Thousands of Americans suffer from a disability that prevents them from continuing working. These disabilities force them to stay at home without proper income to support themselves and their families. Thankfully, the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides assistance to any American who is in need. However, to be qualified for SSDI benefits and services, you must have a physical or mental disability that prevents you from doing a specific amount of work for at least a year. The SSDI services have set qualifiers to be able to avail their benefits. If you want to know if you are eligible for the SSDI program, read on to know how you would qualify and who can help you along the process.
SSDI Definition of Disability
You might not be considered disabled according to the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) standards. Being unable to continue working in your current occupation doesn’t mean that the SSA will certainly determine that you are disabled. To be considered disabled in the SSA standards, you must have suffered or are currently suffering from a disability for at least a year, or have a disability that will result in death. You will qualify if your medical condition prevents you from doing your previous jobs. However, if you can adjust to other jobs, then you don’t qualify for their SSDI benefits.
Sufficient Work Credit
Being disabled is not enough to qualify you for the SSDI services. You can have the disability benefits if you have worked long enough before the disability happened. You obtain work credits based on the income you generated during your employment under Social Security. The work credits needed to qualify for disability benefits vary from an individual to another based on age. If you are around 31 to 42 years old, it is required that you have 20 credits in the last 10 years that ended with your disability. Those younger than 31 can still qualify for disability benefits with fewer credits.
The SSA has published a “blue book” that lists all the medical conditions that can be accepted as a disability. If you have any of these medical conditions, you can be qualified for the SSDI benefits. Some of the medical conditions include:
- Back chronic issues and other joint and bone dysfunctions
- Respiratory conditions such as asthma
- Liver disease
- Sense and speech conditions such as hearing loss and vision impairment
- Blood disorders such as hemophilia
- Neurological disorders
Your doctor must be aware of the requirements of the SSDI services. A social security attorney in Gatlinburg advises that you explain to your doctor how your condition is affecting your day-to-day activities, especially at work. This information along with a complete list of your medical condition and symptoms will be included in your medical records.
How to Apply for SSDI Benefits?
If you have suffered a disability, you must apply for SSDI benefits as soon as possible. You can apply online on the SSA website, or you can visit their local office but make sure to call first. You must prepare some information and documents prior to visiting the local office. The information you should have is:
- Your social security number
- Proof of your age
- Contact information of any medical specialists or hospitals that handled your case
- Names and dosages of your medications
- Any medical records you have
- Any medical test results
- A summary and information about your previous jobs
- The most recent W-2 form or federal tax return copy
You can start the application without having all the necessary documents, but you must acquire them during the process.
Hire a Social Security Attorney
An experienced social security attorney will ensure that all the documents you provided are completed and can guide you to have enough proof of your disability. The lawyer will present your case in the strongest manner possible to increase the likelihood of getting qualified. The social security attorney will be even more important to you if the SSA declined your application, and you are pursuing an appeal. You can apply by yourself, but even if you are qualified on paper for those benefits, it doesn’t mean you will be rewarded any SSDI payments, and that’s why it is important to have an attorney by your side.
SSDI benefits will ease the burden on you and your family if you have suffered a disability. You need to have medical proof, work credit, and meet the disability criteria of the SSA to qualify for the benefits. The requirements for being qualified for SSDI benefits may seem complicated, but with the help of an experienced social security attorney, the process will go smoother than you expected.