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Everything You Need to Know About Social Security Disability in Michigan

August 27, 2019

If you have ever applied for or have been denied Social Security disability in Michigan, you know how frustrating it can be. The challenges continue to add up when you or a family member becomes disabled. Suddenly, you may be dealing with new and unfamiliar medical issues and/or rehabilitative care. In addition, your family might be struggling financially if the disabled person was the primary wage earner. To help you understand your rights to Social Security benefits, here are the answers to some commonly asked questions.

How does the Social Security Administration (SSA) define disability?

The SSA has strict criteria for determining whether a person is eligible for disability benefits.

The main requirements are:

  • You are unable to do the work you did before
  • You cannot transition to other work because of your disability or medical condition
  • Your disability has lasted or is expected to last at least one year, or to result in death

It’s important to note that Social Security disability benefits are only paid in cases of total disability. No benefits are payable for partial or short-term disability.

What are the different types of disability benefits?

The most common type of benefit is  Social Security Disability (SSD), also known as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Workers who have a long-term disabling injury or illness are eligible to apply for this benefit.

The SSA also provides Retirement, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (RSDI) benefits. Disabled workers and their dependents and/or survivors may be eligible for these benefits.

In addition, disabled children and adults with limited income may be eligible for need-based Supplemental Security Income benefits (SSI).

Applicants must meet several specific eligibility requirements to qualify for all of these programs.

Do I have to meet certain work and earnings requirements to qualify for disability benefits?

Yes. The SSA uses a formula based on your work history and income to determine whether you qualify for benefits. Basically, you receive credits for your income, up to a maximum of four credits per year. For example, in 2019, you would receive one credit for each $1,360 of earnings. This amount increases each year as the average earning level increases. Your earned credits remain on your Social Security record even if you change jobs or are temporarily unemployed.

Then, the SSA determines how many credits you need based on your age at the time you became disabled. Generally, the older you are when you become disabled, the more credits (and years of work) you need to qualify for benefits.

Is my disabled child entitled to Social Security disability benefits?

A disabled child younger than 18 may receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. To qualify, the child must meet the following conditions:

  • The child must have a physical or mental condition(s) that seriously limits his or her activities
  • The condition(s) must have lasted, or expected to last at least one year, or result in death.
  • The child must have little or no income and resources. The family’s household income, resources and other factors are also taken into consideration.

Children who qualify for SSI benefits may also be eligible for the Medicaid health care program. Contact the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services or visit for information.

What should I do if my application for Social Security disability benefits is denied?

Applicants have 60 days from the date of the denial notice to file an appeal in writing. This is a complicated process that includes four different levels of appeal. Typically, you must provide evidence that includes extensive documentation from your physicians. In addition, testimony from vocational experts or other professionals may be required.

Therefore, if your claim is denied, it’s wise to contact an experienced Social Security lawyer as soon as possible.

Why do I need a Social Security disability lawyer?

Your application or appeal will be more successful when you enlist the help of a knowledgeable Social Security lawyer. As detailed above, navigating the Social Security system can be overwhelming.

Also, filing a successful appeal requires specific information that includes extensive medical records. Social Security disability lawyers know how to obtain the necessary documentation and ensure the wording is the most advantageous to your case. Furthermore, your appeal may involve a hearing before an administrative law judge, or even a lawsuit filed in federal court. If so, a lawyer who specializes in disability benefits will provide the professional representation you need to win your case.

Finally, a reputable disability benefits lawyer will never ask you for a retainer or up-front fees. You won’t pay anything until your case is resolved and you receive your benefits.

Social Security disability in Michigan is complicated, but finding the right lawyer is simple.

Call 1-800-CALL-SAM today for a free no-obligation consultation.