily mean you don’t qualify. Instead, you might just need a professional’s eye on your application and guidance through the appeals process.
What If I Can’t Afford a Lawyer?
We understand that it’s difficult to pay for an attorney if you’re facing disability. For SSA questions, our firm uses a contingency fee system. This means that you only have to pay us if you are successful in your application. If we cannot get you SSD benefits, you will owe us nothing.
If you win, we will take a percentage of your payments until our fee is met. This percentage and our total will be explained to you at the time of consultation.
Talk to a Social Security Disability Lawyer for Free Today
The Social Security Disability process is long and stressful. But you don’t have to handle it alone. A Social Security Disability lawyer can help. John Foy & Associates has been assisting disabled individuals for over 20 years. We know what the SSA looks for to approve a claim.
Get help to file your SSD application or appeal a rejection at no risk today. We do not charge you unless you get paid. Call us or contact us online to get started with a free consultation.