Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federally run benefits program that provides aid to people who are unable to achieve gainful employment due to a permanent disabling condition. SSDI is financed by the Social Security tax. Therefore, any person that qualifies as disabled according to the definition provided by Social Security Administration (SSA), and who has paid Social Security taxes long enough to achieve sufficient work credits, may qualify for SSDI.
Do You Qualify for SSDI? In order to qualify for SSDI, you must have a permanent medical or psychiatric condition that prevents you from working. In other words, your disability must have lasted, or be expected to last, a minimum of twelve months and you must be unable to earn an income greater than $1000 per month (prior to 2010, this standard allowable level of Substantial Gainful Activity was only $980 per month).
In addition, an individual must have earned sufficient work credits in order to qualify for SSDI.
The normal requirement is a total of 40 credits, 20 of which must have been earned in the 10 years prior to the onset of disability. Usually, this means that a person must have a fairly consistent work history and have worked (and paid Social Security taxes) for a combined five of the ten years prior to becoming disabled.
These work requirements can be somewhat less for younger individuals, as parents’ work credits can be applied to applicants under the age of 22. Thus, children may quality for disability benefits.
Should I Have an Attorney? The annual number of applications for SSDI is at an all time high. Due to the limited resources of the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the extreme volume of applications processed, more than 60% of initial stage applications are currently denied. In the reconsideration stage of appeal, the number jumps to well over 80%.
Given those odds, having a qualified Social Security attorney help you to efficiently and correctly handle your application and the potential appeals process can be extremely beneficial.Having representation will help you to know and understand your options in the case of a denial. In addition, an experienced lawyer can organize your case identify necessary medical records and prepare you for the hearing before the judge.
The SSDI application process can be overwhelming, particularly in the fairly common circumstance of a denial at the initial stage. Having the experience of a qualified Social Security representative can prove invaluable in getting you the benefits you deserve.
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