Now that we added a Social Security Disability division to our law practice, I am often asked something like this: “I have [add any condition or disease here], am I eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits?” As with any question posed to a lawyer, the answer is not a simply No or Yes. Most times, eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits hinges on more questions than having a certain condition or disease. Here are a few things that also must be considered when determining whether a person is eligible for SSD benefits:
Is the Applicant Working? In order to be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, a person must meet the definition of disabled. The Social Security Administration defines “disability” as the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months. If a person earned $1,070 or more in any month in the past 12 months, they would most likely not be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits.
- Has the Applicant Worked Enough? If an applicant did not work enough quarters before becoming disabled, he or she would not be entitled for Social Security Disability benefits. Generally you need 40 credits, 20 of which were earned in the last 10 years ending with the year you become disabled. However, younger workers may qualify with fewer credits. In the year 2014, you must earn $1,200 in covered earnings to get one Social Security work credit and $4,800 to get the maximum four credits for the year.
Is There Medical Documentation to Support the Disability and Inability to Work? As noted above, the definition of disability includes the necessity for a “medically determinable physical or mental impairment.” According to SSA, a medically determinable physical or mental impairment is an impairment that results from anatomical, physiological, or psychological abnormalities which can be shown by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques. A physical or mental impairment must be established by medical evidence consisting of signs, symptoms, and laboratory findings-not only by the individual’s statement of symptoms. Thus, it is crucial that there are medical records that substantiate the applicant’s disability. Without medical documentation, a person is unlikely to be found eligible for Social Security Disability benefits.
So, as you can see, there is so much more to the question “Do I Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits?” then just knowing the condition or disease. Although a person can apply for Social Security Disability benefits on their own, they should not try to fight the denial alone. If you or someone you know is fighting to obtain Social Security Disability benefit, contact my office at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation. You may also visit our Social Security Disability webpage, ClearwaterSSDHelp.com for more information.
Attorneys Matthew Noyes and Lorrie Robinson represents those fighting to obtain SSD benefits as well as those injured in car accidents, motorcycle crashes, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents and other types of personal injury matters. His Clearwater law firm – Perenich Caulfield Avril Noyes – is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Pinellas County. Call Attorney Matthew Noyes now at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.