If you can no longer work because of a disabling condition, you may be curious about what is involved in qualifying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
These monthly benefits provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA) can help you financially if your medical condition makes you unable to work. However, the process of applying for and receiving benefits can be complicated without the help of a reputable West Palm Beach Social Security Disability lawyer.
This is because you must meet the SSA’s strict requirements for eligibility:
In order to qualify for SSDI, you must have accrued benefits over the course of your work history. As you pay taxes into Social Security, you accumulate work credits, which provide you the opportunity to receive benefits if you become disabled.
Depending on your age at the time of application for benefits, you will need to have between 20 and 40 credits to qualify for SSDI. Twenty of those credits must have been acquired within 10 years from when you became disabled.
Your credits are based on your self-employment income or annual wages, and in 2017, one credit is equal to $1,300 of your quarterly income. To get the maximum of four credits per year, you must make $5,200 per year.
Another important component of your ability to receive SSDI benefits is your medical condition. Your condition must be considered permanent and must qualify as a disability according to the SSA.
The SSA evaluates each case based on three primary criteria. Your condition will likely be considered disabling if it:
- Prohibits you from performing necessary work functions at your current or previous job
- Prevents you from performing other work
- Will affect you for at least one year or lead to your death
The SSA has a guide with impairment listings, called the Blue Book, that provides information about the illnesses and disabilities commonly evaluated for disability benefits. If you meet the requirements of one of these listings, you may be entitled to benefits.
If you do not, the SSA will look at your education, age, medical condition and work experience to determine whether your condition would allow you to perform another job. If it determines that you cannot do any type of work, the SSA will likely consider you to be disabled.
What if I Do Not Qualify for SSDI?
Some applicants will not be able to receive SSDI based on their work history. If you have not accumulated the necessary credits and maintain a limited income, you can apply for Supplemental Security Income instead.
This program helps the following applicants receive disability benefits:
- Legally blind
- Permanently disabled
- 65 and older
Do I Need a Lawyer to Apply for Social Security Disability?
If you believe that you meet the eligibility criteria to apply for disability but you are not sure if your condition would be covered, talking to our experienced disability lawyers is strongly recommended. The application process can be complex and lengthy.
Furthermore, if your claim is denied, you have the right to appeal your denied Social Security Disability claim, but you must take action promptly.
Having a Social Security disability lawyer to help you with your claim from the outset increases your chances of success and can also prove helpful if your claim is initially denied.
With a disabling condition, you have enough to worry about. Let our lawyers do the work to help you get the benefits you need.
With more than 15 attorneys on staff, we have the experience and the commitment to help you navigate the complicated process of getting disability benefits.