Eligibility for Social Security Disability Benefits

Everyday, many disabled Americans who need assistance may consider applying for social security disability insurance benefits. Because the process is lengthy and anything but simple, there are a number of requirements that potential applicants need to be aware of.

Am I Qualified?

This is the question central to the entire application process. If you have a physical or mental condition that keeps you from working and engaging in productive activity, chances are you qualify for social security disability insurance. However, the guidelines are much more specific than that. Below are some examples of requirements:

  • Your physical or mental condition must be expected to last at least twelve months or result in death
  • You must be under the age of 65
  • You need to have gained 20 social security credits in the last 10 years before the disability arose

disabled benefits

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In case you are unaware, social security credits are earned by working in a job where you pay social security taxes. The number of credits you earn are based on income and wages, but the maximum amount of earnable credits in one year is four.

What Kind of Benefits Will I Get?

Social security disability benefits vary greatly from one person to another based on individual characteristics, especially those that are medical. Although it may seem obvious, you will need to have conclusive proof of a disability to be considered for benefits. Such proof comes in the form of evidence reports, symptom reports, laboratory results, and and other relevant documentation.

The final funding decision depends on a thorough evaluation of the medical reports. Some specific factors are extremely important, such as if you perform a substantial activity and if your imapirment is severe or not. The work requirements are not as stringent if you can legitimately show you were disabled before age 22.

What Does the Medical Evaluation Involve?

Although it seems repetitive, it is important to specify again that the biggest factor in being eligible to receive social security disability insurance is having solid medical proof demonstrating your inability to work. Because the requirements are so specific, the evidence you provide may not be enough for a decision to be made. In that case, you may be expected to visit a third-party physician or medical professional for further examination and medical documentation. In other cases, your physical condition may not meet the requirements of a listing and something called a residual functional capacity will need to be calculated.

What is Residual Functional Capacity?

Residual functional capacity, or RFC, is divided into five levels of work: sedentary, light, medium, heavy and very heavy. The RFC is then compared to the previous work you performed to determine the proper course of action.

To get a better idea of this process, imagine your RFC is calculated as medium. That calculation is compared to the previous work you performed, which also had a medium rating. In other words, the two are equal. Therefore, your claim will be denied because it is assumed you are capable of the previous work performed.

On the other hand, imagine your RFC is less than your former work performed. This time, your RFC is medium, but your previous work performed is rated as very heavy. In that case, your RFC will be considered in addition to your education, training, skill set, and other related characteristics.

Where Can I Find Help With the Application Process?

When applying for social security disability insurance, you have two options. You can apply for the claim on your own, or you can seek help from a reputable disability representative. While you may insist on proceeding by yourself, there are numerous companies such as law firms that specialize in the application process and aim to make everything easier for you.

In fact, 90 percent of social security disability benefit applicants seek help from a representative to claim benefits. A big reason why is because representatives are experienced, your chance of success is increased. Furthermore, if you are concerned about costs, the fee a social security disability benefits representative can claim is set by law. In that respect, you should have a good estimate of the costs before you proceed.

After All This Information, Now What?

Now that you’ve received a brief overview on the application process, hopefully you can make an informed decision on whether or not you want to go through with it. Ultimately, an initial step will be to choose if you want help from a representative or not. At the very least, you might consider picking up the phone and just talking to a specialist. Social security disability insurance benefits help a number of people and you do not want to be left out if you truly are in need of them.

This article provided by SSDCS, a provider of Social Security disability income claims and benefits services.

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