A chronic medical or mental health condition that prevents you from working need not become a cause of financial hardship. Whether you are an employee working for someone or earn an income through self-employment, the payroll taxes that you paid while working contributed toward funding the Social Security Disability Insurance program administered by the Social Security Administration. The fact that more than eight million people receive disability benefits from Social Security dispels the often-repeated story about all initial applications being automatically denied benefits.
The percentage of claimants denied benefits on their initial application is high, but the primary reasons are the tough qualifying standards that must be met and the submission of applications containing insufficient information or a lack of medical sources to support the claim. Working with an SSD advocate at London Eligibility ensures you of the submission of an accurate application with the medical records containing evaluations, treatments, and diagnostic testing to support the claim for benefits.
Do you have the work history to qualify for SSD?
Before completing an application to file for SSD, a disability advocate will look at your work history to determine whether you have worked long enough to qualify for disability benefits. Social Security looks at your work history to decide whether you have enough work credits to qualify for benefits.
You must have paid Social Security taxes on income earned through employment or self-employment to earn work credits. The number of work credits earned each year depends upon your annual earnings. For example, in 2021, you earn one work credit for each $1,470 in wages or self-employment income. You may earn up to four credits a year.
The number of work credits you need to qualify for disability benefits depends upon your age at the onset of disability. For example, a 58-year-old worker applying for SSD would need nine years of working and earning credits to qualify.
Work history can be tricky when trying to decide if you qualify for benefits. The fact that you have enough work credits based on your age does not in and of itself mean that you qualify. Some of those credits must be earned within a specific period before you become disabled. Again, using the example of the 58-year-old worker, 20 work credits must be earned within 10 years before the onset of disability. If it seems confusing, an SSD advocate at London Eligibility can help by explaining how it applies to your work history.
You must be disabled to file for disability benefits
Once you know that your work history meets the guidelines to qualify for Social Security disability, you must be disabled within the definition used by SSD. A disability within the definition used by Social Security must include all of the following:
1). Prevents you from engaging in any substantial gainful activity.
2). The disability is caused by one or more medically determinable physical or mental impairments.
3). The impairments must have lasted or be expected to last for at least 12 continuous months or be expected to result in your death.
It is essential that your medical records support your claim for benefits with a diagnosis, test results, medical evaluations, and a course of treatment that can withstand the scrutiny of the Social Security disability evaluation process.
The step-by-step process begins by reviewing your recent work history. If you are working and apply for benefits in 2021, your average earnings cannot be more than $1,310 a month. Earnings above $1,310 show that you can engage in substantial gainful activity.
If you meet the SGA criteria, the next step in the evaluation of your medical condition decides whether or not it is severe. It must be severe enough to limit you from performing basic activities related to work, including standing, sitting, lifting, walking, and remembering, for a minimum period of at least 12 consecutive months. If it does, the process of evaluation moves to the next step to decide if it is a listed condition.
Social Security has a Listing of Impairments of physical and mental health conditions considered as severe enough to prevent you from engaging in SGA. A condition not on the list is evaluated by reference to the medical evidence to determine if it is comparable in severity to a listed condition.
A condition that is not on the Listing of Impairments or is not comparable in severity to one on it does not result in a decision that you are disabled. Instead, the process continues to the next step, which looks at the impairment to determine whether you can perform the type of work you did in the past. The ability to do past work means your disability does not qualify for benefits.
If your disability prevents you from engaging in past work, the last step in the evaluation process looks at your age, education, transferrable skills, and other factors to decide whether you can engage in other types of work. The ability to do work other than a type you may have done in the past usually results in a denial of the claim.
Working with a disability advocate
Working with an SSD advocate at London Eligibility to file for SSD avoids mistakes and incomplete applications that may cause delays or result in a denial letter. Should your claim be denied, a disability advocate can review the letter and offer options to appeal the determination.