When applying for disability benefits, applicants are never certain if they are eligible to file a disability claim because there are a few disability myths and misconceptions about eligibility for disability benefits. Here are the top disability myths explained that you need to understand before you start the process of filing a disability claim.
Myth 1: You must be disabled for one year before applying
This isn’t correct because you don’t have to be disabled for one year. You must be expected to be out of work for at least one year due to your disability. As soon as your doctor notifies you that your disability will be expected to last more than 12 months, you should start applying for disability benefits.
Myth 2: You must be at retirement age
You may apply for disability benefits as an adult at any age and not just when you have reached the retirement age. Your eligibility doesn’t just depend on how severe your disability is but whether you have sufficient work credits for your age group. For example, if you are 62 years old you will need 40 credits, 20 need to have been earned in the 10 years of work before becoming disabled.
A 40 year old will need 44 credits and 5 ½ years of work. If you become disabled before 24 years, you usually require 1½ years of work (six credits) in the three years before you became disabled. If you are between 24 and 30 years, you normally require credits for 50 percent of the time between age 21 and the time you became disabled.
If you are disabled at 31 years or older, you typically require at least 20 credits in the 10 years immediately before you became disabled. If you don’t qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) based on accumulated work credits for your age you may still qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) which is based on the value of the assets you own.
Myth 3: Your condition must be in the Blue Book
A disability being listed in the Blue Book is an important part of the disability benefits process, but it is not just the determining factor. Often a medical condition appears on several lists in the Blue Book so the SSA has to calculate eligibility for disability benefits after assessing the medical condition. It is also possible to qualify through the medical vocational allowance if the impairment from your medical condition is severe enough that it prevents you from taking part in gainful employment but does not appear in the Blue Book list.
The SSA will evaluate your medical documents to determine how your disability prevents you from performing everyday activities including working. If the SSA decides you cannot maintain gainful employment due to your medical condition, you may be approved for SSDI benefits under a medical vocational allowance.
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