If you are disabled and unable to work, Social Security disability insurance is a program through the Social Security Administration that provides monthly payments. The application process can be challenging and may result in a denial of the claim, which is the reason people find it beneficial to consult with a disability advocate at London Eligibility when applying for benefits or appealing an adverse decision.
Complying with the rules and procedures of the SSD program and submitting an accurate and thorough application can avoid delays and improve your chance of success. Taking a few minutes to get a better understanding of the eligibility guidelines and how to file for SSD is a good place to begin the process.
Disability criteria to qualify for Social Security disability
To qualify for SSD benefits, you must be disabled according to the definition of disability used by the Social Security Administration. You also must have enough work credits earned from working for someone or from self-employment to qualify for benefits.
If you applied for and received disability through a state-administered program, do not assume that you will automatically qualify as disabled for SSD. State programs are for temporary, short-term injuries or illnesses that prevent you from engaging in the type of work you were doing before becoming disabled.
Federal law defines “disabled” for purposes of qualifying for SSD as being unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity due to a medically determinable mental or physical impairment. The impairment must be expected to last for at least 12 consecutive months or result in the person’s death.
Your medical condition must be severe enough to limit you from engaging in the most basic of physical activities related to work, including standing, walking, sitting, or lifting. Limitations on other mental activities, such as memory, may also be considered when evaluating the severity of a condition.
If you are working when you apply for SSD, Social Security looks at your average monthly earnings to determine whether you are disabled. Generally, earning above $1,310 in 2021 indicates that you are not disabled. The monthly earnings change each year.
Social Security maintains a list of medical conditions considered to be capable of preventing a person from engaging in substantial gainful activity. If you have a medical condition appearing on the list, you are disabled. An impairment not appearing on the list of medical conditions must go through an additional review process to determine your ability to engage in the work you did in the past or any other type of work.
A different definition applies to children younger than 18 years of age. Children are disabled when they have a medically determinable mental or physical impairment or a combination of impairments that causes marked and severe functional limitations. As in cases involving adults, the impairment must be expected to cause the death of the child or be expected to last for at least 12 months.
Work Credits and Qualifying for SSD
You must have worked at jobs or self-employment and paid Social Security taxes to earn work credits to qualify for SSD. Up to four work credits may be earned each year with the wages needed to earn a credit. You earn one credit for every $1,470 earned in 2021.
As a general rule, you need 40 work credits to qualify for SSD. At least 20 of the credits must have been earned within the 10-year period immediately preceding your application for benefits.
How to File for SSD
Different methods are available for filing an application for benefits. You have the option of filing by phone, mail, or in person at a local field office of the Social Security Administration. Filing in person may be limited due to the coronavirus pandemic, but there is an online option available.
The application requests personal data and contact information about you, including your Social Security number. It also asks for details about the nature of your disability, including the impairment or impairments causing you to be disabled, physicians, hospitals, clinics, and other sources of treatment of the medical condition.
A waiting period that begins on the date of onset of your disability as determined by Social Security applies to the payment of benefits. Benefit payments will not be paid within the first six months that you are disabled, so you should submit your application for SSD as soon as you believe you are disabled.
Get help from an SSD professional
Instead of trying to navigate alone through an unfamiliar and complex maze of regulations and procedures that apply to the process of filing for Social Security disability insurance benefits, let an experienced and knowledgeable disability advocate from London Eligibility be your guide. A disability advocate knows the review process and how to prepare a strong application that meets guidelines and qualification criteria.