Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Do I qualify for Social Security Disability benefits?

Many hard working individuals who become injured or ill wonder if they will be able to keep working as a result of this injury or illness.  If you are in this position, you may be considering whether you should apply for Social Security Disability benefits.  Before you begin the application process, you should first consider whether your condition would qualify you for Social Security Disability benefits.     

Many people believe that simply being unable to work at their current job means that they are disabled per Social Security's rules and regulations.  This is, in fact, not true.  Indeed, being unable to work at your current job and being found "disabled" by the Social Security Administration are two very different things.  At the same time, you do not have to be completely bedridden to be found disabled.  The basic rule is that your condition must either meet a medical listing (as defined by Social Security's rules) or you must demonstrate that based on your age, education, and work experience, your condition would prevent you from working at a full time job -- 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.

Proving that you are unable to work gets easier as you get older.   If a Social Security claimant is over age 45 the process for obtaining disability benefits becomes easier.  At age 50, more people with a significant medical condition will qualify for disability benefits; most people with a significant medical condition will qualify at age 55; and even more people with a significant medical condition will qualify at age 60.  However, even younger claimants (persons under 45) can still qualify for benefits if they have a disability which prevents them from being able to sustain a job full-time (or 8 hours a day, 5 days a week).

If you are truly unable to work, you should apply for Social Security Disability benefits.  There are several stages to the application process and you can win benefits at any of those stages.  Many people are not successful at the initial stages of their claim - either at the initial claim or at the request for reconsideration.  In fact, most people will end up at a  hearing during which they will appear before an Administrative Law Judge to make their case for Social Security Disability benefits.  At this point, many claimants will be granted benefits but if you are not, there are several more stages of appeal.

For help with a Social Security claim at any stage, you should consult with a qualified and experienced Social Security Disability attorney.  Consulting with a Social Security Disability attorney early on in the process can often help you make a stronger case for benefits in the future.

This is NOT legal advice.  This blog provides general information about Social Security Disability cases.  To discuss your particular circumstances and claim, please contact a lawyer in your area.

No comments:

Post a Comment