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There’s a lot to manage if you’re considering applying for Social Security disability benefits. Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place to find answers.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a condition requiring you to miss work for more than a year, you may meet Social Security qualifications. However, it can prove challenging to determine how long an illness might last.
Still, some conditions may enable you to qualify for disability automatically. You can usually qualify for benefits if you have a severe disability that prevents you from performing your work or any other job.
To learn more about qualifying types of disabilities and who qualifies for Social Security, keep reading.
Who Pays for Disability Benefits?
When you work, you pay taxes into the Disability Insurance Trust Fund. The fund helps disabled individuals and their families pay expenses.
The Disability Insurance Trust Fund helps disabled individuals manage the costs of living. These costs might include medical bills, food and other necessities. Ideally, the fund helps disabled individuals to live a full life.
However, disability benefits are different from retirement benefits. These benefits are not tied to your age.
Disability Benefits for Children
In some cases, even children will qualify for disability benefits. However, the rules are slightly different in this instance.
Also, the process of qualifying for disability is much more complex than qualifying for retirement benefits. In many instances, it’s not enough to live in America and have a disability.
To start, the SSA uses a credit system to determine whether you qualify for disability. Most adults need 40 credits to qualify.
However, young adults need fewer credits. For example, a young adult might only need six credits to qualify for disability benefits in a three-year period. In the case of children, a child will typically qualify for disability based on their parents’ credits.
How to Get Social Security
In some cases, you might become disabled before you retire. If so, you could qualify for benefits, according to the Social Security Act. In short, the act says that you’re eligible for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits if you’re blind or disabled.
You must not have passed retirement age to qualify for SSDI. You must also have insured status. In other words, you must have contributed enough to the SSDI fund for a required number of years before your disability started.
It’s important to know that you will not receive benefits during the first five months of your disability. In the sixth month, however, you’ll receive benefits equal to your primary insurance amount.
Some individuals receive worker’s compensation for their injuries. In this case, they may receive disability benefits limited by a worker’s compensation offset. When collecting worker’s compensation, your combined benefits cannot exceed 80% of your earnings before receiving disability.
If you receive benefits, you must report any changes in your medical condition. You must also report if you return to work. In this regard, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will conduct periodic reviews to assess your Social Security eligibility.
How the SSA Determines Eligibility
The Social Security Administration (SSA) classifies disability as the inability to do your previous job or any other substantial work. Also, your disability must persist for more than a year or until death.
A physician may have diagnosed you with a physical or emotional illness. In either case, the physician must document the illness for the purposes of your disability claim.
The SSA will use a five-step process to determine whether you are disabled. Using this process, they’ll determine whether you qualify for disability benefits. The following outlines the steps of the process.
Firstly, the SSA will want to know if you’re currently working. If so, you’re automatically disqualified for disability benefits, regardless of your medical condition.
Next, the SSA will assess whether your impairment will last for more than a year or result in death. If you suffer from several impairments, they’ll make the same assessment. In either case, your impairment must significantly limit your ability to work.
Now, the SSA will evaluate whether your condition is the same or equal to the Social Security Listing of Impairments. If so, the SSA will automatically assume that your condition is so severe that you cannot maintain gainful employment.
In all other cases, they’ll assess your residual functional capacity. In other words, the SSA will evaluate whether you retain the necessary physical or mental ability to continue performing your job.
During the fifth step of the assessment, the SSA will make another assessment of your residual functional capacity. Here, however, they’ll also consider your age, education and work experience.
For the final stage of the assessment, the SSA will evaluate whether you can find other meaningful work. If so, they’ll recommend that you pursue work that is less physically or mentally demanding rather than award disability benefits.
On average, the SSA might approve over half of applicants close to retirement age for disability benefits. However, younger applicants may have trouble making it past the final step of the SSA evaluation.
For the first four steps of the SSA evaluation, the burden is on you to prove your disability. During the final step, however, the SSA will work to prove that there are jobs that you can do despite your current limitations.
Types of Disabilities That Qualify for Social Security
Many people believe that disability is only for serious accidents and certain conditions. However, there are many different disabilities that might enable you to qualify for disability benefits. SSDI covers a wide range of medical and health conditions.
There are many physical and psychological conditions that could potentially qualify you for disability coverage. For example, a few qualifying long-term conditions are:
• Back pain
• Brain injury
• Chronic migraines
• Macular degeneration
• Non-epileptic seizures
These are just a few examples of conditions that qualify for disability. The full list of qualifying conditions is quite exhaustive.
Also, you could qualify for disability based on a combination of several medical conditions. In fact, there are so many qualifying conditions that it’s not possible to list them all.
There are many people with conditions that qualify for disability. Yet, they struggle to get their disability claims approved.
Despite your condition, there is one important aspect to winning your disability claim. It’s important to present well-documented medical evidence that provides proof of your condition. Furthermore, you must receive a proper diagnosis from a physician.
Qualifying for Benefits
You may find it difficult to convince the SSA that your condition qualifies for coverage. However, an experienced disability lawyer can make this task much easier.
When it comes to qualifying for benefits, your insurance company will look for weaknesses in your claim. For example, an insurer might exploit the fact that there is a small error in your documents.
Alternatively, you may not have all the information needed for your claim. These relatively small issues can result in a delay in receiving your benefits. Even worse, they can result in claim denial.
For this reason, it’s important that your records adequately demonstrate the effects of your disability. If not, you will most certainly find it difficult to receive disability benefits. An experienced lawyer can help to ensure that you do not suffer this unfortunate outcome.
An experienced disability attorney has skills and experience. They can help you make the connection between your impairment by showing you how to produce the right medical evidence. A disability expert will also help you make a strong and persuasive legal argument for your claim.
Common Social Security Don’ts
If you’re an older adult, there are a couple of things that you want to consider regarding Social Security disability.
Unless you plan carefully, for instance, early retirement can serve as a huge error. If you find that you need disability benefits, you can learn that your payments are reduced by almost 30% if you retire early.
If you’ve reached retirement age, it’s important that you don’t miss the 65 Medicare deadline. The 65 Medicare deadline is the three months before and after your 65th birthday.
During this time, the SSA expects you to sign up for Medicare. Medicare is one of the biggest benefits offered by Social Security.
However, there are penalties for late Medicare registration. Accordingly, it’s important to keep track of your eligibility date.
The SSA denies about 70% of disability claims submitted by individuals who aren’t near retirement age. Accordingly, it’s a good idea to work with an knowledgable disability lawyer to help you make your case for disability benefits.
Access the Benefits That You Deserve
Now you know more about qualifying types of disabilities and who qualifies for Social Security. Hopefully, you now understand more about the challenges of making a disability claim and understand the importance of hiring a skilled disability lawyer.
Fitzpatrick & Associates can help you to navigate the complicated Social Security disability process. The SSA works to save as much money as possible. However, we can significantly increase your chances of receiving disability benefits.
We’ve helped people secure disability benefits for more than a decade. Today, we know the disability process inside and out.
Contact Fitzpatrick & Associates today at (617) 202-3227 or connect with us online for a free case evaluation.