If you have been injured or have health problems that interfere with working, you might be asking “How Do I Qualify for Social Security Disability? That is a valid question, especially if a disability or illness makes it impossible for you to fulfill your job duties. Social Security Disability may be a safety net for you if you are no longer be able to work because of a severe disability that prevents you from getting or maintaining gainful employment.
Social Security Disability is not going to replace your previous income dollar for dollar. You will need to learn to budget your resources, and you may qualify for other public assistance programs. Disability is not automatic. You must qualify and that requires meeting certain eligibility criteria.
You Must Meet the Qualifications
To meet SSD qualifications you must have worked on jobs covered by Social Security. You also must have been out of work for a period prior to applying for benefits, and your disability must be severe. In fact, the disability must impact your ability to lift objects, walk, stand and sit for long periods.
Applying for Disability Requires Patience
When you apply for disability, simply filling out the paperwork and having the blessing of your doctor won’t close the deal. Those steps are just the beginning. You will need to meet with a Social Security representative to answer questions and explain why you can no longer work. Additionally, your health care provider will need to provide extensive information about your condition, which includes copies of your medical records, lab reports and anything that supports your case. Your family members may be asked to provide information about your daily activities and what assistance you may need to function.
You may need to answer additional questions, some of which you may answer more than once. After your application is complete, you will most likely wait a few months before you receive the decision. In certain situations, payments may be approved shortly after the disability is confirmed, especially in cases of terminal conditions.
What if My Application is Denied?
If you application is denied, it may be that it was incomplete or Social Security did not have enough information to support your claim. In that case, you may appeal. You can begin by appealing online. You may also have your case heard by an administrative law judge. Some individuals who are denied Social Security Disability hire lawyers who specialize in disability to handle the appeals process.
You may receive other resources that could impact the amount of disability your receive. For example, Workman’s Compensation benefits can reduce the amount of disability you receive.
Once you are approved for Social Security Disability, you will have periodic reviews to determine your continued eligibility. Should your condition improve to the point where you can handle working, you will no longer qualify for disability payments.