Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a program that pays benefits to disabled people who cannot work due to medical condition. People are often unsure as to whether they qualify for SSDI. It’s no wonder why: the application process and requirements can be confusing.
There are three essential criteria you must meet to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance. If you meet each of the criteria on the following checklist, you should be on the road to receiving benefits.
Federal Definition of Disabled
Under this definition, you must have a severe, long-term disability or a terminal condition that prevents you from performing your job or a similar job for at least one year. The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides a comprehensive list of medical conditions so severe that it automatically categorize you as disabled. Some of these include: amputation of a limb, loss of speech,and Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS). Note that you are not entitled to benefits for partial or short-term disabilities.
Medical Proof of Disability
To be eligible to receive benefits, you must have extensive medical documentation from acceptable medical sources demonstrating the nature and extent of your disability. This may include doctor’s examination records, biopsy results, blood work panels, imaging reports (CT or MRI scans, X-rays, etc.), and mental health records. The documents should be include fairly recent reports: six months old or less at the time of application. Older documents are also relevant, as they help establish the severity and length of the disability. The more official medical documents you have proving your condition, the better.
Sufficient Work Credits to be Eligible for SSDI
Only persons with “insured” status may receive disability benefits. You have reached insured status if you’ve worked a certain number of years and contributed a specific amount to the social security system prior to filing for disability benefits. The SSA determines this amount by converting your earnings into work credits. The older you are, the more work credits you need to be insured. To find out the number of credits you need to qualify, review this page on the SSA site.
In applying for Social Security Disability Insurance, 70% of all initial applications are denied, although many of these are later accepted. An attorney specializing in social security disability benefits can help you collect the medical evidence you need, ensure that you have sufficient work credits and increase your chances of having your application accepted.