Are you no longer able to work because of a disabling accident or medical condition? If so, in addition to coping with new health concerns, you’re probably worried about how to survive without the wages you depended on. You may be wondering if you’re eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. If so, this post provides an overview of the SSD program, including the eligibility requirements, so you are better able to apply for and receive the benefits you deserve.Do You Have a Case?
Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, also known as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), and Retirement, Survivors and Disability Insurance (RSDI), are designed for workers who have a long-term disabling injury or illness. It is also referred to as “workers disability” as it is intended to cover some of the monthly costs for individuals who are unable to work and are below retirement age.
A person is considered disabled if:
Social Security Disability benefits are only paid in cases of total disability. No benefits are payable for partial or short-term disability.
Before deciding to apply for SSD benefits, consider the following to determine whether you meet the SSA eligibility requirements.
You must have worked for an employer who participated in the Social Security program in order to be eligible for Social Security Disability programs. If you are not sure, look at your paystubs or ask your employer if they pay into Social Security on your behalf. You may also call the Social Security Administration to find out when your Social Security Disability Insurance coverage expires if you are unsure if you are eligible for SSDI.
According to the SSA website, employees making more than $1,260 per month will likely not qualify for disability coverage through the SSD program because Social Security considers work above that pay level to be “substantial gainful activity.” However, if you have questions about employment and income, it’s best to consult a disability lawyer who specializes in Social Security claims.
If you’re unable to do simple tasks such as walking, lifting, climbing stairs or any other required activities as a result of being injured, you may be eligible for disability benefits. In addition, the SSA considers any mental or emotional impairments that prevent you from working.
In conjunction with your inability to perform basic, work-related tasks, SSA requires that your disability not be a short term hardship. Your abilities must be limited for at least 1 year or 12 months time.
Not only must Social Security determine whether someone of your age, education, and work background is able to perform any work that you have done in the last 15 years given the limitations that you have, they must also look at whether there is other work in the national economy that could be performed with those limitations. If they find that there is other work that could accommodate your limitations, your application for Social Security Disability benefits may be denied.
Despite this daunting rejection rate, many of the applicants whose claims are rejected meet all of the SSA’s disability eligibility requirements.
One reason for this is the sheer amount of information on the SSA website. While the site offers a lot of useful content, it can be challenging to navigate all of the specific rules and exceptions.
Therefore, to give yourself the best chance of qualifying for benefits and receiving them in a timely manner, we always recommend consulting a SSD lawyer to assist you with the process. Whether you are applying for the first time or appealing a denial, our experienced Social Security Disability lawyers have the knowledge and expertise needed to help you get the compensation you deserve.
In addition to the above, the Social Security Administration has established a list of medical conditions that they may consider “severe impairments.” Diagnosis of one of these conditions may not be enough. The condition must impair your ability to perform work functions, and there must be evidence of treatment. Those impairments for adults are broken down into the following 14 categories below.
The disability categories as provided by the federal government are as follows:
People with certain serious conditions, such as some kinds of cancers, adult brain disorders and other rare illnesses are able to have their applications for Social Security Disability benefits expedited through the Compassionate Allowances program. The SSA maintains a comprehensive list of conditions that qualify applicants for this program.
Examples of Compassionate Allowance Conditions include:
While most recipients of disability benefits are workers who meet the SSA’s requirements, there are certain circumstances that have their own rules and regulations.
The SSA considers a person legally blind if their vision cannot be corrected to better than 20/200 in their better eye, or if their visual field is 20 degrees or less, even with a corrective lens. Those who do not meet this legal definition of blindness may still qualify for disability benefits if their vision problems, either alone or combined with other health problems, prevent them from working.
If a worker dies, their widow, widower or surviving divorced spouse with a disability may be eligible to receive benefits provided certain conditions are met. One such condition is that the onset of the survivor’s disability must be before or within seven years of the worker’s death.
An adult who became disabled before age 22 may be eligible for child’s benefits if a parent is deceased or starts receiving retirement or disability benefits. This type of benefit is based on the parent’s Social Security earnings record. Adult children who receive their own SSI or disability benefits may be eligible to receive a greater amount, including possible entitlement to Medicare, based on a parent’s earnings record.
Recommended Reading: How a Disability Lawyer can Help Your Child Receive SSI Benefits
Disabled veterans and those who were injured during military service may be eligible for expedited processing of Social Security benefits. Both the SSA and the Veterans Administration (VA) pay disability benefits; however, they have separate and different programs, processes and eligibility criteria.
Recommended Reading: How a Veteran (VA) Disability Lawyer Can Help You and Your Family
If you’re a Michigan resident who would like additional information regarding eligibility for the State Disability Assistance (SDA) program, please visit the following link:
The listed eligibility criteria fall under four categories including disability determination, asset limits, income and residency requirements.
If you came here to learn about Supplemental Security Income benefits (SSI), consider reading the following overview about the differences between the SSD and SSI programs.
Recommended Reading: The Difference Between SSD and SSI
“The laws governing Social Security Disability benefits are incredibly complex, with many rules and exceptions, and it is often the case that legally eligible people are denied for no apparent reason,” said Mark Bernstein of The Sam Bernstein Law Firm. “Our experienced Social Security lawyers understand the system and will help you receive the benefits you and your family deserve.”
Social Security Disability law is complicated, but finding the right Michigan disability attorney is simple.
We have helped thousands of clients and their families receive needed benefits. If you are applying for Social Security Disability benefits for the first time, or if your initial claim has been denied, contact us today.
Select the button below to fill out a short form, or call 1-800-CALL-SAM for a free, no-obligation remote consultation from the safety and comfort of your home.Do You Have a Case?
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