Qualifying for Social Security Disability benefits can be difficult, especially when you don’t know the procedure you have to follow. To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), applicants need to prove to the Social Security Administration that they meet its complex judging criteria.
But before we start to explain the five things you need to consider, you need to first know the difference between Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income. Both of these programs are federally funded and provide benefits to people who are considered disabled.
What Is SSDI?
Benefits associated with Social Security Disability Insurance are awarded out of the Social Security tax fund. People who qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance need to have the required amount of earned “work credits”. When people have enough work credits, they can be eligible for monthly payments under SSDI.
It’s also important to know that people who apply for SSDI must have paid their Social Security taxes or had them withheld from their paycheck. The amount of time you’ve spent paying your taxes determines the amount of benefits that you would be entitled to.
Generally, to be eligible for SSDI you have to have worked five of the previous ten years. However, the work credit requirements may be lesser for younger individuals and applicants under 22 years of age can sometimes use their parents’ work credits on their applications.
What Is SSI?
Benefits that are handed out under the Supplemental Security Incomeprogramare funded through general tax revenues. This means that unlike SSDI, applicants do not need to have a working history to qualify for Supplemental Security Income benefits. To qualify for SSI, you need to:
- Have a disability that lasts at least one year
- Have a disability that precludes you from returning to your previous work
- Be unable to perform at any job in the national economy
- Have a limited income and limited assets (typically less than $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for a married couple)
The SSA considers assets aspart of your income. This can include your salary, pensions and some other benefits like your inheritance. The SSA will also consider the assets you have as a part of your resources like the stocks you own, any real estate, any extra vehicles titled to your name, and the cash that you have saved.
Under these requirements, a person can be eligible for SSI benefits, regardless of the work history they do or do not have.
How Do I Qualify?
Following are the five factors that the Social Security Administration considers when evaluating your disability application:
If You’re Working While Applying for Social Security Disability
Social Security Disability is specifically meant to be for people who are unable to work and make a living for themselves. The benefits provided by the SSA are meant to make life easier for those that can no longer work to provide for themselves. This means if you are currently working and can provide for yourself and your family, you probably won’t qualify for SSDI benefits.
The SSA will not consider you disabled if you are able to work. It is also essential to consider that the income threshold can change from year to year. In 2020, if you’re earning more than $1,260 a month, you won’t qualify for SSDI benefits. However, if you’re earning less than this amount, you can move on to the next step.
The Severity of Your Disability
To qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, your disability needs to be severe enough to restrict you from being able to work. According to the SSA, it must “interfere with basic work-related activities.”
Even if youare able to go to work, you would be unable to complete the tasks that youused to be able to do before yourdisability. If your disabling condition is severe enough to stop you from working your job, the SSA may label you disabled.
Even if you have a disabling condition, you can still have your benefits denied. As many as 75% of the people who apply for disability benefits on their ownhave their applications rejected – that is where Kahn & Associates can help. Kahn & Associates charge their applicants on a contingency basis, meaning they don’t get paid unless you win.
If the SSA Recognizes Your Disability
Some people find it surprising, but the fact is, the SSA does not label all medical conditions eligible for disability. Even if your disability seems severe enough to you, you still might not be able to qualify for SSDI benefits. The Social Security Administration has a List of Impairments that contains all of the conditions that SSA terms as disabling.
If your medical condition is listed in the Listing of Impairments, you can get disability benefits from the SSA. With that being said, you will need to meet the specific requirements for the medical condition recognized by the SSA. For example, simply having the disabling condition is not enough; you also need to display the symptoms of the conditionthat the SSA recognizes.
After this step, the SSA will determine if your case is severe or critical enough to be deemed a “compassionate allowance” case. If it is, your case will immediately qualify for benefits as soon as the diagnosis is confirmed. The SSA can also determine if your case is a quick disability determination case for other severe cases. In this case, a computer program will screen the information that is provided and will then make a decision about disability benefits.
It is understandable that when an individual is out of work, their ability to pay for an attorney is impacted. That is why Kahn and Associates takes most cases on a contingency fee basis, which means we do not require any payment unless we are successful in securing benefits for you. To learn more about your rights under the Social Security Disability laws, call our FREE Disability Hotline at 1-866-4-MY-SSDI (469-7734) to speak with one of our friendly disability rights advocates who, once they obtain all the required information, will evaluate your claim in 60 seconds or less. You can alternatively fill out our FREE Disability Case Assessment form and one of our representatives will contact you immediately.