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Can I Get Social Security Disability if I Used to Work as a Writer?

Disability Benefits for Writers

There are a variety of writers in the national workforce. Some write screenplays. Others write novels. Some writers are employed to create content for corporations and professional websites. Other writers create copy for media advertisements. These individuals are responsible for putting the pen to the paper and creating art from words. Regardless of the type of writing that a writer specializes in, these professionals must possess exceptional critical thinking skills, creative talent and the ability to use word processing applications and other desktop software.

Being a writer isn't normally considered a high-risk job, but there are instances in which a writer's safety may be in danger. Some writers must go out in the field, where research can put them in unpredictable situations. Others are high-content writers, putting them at risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. Whether a writer suffers a job-related injury or a disability resulting from another injury or illness, the outcome is always the same – the financial burdens suffered by these individuals must be addressed. That's where Social Security Disability benefits can help.

Working with a Disability as a Writer

When a writer suffers an injury or illness that prevents him or her from performing their job, the financial well-being of this creative professional can be put at risk. For example, if a writer suffers an injury that results in trauma to the brain or a reduction in creativity or critical thinking, the writer will no longer be able to perform his or her professional duties. Many would assume that any disability, whether physical or mental, would qualify a writer for Social Security Disability benefits. This is not necessarily the case.

If the Social Security Administration determines that a writer can perform other types of work activity, the individual's application for Social Security Disability benefits may be denied. Let's say, for example, that a writer is suffering from a severe back condition such as degenerative disc disease. The SSA may not understand how such an injury would prevent a writer from performing his or her duties. The adjudicator reviewing the file might not take into account the fact that sitting at a keyboard for long periods of time is impossible due to this back injury. As a result, the writer's Social Security Disability claim may be denied.

Whether or not a writer will be approved for Social Security Disability benefits will depend on a number of factors. The severity of the disability itself is not enough to determine whether or not the individual qualifies for benefits from the Social Security Administration. This is why it is crucial that the adjudicator reviewing the applicant's file understands the full extent of the claimant's disability and how that disability prevents the writer from performing any form of substantial gainful work activity.

Applying for Social Security Disability as a Writer

When a disabled writer applies for Social Security Disability benefits, that individual must prove to the Social Security Administration that he or she cannot perform any other type of work available in the national economy. When reviewing whether or not an individual is able to work, the adjudicator reviewing the disability claim will look at the writer's skills, education, work history and age. If the adjudicator determines that the writer could be easily be retrained to perform another type of work activity, the writer's Social Security Disability benefits will be denied by the Social Security Administration.

If you want to increase your chances of winning your disability case you may want to consider retaining the services of a qualified disability advocate or attorney. These professionals can help you prepare your disability claim and present it in the best light possible to the Social Security Administration. If, for some reason, your application is denied during the initial claim stage, your attorney or advocate can represent you during the hearing stage of the disability appeal process, increasing your chances of being awarded the Social Security Disability benefits you may be rightfully entitled to.

If your disability advocate or attorney has to prove your case before an administrative law judge, he or she will work to gather medical evidence proving the severity of your disability. The professional you hire may also request the testimony of expert witnesses, such as vocational experts, to prove that you are indeed unable to perform any other work in the national economy. For example, if you are suffering a back injury and the adjudicator reviewing your file did not understand how a back injury could prevent you from writing, the medical experts and vocational witnesses could discuss how the pain medications you are on would significantly interrupt the writing process. Statistics show that hiring a Social Security Disability attorney will increase your chances of being awarded the benefits you are entitled to, so it is definitely in your best interest to look into hiring one of these professionals.