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How to be sure you can get SSDI disability benefits BEFORE you quit your job?

Hearing rumors that it could take years to get your disability benefits from the Social Security Administration, assuming you are going to receive them at all, many workers have asked, “How can I be sure I will get SSDI BEFORE I quit my job?” This is a great question, and although there is no guarantee that you can, there are some things you should do to improve your chances.

Although many workers may experience a severe health condition which occurs suddenly and without warning, it is also likely that many workers have a debilitating disease or condition which they have had for many years which continues to reduce their health over time. They may realize that there will come a day when they simply are unable to perform the functional responsibilities of their job.

If this describes you, it is important to understand what you should do prior to quitting your job, if you have a choice. There a few simple steps you can take to improve your chances of being approved for SSDI the first time you apply.

  1. Make sure you have enough work credits for SSDI benefits. To qualify for SSDI must be working and paying employment taxes and contributing into the SSA system. Failure to pay taxes will make you ineligible for benefits. Check your insured status BEFORE quitting work. If for instance, you only need one or two more credits it may be possible to work a few more months to earn the credits before stopping your job.

  2. Go to a doctor. Without great medical records clearly stating you cannot work and why or a diagnosis, it will be tough to win SSDI benefits. The SSA uses your medical records almost exclusively to determine if you are disabled.

  3. Understand the disability process. Review the requirements of SSDI. Make sure you understand the difference between SSDI and SSI benefits and how you will qualify for each one. SSDI generally pays more money than SSI so be sure to work and earn work credits so you can get SSDI benefits.

  4. Make sure you understand how the SSA makes their disability decision. There are very specific requirements you must meet; this includes having a condition which is expected to last for at least 12 continuous months and does not allow you to work. What condition does the SSA consider automatically disabling? The SSA maintains a list called the SSA Listing of Impairments. This list also has specific symptoms the SSA will expect you to experience. Review this listing, and if necessary, talk to a disability lawyer for more information about how you can prove your condition meets a listing.

  5. Save money now. If you know it could take months for approval, begin to save money now.

It may sound complicated and the process can be, but generally with the right amount of research and legal help, a claimant can greatly improve their chances of winning SSDI benefits the first time they apply and avoid having to appeal a denial, which can make the disability process drag on for months or years.