Social Security Disability benefits exist for those who are no longer able to work due to a disabling condition. It is the job of the Social Security Administration (SSA) to ensure that people who are in need receive the benefits that allow them to keep their lives running.
Due to the serious nature of the process, it is important for individuals to understand if they qualify for benefits. Many find themselves asking “Do I qualify for social security benefits?” Here are some questions to ask. And it’s important to note, if you have been unjustly denied benefits, please give an attorney a call.
Qualifying for Social Security Disability. The Questions to Ask
Can I Continue to Work?
This is crucial to being eligible for social security disability (SSD) benefits. If you can no longer do the work you previously did and are not qualified for a new field, you are likely in line for benefits. Other factors involved here include the ability to continue working at a lesser rate than you did previously.
The SSA will check if you are able to work in a field that may or may not be similar to your old job, so doing an honest self assessment in this area is very important. But, it’s equally important to know that the SSA doesn’t always understand every element, so having data and facts behind your ability to work is key.
Do My Current Finances Dictate the Need for Benefits?
Individuals who have the capacity to pay for the treatment and other needs while not being able to currently work may question whether they actually have a need for disability benefits.
While it may seem reasonable to someone that they pay out of pocket for their disability now, there is no way to know how long they may continue to be disabled. Additionally, that isn’t how the SSA awards benefits. Social security disability benefit needs are determined by whether or not the individual is able to work and is insured – current financial need is not a factor.
Is My Condition Considered a Disability?
Some disabilities are more obvious than others. For example, loss of use of major extremities is extremely limiting in a physical capacity. But, mental conditions or other internal disabilities such as fibromyalgia are not as visually clear.
Not all disabilities are considered by the SSA, but there is various criteria that the SSA lists as qualifying for a disability that needs to be closely examined. Having a condition that meets or exceeds this criteria may qualify an individual for SSD benefits.
Do I Qualify for Social Security Disability with my Work History?
Length of work, and the recency of the work is a large determining factor in receiving SSD benefits, as it dictates how much you have paid in an therefore are qualified for.
The recent work test and the duration of work tests are simple calculations that determine your benefit eligibility. Someone who has worked for many years is likely going to qualify if the duration of work was substantial. If someone is younger, they will need to have recent work experience, generally around five years of work within the 10-year period prior to becoming disabled.
How Long will I be Disabled?
Qualifying for social security disability happens when there is a long-term condition that will severely limit the individual’s earning potential for a substantial amount of time.
A broken bone, for example, is unlikely to qualify as that is seen as a temporary condition that the individual will recover from and be able to start working again. As with anything, there are extenuating factors and a professional should be contacted if there is a question on the disability.
When Should I File and What Paperwork is Needed?
The question of when to file is somewhat simple. Once an individual knows they have become disabled, the process should be set in motion. While there is a waiting period involved, if too much time has passed between the time of disability and benefits being awarded, there will be back pay available to the individual.
When it comes to filing and the involved paperwork, it is a good idea to have an attorney involved right away. This is especially true if someone has already been denied benefits.
A simple list of paperwork includes: birth certificate, proof of citizen status, W-2 forms, medical treatment documentation, records of compensatory benefits such as workers’ compensation, if applicable.
Again, it is a very good idea to get an attorney involved, as they have the skills and experience to see through the process. For questions or to get help, call 844-432-0114.