According to one study, in December 2016, there were about 10.1 million people on social security disability support.
If you think you need to join the millions of people who need this support, you may be wondering if you even qualify for it. And how do they determine who does qualify?
Thankfully, we can help break down everything for you! Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about social security disability and what to do to get it!
Before you can figure out if you qualify for social security disability, you’ll need to figure out how they define it. While you might consider yourself disabled, the administration has very strict guidelines and standards to qualify who is and isn’t disabled.
For example, even if you’re not able to keep working in your current job, they still might not consider you disabled.
For them to consider you disabled, you’ll have to have a long-term disability for about a year or more. If the disability just happens, you could still qualify if it’s a permanent disability that won’t let you work any job.
For example, even if you had a career as some other type of worker in an office environment, they may think that you are still qualified to work another job, like as an administrative assistant.
They have also published a list of medical conditions that will immediately qualify people for the social security disability. You should also make sure that you check that out.
Answer These Questions
If you found your condition on the list of medical conditions, you’ll have an easier time submitting a claim.
However, if you didn’t, you might still be wondering if you’re eligible. Answering some of these questions could help you figure it out.
Are You Earning Monthly SGA?
One of the main factors of qualifying for disability is substantial gainful activity (SGA). This is what the administration uses to help determine who can apply for disability.
To measure it, that person has to earn above a certain amount every month that they can spend on expenses for living. For example, if you’re blind, the SGA is $2,110 a month. If you’re not blind, the SGA would be $1,260 each month.
But having a low income doesn’t mean that you can’t work. They will also look at other circumstances as well. They’ll also look at if you need help to perform your work or if you need any special equipment.
Are You Working and Applying for Social Security Disability?
If you’re still working, you’re likely not eligible for social security disability. This is only meant for people who can’t work because it provides them payments to compensate for no income.
However, there are also income thresholds that the SSA has. If you earn over a certain amount a month, you won’t be able to qualify for disability. But if you make under that amount, you might be able to qualify and move on to the next step in the process.
The amount for qualification changes each year, so make sure you check before applying.
Can You Work At All?
While you might be disabled and not able to work at your current job, you may be able to work at something you previously did.
When you apply for social security, they’ll look at what your past work history is. That means they’ll look at the description of the jobs you did, how physically demanding they were, how difficult they were, and how experienced you needed to be.
They’ll also check to see if your current medical disability is preventing you from not being able to do that job. If you can show that your disability is now preventing you from any job you had done in the past, you’ll likely be able to qualify for benefits.
The administration measures these jobs in credits, and they have a certain way of measuring how many you have, which will depend on how long you’ve been working and how old you are.
Do You Struggle With Daily Activities?
When you submit your claim to the administration, they’ll go over every detail, including if you can perform daily tasks or not.
They might ask you questions on if your disability affects how you live day-to-day. These things might include your hobbies, social interactions, cleaning, cooking, running errands, getting dressed, and even some personal hygiene.
If your medical condition does prevent you from doing any of those, including not being able to work, you will likely be eligible. However, if you can still do all of those things and work, it might be difficult to get your claim through.
One thing that can help your claim process go through a little bit faster is to meet with your doctor beforehand. They’ll be able to write down on an official form if your disability has any limitations or if you have any weaknesses. They may even be able to spot some that you’re not aware of yet.
Having every little thing written down will really help you when trying to process your claim.
Does the SSA Recognize Your Disability?
As we said above, there is a list of medical conditions that the social security administration has deemed as eligible for the benefits. They call this a “Listing of Impairments.”
You’ll be able to sort through it by filtering out what major part of your body is disabled.
If you find your condition on there, you can rest assured that you’ll have an easier time getting your claim through. However, you’ll still need to meet some other requirements as well.
If you do have one of the ailments on the list, the administration will determine if your case is a “compassionate allowance case.” This kind of case is when you get qualified as soon as you get diagnosed. This will let you get approved faster, and in some cases, the computer just runs through your file and automatically makes a decision.
How Many Work Credits Do You Have?
We also mentioned earlier that they will look at how many work credits you have. A work credit is given to you during the time of your employment. These credits will help determine how much insurance you qualify for.
The number of credits you might have can be different from person to person.
However, for example, if you’re younger than 25 years old, you may have worked only three years before you became disabled. If that’s the case, you earned around six work credits.
If you’re over 25 but under 31, you might be able to qualify for some credits for those three years and then half the time until you became disabled. For example, you’ll need credit for the time you worked between 25 and 31 years old.
They have a chart on their website that helps you figure out how many credits you have and what it means for your qualifying status.
Are You Legally Blind?
Lastly, being legally blind may also automatically qualify you for social security disability.
You are considered legally blind if your vision is under 20/200 and cannot be corrected by any medical procedure or aid. A lot of people might meet this requirement and still have some sight, but they will still need the aid of a cane, seeing person, or may only be able to read large print.
If you have vision problems but don’t meet this definition, it can be difficult to get the disability benefits that you need.
What to Do Next
Based on your own evaluation of the questions above, you might be wondering what you should do next.
Regardless of whether you’re sure that you can win your claim, you might want to consider hiring legal representation. A lawyer will be able to ensure that you’re being given a fair chance, and they can help you navigate the legal aspects of it.
If your claim was wrongfully denied, a lawyer will also be able to step in and help you explore other legal actions that you could take to ensure that you get your disability-related benefits.
Get Disability Support Today!
These are only a few things to keep in mind when applying for social security disability support, but there are many more things you should be aware of when submitting a claim.
We know that it can be stressful and overwhelming trying to deal with all of this on your own, but that’s why we’re here to help you!
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