If a person has a disability, are they automatically eligible for Social Security disability benefits? What if they aren’t working? What if they haven’t been working very long? What if their condition isn’t severe? How severe does a person’s disability have to be for them to qualify? Today we’re going to tackle these questions so that you can learn how to qualify for disability benefits. As you might have guessed, simply having a disability does not automatically qualify someone to receive benefits. You have to consider the SSA’s definition of disability, the person’s “work credits,” the Blue Book, and the required evidence and documentation. Confused? Don’t worry! We’ll explain everything below. Read on if you need to know how to qualify for disability benefits.
How to Qualify for Disability
1. Check that your disability meets the SSA’s definition of disability.
This is the SSA’s current definition, according to their website:
“Disability” under Social Security is based on your inability to work. We consider you disabled under Social Security rules if:
- You cannot do work that you did before.
- We decide that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and
- Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.
So before you apply for benefits, check that you meet all of the requirements above.
Also, look to see if your disability is included in the SSA’s listing of impairments (also known as the Blue Book). If your disability is included, read through the outlined conditions to ensure that you meet them. If it’s not, know that the SSA will have to decide if the severity of your disability qualifies. We can’t say exactly how severe your disability must be, as the SSA judges this on a case-by-case basis. However, it must be severe enough to meet the three conditions in the definition of disability (listed above).
2. Your work history must meet the SSA’s demands.
The SSA has additional requirements beyond that basic definition of disability, including work history. If you haven’t worked recently and you didn’t work before you became disabled, it is unlikely that you will qualify for benefits.
The SSA uses a system based on work credits to decide who is eligible and who is not. Work credits are determined by yearly income and in 2014, you receive one credit for every $1,200 of income. You can only earn 4 credits each year, and the number of required credits is based on your age. If you want to know how to qualify for disability benefits, click here to find out how many credits you will need.
3. You must complete the required documentation.
After learning how to qualify for disability, if you feel that you are indeed eligible, you will need to prove your case by (1) completing some forms for the SSA, (2) providing evidence of your disability and work history, and (3) presenting some personal documents (proof of birth, proof of citizenship, W-2 forms, etc). To learn more about these forms and documents, click here.
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If you’re still wondering how to qualify for disability benefits or you would like more details about the process, contact BTS Group, Inc. Our disability representatives can help you figure out if you qualify and we would be happy to help you apply, build your case, monitor your case status, and ultimately win the disability benefits you deserve. When you’re ready to get started, click here to contact us and receive a free case evaluation.