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5 Steps to Make your Disability Case

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="300"]Seal of the United States Social Security Admi... Image via Wikipedia[/caption]

The most common question asked on our Social Security Disability benefits forum is, “How do I know if I have a case?” or “Do I qualify for benefits?” This is basically the same question. Everyone wants to know, before they go through the hassle of filing a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claim and fighting with the Social Security Administration whether or not they are wasting their time.

There are five very important things to review prior to filing a Social Security Disability Insurance claim.

1.    Identify your current work status.


We get questions everyday about whether or not you can work and draw SSDI or whether or not you can work until you win your Social Security Disability Insurance claim. I am not sure why this is so confusing, but if you can work (i.e. perform substantial gainful activity) or if you are working at a substantial level you will be AUTOMATICALLY denied. The SSA defines disabled as the inability to perform substantial gainful activity. If you are working, you are not disabled (according to the Social Security Administration).

2.    Be realistic about how long your disabling condition will last.


If you have just had a major car accident or difficult surgery you may be VERY sick and disabled. Does this mean you will get Social Security Disability Insurance? No, SSDI is only for claimants who have a long-term health condition. No short-term SSDI benefits are awarded, regardless if you are very disabled right now. If your condition will not last for at least 12 continuous months you will be denied benefits.

3.    Evaluate your work history.


This is another point that seems VERY confusing to claimants. Social Security Disability Insurance is only awarded to claimants who have worked, paid employment taxes and earned sufficient work credits.

What if you have worked but have NOT paid taxes? What if you have not worked? What if you have worked as a homemaker? What if you are 2 credits short? None of this will matter; if you have not worked enough, paid employment taxes and earned enough work credits on your own work record you will not get Social Security Disability Insurance.

The Social Security Administration sends a report to workers each year called the Statement of Earnings. You can either review this report to see your estimated payment or you can use their estimator calculator on their website. The Social Security Administration no longer provides additional copies of statements to workers.

4.    Is your condition on the SSA Listing of Impairments?


If you meet all the above conditions and your condition is listed on the SSA Listing of Impairments (also known as the Blue book) and you are able to prove that your condition “meets or exceeds” the listing, you have a good case.

5.    Do you have enough medical evidence to prove you cannot work?


The Social Security Administration has another method called the medical vocational allowance that they use to determine a claimant’s disability status and whether or not the claimant has sufficient residual capacity to work. If your condition does not meet or exceed a listing in their Blue Book it may be possible, with the right type of medical evidence, to prove that you cannot work.

Contact a disability lawyer if you have additional questions about your Social Security Disability Insurance case and what medical evidence you need to win Social Security Disability Insurance through a medical vocational allowance.
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