A medical condition has developed that prevents you from working and thus, generating an income to take care of basic daily living expenses. The symptoms of the medical condition have gotten worse over time. How do you address living with what appears to be a disability? The answer is by applying for disability benefits. Under a program managed by the Social Security Administration (SSA), you might qualify for financial assistance to make up for the loss of income. Should you apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?
The answer depends on meeting three important criteria.
Will I Be Out of Work for 12 Months?
To determine whether you are eligible for disability benefits, you must meet three criteria in a specific order. The first criterion to meet involves leaving the workplace for a certain amount of time. The SSA requires SSDI applicants to be out of the workforce for 12 consecutive months to become eligible for financial assistance.
You can waive the 12 consecutive months requirement if your healthcare provider has diagnosed a terminal illness in which death appears to be imminent. The key is to miss 12 consecutive months of work, not a cumulative total of 12 months.
Does My Disabling Condition Meet a Blue Book Listing?
The SSA publishes a medical guide called the Blue Book, which the agency updates every year. Step two in the process to establish SSDI eligibility requires you to demonstrate the medical condition that you live with matches one of the disabling medical conditions listed in the Blue Book. Some of the medical conditions listed in the Blue Book include cancer, liver disease, and spinal cord damage.
Not only must you match a medical condition listing in the Blue Book, but you also have to meet the severity of symptom standards listed in the medical guide as well. To meet the severity of symptom standards listed in the Blue Book, you have to submit persuasive medical evidence with your disability benefits application. Submitting the results of diagnostic tests, as well as a description of your treatment program, represent two common types of medical evidence that help you apply for SSDI.
Do I Have Enough Work Credits?
The SSA requires applicants to accumulate enough work credits for SSDI eligibility. How many work credits you need to accumulate depends on your age, but the general rule is if you have worked at least five out of the past 10 years, you should meet the third criterion for receiving SSDI.
Establishing that you have accumulated enough work credits requires you to submit documents that prove you have worked in a job for a certain period. The SSA bases the calculation of work credits on a formula that awards one work credit for every certain amount of wages earned by an applicant.
Get Help Applying for Disability Benefits
If you suffer from a disability that has prevented you from generating an income, filing a Social Security disability benefits claim can help you pay for daily living expenses. With the SSA denying a majority of SSDI claims, you should consider hiring a disability attorney to help you submit the most convincing application for financial assistance. A Social Security disability benefits lawyer gathers the medical evidence you need, as well as ensures that you file your claim in a timely manner.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation today with an attorney who can help you apply for SSDI.