Thousands of Americans suffer from a wide array of crippling disabilities. Thankfully, for those who require assistance, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provide options to get help.
If you think Social Security Disability programs could be for you, you may want to speak with a disability attorney for an assessment or for help applying. However, before you start, here are the five best ways to determine if you may qualify.
#1: You’re not earning the monthly SGA.
SGA, or substantial gainful activity, is one of the main determining factors for those applying for disability. To engage in SGA, a person must earn more than a certain amount every month to be put towards normal living expenses. For non-blind individuals, substantial gainful activity is at least $1,220/month for 2019. For blind individuals, SGA is $2,040/month.
#2: You’re unable to work any of your previous jobs.
Before the Social Security Administration (SSA) awards benefits, they make sure that you are incapable of earning money at any of your previous jobs. To do this, they look at your past relevant work history (PRW), which includes:
- job descriptions,
- the physical demands of your past jobs,
- the physical difficulties you experienced at these jobs, and
- the reasons why your medical condition affects your ability to perform these jobs properly.
The more your PRW can justify your current situation, the more likely you are to receive disability benefits.
#3: You’ve worked recently enough to qualify.
To qualify for most Social Security benefits, you must prove that you have contributed enough money in taxes to the SSA to be considered for their programs. These contributions are called “credits”, of which you can earn up to four per year.
You typically need 40 credits to be eligible for disability insurance, 20 of which obtained in the last 10 years before you became disabled. However, these number differ depending on your age — the younger you are, the less credits are required to qualify for disability insurance.
#4: You experience difficulty with day-to-day activities
When the SSA evaluates your case, they will want to know how your medical condition affects your ability to handle the activities of daily living, or ADLs. ADLs include mobility, personal hygiene, dressing, cooking, cleaning, hobbies, social interactions, or other many personal needs.
If your medical condition prevents you from living a healthy, functioning lifestyle, you may be further eligible for disability benefits.
#5: You are a legal US resident.
Social Security benefits are and most often awarded to citizens of the United States. While some non-citizens that contribute to Social Security taxes may qualify, those who are already citizens face far fewer steps in their application process.
Contacting a Social Security Attorney
If you feel that you may qualify for disability benefits, it is wise to consult with a disability attorney. A disability attorney is an irreplaceable resource when filing out applications, keeping paperwork organized, and aiding you in the appeals process if necessary. To give yourself the best chance at receiving the assistance you deserve, speak with a disability attorney today.