Are You Eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits?

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Are You Eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits?

If you’ve become disabled and you’ll be out of work for an extended period of time, Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits can help you get through it without suffering undue financial hardship. However, just because you’ve been paying into Social Security doesn’t mean that you’ll automatically get them just because you apply. You have to be eligible. So how do you know if you’re eligible for Social Security Disability benefits? Here are some of the factors that the Social Security Administration (SSA) will use to determine whether or not you can apply.

You’ve Worked in Jobs Covered by Social Security

In order to obtain Social Security Disability benefits, you have to have worked at a company that is covered by or pays into Social Security. For most workers in the United States who had to file a W2, that will be true for you, since almost all employers have to deduct a certain percentage from their employees’ checks for SSA purposes. However, it gets a little trickier if you’re self-employed or if other situations made it so that your job wasn’t covered by Social Security. It’s a little bit like unemployment insurance. In order to obtain it, you had to have paid into it at your last employer.

Your Medical Condition Meets the SSA’s Definition of a Disability

There are lengthy explanations in the law about what does and does not constitute a disability that would warrant the dispersion of SSD funds. However, for the most part, if what you’re dealing with will put you out of work for longer than a year, it’s a disability. There are also some other factors you have to take into consideration, which you’ll read about in a few moments.

Your Condition is Severe

Beyond just having a disability, in order to obtain SSD benefits, your condition has to be severe. Typically, as mentioned above, that means you’ll be out of work for at least a year. For instance, if you were diagnosed with a terrible stomach flu, you might be out of work for an inconvenient amount of time, but it’s not a disability and it’s not severe. Let’s say that you were hurt in a car accident, but you can still walk on crutches and get around if you had to. Again, even if that incident put you on crutches for over a year, you could probably still work, so it might be hard to get SSD benefits.

You’re Not Working Now

If you’re working at the time of your application, or your desire to apply, and you’re working, you will probably not be eligible. This is especially true if you’re making a certain amount per month. For 2019, that amount is $1,220 a month, but be sure to check with the SSD website to make sure you get the most updated amount. The SSA will assume that if you’re working and making at least that much, you’re not disabled enough to need benefits.

You Can’t Do the Job You Previously Did

Furthermore, in order to apply for SSD benefits, you have to be incapable of doing the job you did before. Needing sufficient assistance does not quality as being unable to do your job. However, let’s say you were a truck driver and you ended up with a head injury so severe that your doctor told you not to drive, you would be incapable of doing the job you did before.

You Can’t Do Other Work

If you can’t do the job you did before but you could do other work, you probably won’t be able to get SSD benefits. For instance, if you lost a leg and your recovery means you can’t go back to your job in a warehouse, you’d meet the criteria for not being able to do your previous job. However, if you could sit in an office and do some administrative work, you probably won’t be eligible for SSD benefits because work of some kind is, at least in their mind, still available to you.

Regardless of what your disability is, if you’ve paid into Social Security through your employer and you need benefits, call a Social Security Disability attorney in your area as soon as possible. Only a qualified and experienced SSD attorney will be able to adequately defend your case should your request for assistance be denied. An SSD lawyer can help you through the process, make sure you qualify, help you avoid pitfalls, and be by your side in the event that you have to go to a disability hearing. Don’t take a chance on doing it alone when what’s at stake are the benefits you need and deserve.

 

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