How to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI
You may be wondering if you would qualify for SSDI benefits. The requirements for collecting disability can be divided into two categories, financial and medical.
When you first submit your application for Social Security Disability, the local SSA office will determine whether or not you meet the financial criteria.
As Republican Senator Tom Coburn stated, the purpose of Social Security is “to make sure that all Americans have a safety net if they become disabled and can no longer work”. The first and most important step of establishing your disability claim is proving to the Social Security Administration that you cannot work. The Social Security Administration has a limit to how much you can earn called the “substantial gainful activity” limit. If you earn more than this amount, then it is determined that you are able to work and thus not eligible for disability benefits. Currently, in 2017, that limit is $1,170/month for non-blind individuals and $1950/month for blind recipients.
In addition to the SGA limit, you must also have paid into Social Security in order to collect benefits.
You receive credits for each quarter you have worked, and require a certain number of credits depending on your age. There is a chart for determining how many credits are needed at what age. If you have worked for ten years or longer, then it will be determined that you meet this requirement. However, it is also possible for younger workers to be eligible for benefits with fewer years of work.
Once it is determined that you meet the financial requirements, your local Social Security office will pass your application on to your state’s Disability Determination Services (DDS) for the next four steps of the disability determination process.
Step two is determining the severity of the disability.
Sometimes Disability Determination Services can make this judgement based on the medical records you provide. Other times they will ask you to obtain more information, possibly by seeing a physician for further examination. They are looking to see if the condition prevents you from working. If you are being seen by a physician for this step, it is important to mention how your condition affects your ability to perform work.
If it is determined that your condition is severe, your application will continue to step three.
At this step, it will be decided if your condition is one of the conditions listed in the Listing of Impairments, more commonly known as the “Blue Book”. The “Blue Book” is a list of all medical conditions which qualify for disability insurance. The “Blue Book” also specifies how severe the condition must be. For example, the listing for asthma requires attacks occurring at least six times per year.
If your condition matches a Blue Book listing, then it will be determined whether or not you can do the work you did previously (step four) or if you can do any other type of work (step five).
Once your claim has been determined to meet all the financial and medical criteria, you may be approved. If your claim is determined not to have met the eligibility criteria and you are denied, you then have the option to file an appeal.
It is recommended that you seek professional representation when filing an appeal. The disability application process can be difficult- invasive questions, complicated forms, and long waiting periods can make applying for benefits a hassle. Let us help. Contact the attorneys at Bemis, Roach and Reed for a free consultation. The attorneys at Bemis, Roach and Reed have the knowledge and experience necessary to help your claim get approved.
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