When you are hurt or become ill and can no longer work, you may be entitled to Social Security disability benefits. Social Security Disability Insurance is partially supported by the payroll taxes you have paid over the years, meaning that you are covered by this insurance in certain instances when you become disabled.
You must be under 65 to get Social Security disability benefits, and you must meet the requirements for “disability” set by the Social Security Administration (SSA). To qualify as disabled, you must be unable to work at your previous job, you must be unable to do other jobs due to your condition and your condition must be expected to last for at least a year. Expect to present a considerable amount of evidence to verify that you meet these criteria.
You may also be able to collect partial benefits if you have been injured in such a way that you can only work in a limited capacity, or if you have sustained permanent injuries to your extremities – such as your hands, legs, feet, or face.
Disability: Blindness or Vision Loss
The Social Security Administration has special rules which apply to individuals with vision problems. In order to qualify for benefits you must fit into one of two categories.
If it can be demonstrated that your “good eye” has vision which cannot be corrected better than 20/200, you will meet the qualifying criteria. This means that if you are 100% blind in one eye and have decent vision in the other, you will not qualify for this category.
However, even if you don’t meet the above criteria, you may still qualify if your vision problem, with or without any other medical conditions included, prevents you from working.
As with every Social Security claim, the statements, diagnoses, and opinions of your physicians are the most important factor that will influence the outcome of your case. If your doctor says that you have medical problems but will not state that they prevent you from working, you may have a tough road. However, if your doctor will provide a statement indicating that you are extremely limited in your ability to work and would not be able to hold down a full time job, you will be in a much better position for approval.
Regardless, of what type of evidence you have, it is always best to consult with a Social Security attorney who can advise you and help prepare your case to give you the best chance of success.
Benefits for Children Under 18 Years of Age
The Social Security Law provides that benefits may be payable to an individual under the age of 18 in certain circumstances.
Part of the relevant test involves demonstrating that the child has a specific impairment which meets a severity test and is expected to result in death or last at least 12 months.
For a minor, it must be demonstrated that the impairment is “severe” and not simply a minimal abnormality that does not produce extensive limitations.
If the Administrative Law Judge finds that the impairment is in fact severe, the final step involves a determination as to whether that impairment meets or equals a “listing”. A listing is a documented medical condition that has been determined by the Administration to automatically qualify ones disability as sufficient.
Cancer and Social Security Benefits
Many forms of cancer are extremely disabling and can form the basis for a successful Social Security Disability claim. The simple fact that someone has been diagnosed with cancer does not automatically entitle him or her to Social Security Disability benefits.
There are two ways for claims based on a diagnosis of cancer to be approved. First, if your diagnosis meets one of adult listing found in Section 13.00 of the “Blue Book” you will be deemed disabled under Social Security’s rules and qualify for benefits.
If your condition does not specifically meet one of the “Blue Book” criteria, you may still be approved if you can demonstrate that your disability is severe enough to prevent you from performing past relevant work and you have any job skills that do not translate into other occupations that you can physically perform. You must also demonstrate that you have a disability that has lasted or is expected to last one year or longer.
How Much Do Social Security Disability Benefits Pay?
The amount that the government will pay you for your disability depends on a variety of factors, including how much you have paid into Social Security, how much you were earning at your previous job and how long ago you stopped working. A complex formula is used to determine benefits, but fortunately the SSA provides a simple to use calculator to help you get an idea of what you will be paid should your application be successful.
Applying for benefits is always worthwhile if you can qualify, as the payments can range up to several thousand dollars a month. When you are unable to work, this money can mean the difference between going on with your life and living in destitution.
Be Prepared Wait And To Appeal
It can take the SSA a month to two months to give you an initial decision on your application. You will receive a notice in the mail containing the decision.
The fact that the SSA denies the majority of initial Social Security disability applications is well known, so you should prepare yourself for denial and the need to appeal. If you are denied and you choose to appeal, you have a challenging road ahead of you. It can take a year or more for the SSA to decide on an appeal, and you may have to present your case in front of a judge before you get a final decision.
Contact an Attorney for Assistance
If you are interested in applying for Social Security disability benefits, or if you have already applied and are preparing to appeal, please contact Paul Giannetti for assistance. I have helped many clients to successfully receive benefits. Contact me now for a free consultation. Let me use my experience to get you the benefits you need for your disability.