If you are a disabled worker or have a demonstrated financial need, you could be eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. These benefits will help you support yourself and get the medical care you need. For men and women who meet the required criteria, you may receive medical care and monthly financial benefits.
This quiz will pose a few simple questions to help you understand if you may qualify for disability benefits. The answers you provide will determine whether you meet the basic qualifications. They will also help you understand which SSD benefits program to apply for.
Which Program Should You Apply For?
There are two programs under the SSD umbrella:
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must have worked long enough and paid into the SSD insurance program while employed. You must also meet the definition of disabled set by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
You may qualify for SSI benefits if you have little or no income and limited resources. You must also be blind, disabled, or over retirement age.
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What Type of Work Can You Perform?
SSA officials will ask questions about your employment history to determine whether you can still do the same or a different type of work. To be eligible for SSDI benefits, you must be unable to perform any type of substantial gainful activity (SGA).
For example, suppose you suffered a spinal injury that left you paralyzed from the waist down, so you can no longer perform your job duties as a firefighter. However, a doctor determines you could still perform a desk job. In this case, you would likely not qualify for SSD benefits, even though you cannot do your former job.
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How Long Have You Been Working?
To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you must have enough work credits. The number of credits you earn per year depends on your salary. As of 2022, you can earn one credit per $1,510 of income, with a maximum of four credits earned per year.
In general, you need at least 40 credits to qualify for disability benefits. You must have earned at least ten of those in the ten years preceding your application.
Are You Currently Working?
If you can currently work in any capacity, you likely do not qualify for SSDI benefits.
However, you may qualify for SSI benefits if your income is very low and you also have limited resources. Per the SSA, to qualify for SSI in 2022, you must earn less than:
- $841 per month for an individual
- $1,261 per month for a couple
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Do You Meet SSA’s Definition of Disability?
SSA guidelines consider you disabled if you have a qualifying medical condition that makes it impossible for you to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA). Your disability must be:
- Proven with medical evidence
- Expected to last a minimum of one year or result in your death
The SSA also provides a list of physical and mental disabilities it considers serious enough to be disabling. Proving that you have a condition on this list can make the process more streamlined.
You may also qualify for SSD benefits if you have multiple conditions that combine to render you disabled.
There is no “partial” disability when it comes to SSDI benefit eligibility—the SSA either considers you disabled or not disabled, with no grey area in between.
How Long Is Your Disability Expected to Last?
People with short-term disabilities do not qualify for SSD benefits. If your disability is expected to last for at least a year, you may qualify. You might also qualify if you have a terminal illness or injury. Your medical record will indicate either case.
An SSD Attorney Can Help You With Your Case
Applying for SSD benefits is a complicated and lengthy process. You have the right to have an attorney help you throughout the application process and help you file an appeal if your initial application is denied.
The SSA recommends obtaining legal representation and support. SSA representatives will work with your attorney and ensure any fees your attorney receives are reasonable and appropriate.
Get a Free Review of Your Social Security Case Today
If you believe you qualify for SSDI or SSI, our law firm can help you figure it out. We will review your employment records and medical evidence and help you prove your right to medical and financial support.
Learn more and get started today by contacting one of our SSD team members at Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC.