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Social Security Disability 101

March 19th, 2021
Social Security Disability 101 - Blog

Social security disability is perceived to be a benefits program designed for older individuals. However, this is not the case. Social security disability is relevant for individuals of all ages. In fact, according to the Social Security Association, the average age of a social security beneficiary is 54.9 years old.

With over 69.1 million people in the United States receiving benefits from the programs offered by the Social Security Administration, the social security attorneys at Dale E. Anstine have handled many social security disability insurance (SSDI) and social security income (SSI) cases over the years and are here to detail this area of law, who is eligible for benefits and what to do if your social security disability claim is denied.

What is Social Security Disability?

The Social Security Administration offers two benefit programs which provide assistance to individuals who have a disability. To be eligible for either of these programs, the disability must meet specific medical criteria.

  • Social security disability insurance provides benefits to the individual who is disabled as well as certain members of their family if they are insured. To be considered insured, the individual must have earned a required number of “work credits” before becoming disabled and have paid social security taxes.
  • Supplemental security income provides benefits to those individuals who do not have enough work history to receive social security disability insurance or are low income. Supplemental security income provides assistance based on financial needs. It is important to note that if an individual has both a limited income/resources and a work history, they may initially qualify to apply for benefits under both programs.

Do I Qualify for Social Security Benefits?

The Social Security Administration’s definition of a disability is very strict and the process of applying for social security disability insurance or social security income is complex. Before applying for benefits, make sure all the following statements are true.

  • Your disability prevents you from doing the work you did before.
  • You cannot adjust to other work because of your disability.
  • Your medical condition is expected to last at least a year or result in death.

Additionally, if you have enough work history to qualify for benefits, the Social Security Administration asks the following questions:

  • Are you working? If you are still working and your monthly average income is $1,310 or more, you most likely will not qualify for social security disability benefits.
  • Is your condition “severe”? Your medical condition must significantly limit your ability to perform work-related activities such as lifting, standing, sitting or remembering for at least a year.
  • Is your condition found on the list of disabling conditions? The Social Security Administration maintains a list of medical conditions they consider severe enough to prevent a person from working. If your condition is on the list, you may have a better chance at qualifying for SSDI or SSI. To view a list of common medical conditions that are eligible for social security disability benefits, click here.
  • Can you do the work you previously did? If you can perform activities you have performed in the past for work, you may not qualify for benefits.
  • Can you do any other type of work? If you are unable to do the work you performed in the past, the Social Security Administration will look to see if there is any other work that you could perform despite your medical condition.

Applying for social security disability benefits is a complex process and there are very specific rules that need to be followed for these types of cases. In fact, many claims are denied at the initial application stage, which is why it is important to have a social security disability lawyer on your side who understands the complexities of this area of law and can help you have the best chance of receiving the benefits you deserve.

What Do I Do If My Social Security Disability Claim is Denied?

If your social security disability claim was denied, you are not alone. In fact, according to the Disability Benefits Center, 60 to 70 percent of initial claims are denied each year. Although the social security disability process is complex and time-consuming, you should not stop fighting for your rights after being denied. You still have a chance at having your claim approved!

To learn more about the steps you can take after having your initial social security disability claim denied, read our Denied Social Security Disability? Here’s What to Do blog.

Get A Fighter on Your Side

Social security disability insurance and social security income processes are complex. If you have a medical condition or mental health diagnosis that prevents you from working, choose a social security lawyer who has the experience and knowledge to walk you through the claims process and increase your chances of receiving benefits. Don’t fight alone. Get an experienced attorney on your side who will have your back every step of the way. At Dale E. Anstine, consultations are always FREE, we are available 24/7, and there is no fee unless we win for you. Start a conversation today!