When you develop a disability, you’ll need to make several adjustments to your daily life. However, even with these adjustments, going to work may not always be an option. Fortunately, in these situations, American citizens can apply for Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) to help replace lost wages. Before meeting with a disability lawyer, learn more about whether you qualify for these benefits below.
Circumstances Needed to Qualify for SSDI Benefits
1. Proof of Disability
The Social Security Administration maintains a list of conditions that present severe impairments to daily activities. Qualifying types of conditions are categorized as musculoskeletal, sensory, respiratory, cardiovascular, digestive, genitourinary, hematological, skin, endocrine, congenital, neurological, mental, cancer, and immune system disorders. To receive SSDI, your diagnosed condition must be recognized on this list.
2. Proof of Permanence
Some disabilities—such as a broken leg—are temporary and won't produce a lasting impairment that'll impact one's future capabilities. That's why those who qualify for SSDI benefits must have medical evidence to show that their condition is either permanent or will cause impairment for a year or longer. For purposes of disability benefits, the condition(s) resulting in your disability must have lasted, or be expected to last, for a continuous period of at least twelve months, or be expected to result in your death.
3. Clear Limitations in Work Capability
Before someone can be awarded SSDI benefits, they must prove in their application and disability hearing that their condition impacts their ability to work. For example, someone who's now blind may not be able to operate a work vehicle anymore.
A lawyer will see what type of past relevant work you performed. If you are unable to perform your past relevant work but can perform other types of work, whether or not you qualify for disability benefits will depend on your age, education, and past relevant work. If you are under age 50 and your medical condition prevents you from performing your past relevant medium exertional work, but you can perform sedentary or light work activity, you won’t qualify for disability benefits.
4. Sufficient Work Credits
Before your disability lawyer arranges a hearing to present your case for SSDI qualification, they'll make sure you have the necessary amount of work credits. Every year you're employed, you can add up to four work credits if you earn $5,640 or more.
Unless you're a younger individual, you'll need to have a total of 40 work credits to qualify for disability benefits. Twenty of these should be earned in the 10 years leading up to your disability event.
If you believe you qualify for disability income, Stine & Associates, P.C. in Greensburg, PA, will guide you through every step of the application process. These disability lawyers are familiar with current Social Security requirements, application steps, and hearing procedures, so they’ll be able to prepare a strong case to increase your likelihood of receiving benefits. They can also provide comprehensive assistance to those who have been denied benefits and want to seek an appeal. Visit this law firm online to learn about all of their practice areas, or call (724) 837-0160 to discuss your case with a compassionate attorney.