How To Qualify for Social Security Disability

Qualifying for Social Security Disability

To begin receiving disability benefits from Social Security, you need first to meet their strict criteria for the Social Security Administration to consider you eligible for benefits.

The first thing an applicant is required to prove is whether or not their disability condition is permanent. “Permanent” specifically means that your condition will last for at least one year or that your disability is terminal. Due to the necessity of establishing this timeframe, as an applicant, it’s your responsibility to maintain accurate medical records and other important documents. Preventing mix-ups between you and the SSA will go a long way when it comes to successfully qualifying for Social Security disability benefits.

The SSA will review your application and determine whether or not your disability stops you from completing “substantial gainful activity” (SGA) on your own. The SSA will also evaluate your disability to decide if your condition stops you from completing necessary daily tasks of your past occupation.

Lastly, the SSA will evaluate to see if your condition would prevent you from applying and finding a new occupation or if the prevention is due to other factors such as age or education.
The Social Security Administration administers two programs that are federally funded, providing financial aid to those with disabling conditions. One is the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), and the other is Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

What is SSDI?

Social Security Disability Insurance is responsible for providing financial aid to those with disabling conditions that prevent them from working; it is one of the two programs funded by the Social Security tax. You’re required to have sufficient job credits if you wish to qualify for monthly payments under SSDI. Make sure to note that before applying for SSDI you need to have paid Social Security taxes on your wages for a certain amount of time to qualify for monthly benefits. This implies applicants are required to maintain a steady work history before qualifying for SSDI. The work credit requirement could be reduced for younger applicants who are under the age of 22 since they are allowed to apply for their parents’ work credits on their application.

What is SSI?

Supplemental Security Income is funded by general taxes instead of the specific Social Security tax. This permits applicants who lack a steady job history the opportunity to apply and even qualify. If you wish to qualify for SSI, you need to be either over the age of 65, legally blind or have a disabling condition in addition to having a total assets sum of less than $3000 for the entire family.

The SSA will recognize assets as a part of your income, which includes salary, pensions, and other benefits like inheritance. The SSA will recognize assets belonging to an applicant’s resources, which can include any stocks, real estate ownership and savings in cash. You could qualify for SSI payments under these conditions even if you lack a job history.

Common Reasons for Denial of Social Security Disability Claim

Social Security goes through a shocking amount of disability claims every daily. As a result, denial rates for initial applications are about 60%. In the first attempt of appeals or reconsideration, this percentage shoots up to near 80%.

The primary reason for these extremely common denials is because applicants consistently fail to prove the severity of their disabling condition. This may have been a result of poor or absence of accurate medical records.  Another reason why the SSA denies so many applications is because applicants often do not possess the necessary job history to meet the SSA’s job credit conditions. In addition, applicants are typically lost when it comes to the complexities of the Social Security appeal process and don’t know what to do after their application is denied.

To avoid these complications, you need to constantly seek treatment from doctors or other medical professionals and verify that their records are organized and accurately reflect your condition’s severity.

Disability vs. Retirement

SSDI, SSI, and Social Security Retirement are three financial benefits programs that the SSA administers. A common concern that people have who are receiving SSDI or SSI benefits is the uncertainty of will become of their disability payments once reaching retirement age.

If you qualified and are currently receiving SSDI, part or all of your monthly benefits could be turned into retirement benefits once you get to your retirement age. You should be aware that your total benefit amount will likely remain the same. You have to alert the SSA as soon as possible if your benefits increase, as you will be responsible for paying the SSA back if any excess money was given to you accidentally.

If you qualified and are now receiving SSI benefits, you may be able to maintain some if not all of your monthly payments. You should note that this is dependent on the amount of your retirement benefit. If your retirement benefit increases your monthly income, some or all of your financial need SSI payments could be reduced or completely retracted.