Do You Meet Social Security Disability Requirements? Understanding of Disability Benefits

Our Social Security Disability Lawyer Can Assist with Your Claim

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a financial assistance program overseen by the Social Security Administration (SSA) with the help of state agencies. SSDI provides benefits to workers who have paid into Social Security and are unable to work due to physical or mental disability. Are you facing a serious disability that prevents you from obtaining or maintaining employment? Has your disability lasted for longer than 12 months and expected to continue? If so, you may qualify for SSDI benefits!

If you are wondering if you qualify for SSDI benefits, call our disability benefits firm today to request a free case evaluation.

Since our beginning, Jackson Law Firm, PLLC has been assisting individuals who have had their ability to work interrupted by a physical or mental impairment garner their deserved SSDI benefits. Our supportive Chattanooga Social Security Disability lawyer has helped thousands of clients receive their entitled financial relief.

Learn How To Pass Your Disability Determination Services (DDS) Review. Call Us Today!

Even if you believe that your condition constitutes a disability you can still be turned down if it doesn't meet federal standards

Each year, more than 2.5 million individuals apply for SSDI benefits. To assist with the daunting process of reviewing all these claims, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has enlisted agencies in each state to initially examine the applications. Even if you have a medical condition that limits your ability to work or leaves you unable to work, your application can be denied if your condition does not meet the legal criteria for disability benefits as required by the Social Security Administration. In some cases, an applicant may actually be eligible for disability benefits but is denied because the application does not accurately specify how the impairment or medical condition limits their ability to work. Additionally, the degree to which an applicant's impairments are correctly presented could determine whether or not a person is considered disabled for the purpose of receiving disability benefits according to the Social Security Administration's standards, even if the applicant may be considered disabled by other medical standards.

SSDI Eligibility Is Based on Your Medical Condition and Your Work History

SSDI claims are handled by the state Disability Determination Services (DDS). When a DDS examiner reviews your SSDI application, they will utilize a five-step process to analyze your claim. Your medical condition alone may not be enough to qualify for disability benefits. If at any point your application fails to meet one of the legal requirements, your claim may be denied. The requirements for SSDI benefits are, in order:

  • You must be engaged in substantial gainful activity before your disability occurred. Most forms of employment and even certain types of volunteer work will meet this requirement.
  • Your impairments must be severe. They may be physical or mental, but they must amount to a complete, not partial, disability.
  • Your disability must be included on the federal Listing of Impairments. If your disability is not on the official list, the DDS examiner must deem it to be equivalent to one that is included.
  • You must be unable to do any type of work you have done in the past.
  • You must be unable to do any other type of job. If you are over 50, the SSA has different requirements and may not apply this to your application depending on circumstances.

How Are Benefits Determined?

Medical Eligibilty For Monthly Payments Is Determined According to the “Disability Evaluation Under Social Security” Which Is Also Known as the Blue Book

The Blue Book lists the medical conditions that qualify an individual for SSDI benefits. Among the medical conditions that are included in the Blue Book are: heart disease; cancer; vision and hearing loss; immune system conditions such as HIV/AIDS, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis; liver and kidney diseases; and neurological conditions including Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson's Disease. Mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression are also included in the Blue Book as well as conditions related to the autism spectrum.

Applicants with medical conditions that are not listed in the Blue Book may still be able to qualify for benefits if the impairments are severe enough to cause them to be unable to work full time. Some of the conditions not listed in Social Security Administration's official listing that could qualify for SSDI include but are not limited to: celiac disease; carpal tunnel syndrome; degenerative disc disease; and fibromyalgia. Whether a medical condition is listed in the administrative standards or not, medical documentation from a doctor treating the patient would be necessary for proving and supporting an applicant's case for benefits.

Can Anyone With A Disability Qualify For Disability Benefits?

Factors such as an applicant's age can influence the Social Security Administration's decision on whether to award benefits. Older applicants may have an easier time qualifying for benefits but this can vary. Applicants under 50 years of age tend to have a more difficult time receiving benefits. To a lesser degree applicants 50-54 years of age may also find it more difficult to be approved for benefits. In these cases when an applicant does not directly meet SSA standards a set of tables, sometimes known as "grids", are applied to determine whether such individuals can be considered disabled and eligible for SSDI benefits. These tables are usually not favorable to these applicants. The assistance of a knowledgeable lawyer can be essential to having an application or appeal be accepted for monthly payments under the Administration's standards.

Are Monthly Disability Payments Based on An Applicant's Need or Condition?

Calculations for individuals who are considered to meet the SSDI requirements are based on the amount that they have paid into Social Security throughout their work history, and not according to the degree of their medical condition or disability. The amounts paid into the federal Social Security fund are known as work credits. Work credits are factored in with the applicant's age in making a determination on the monthly payment that can be received.

Do Women Receive the Same Benefits As Men?

SSDI was created in 1956 when the Social Security Administration added disability benefits to Social Security creating Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI). At that time, many more men were in the workforce and were considerably more likely to receive benefits than were women. Over time, with women entering the workforce in greater numbers the number of women receiving SSDI has increased and is nearly even to that of men. Still, since SSDI benefits are calculated according to how much has been paid into Social Security over the course of a worker's life, men tend to receive a higher average benefit given that working women have proportionately spent less time in the workforce earning fewer work credits throughout their adult lives. Other factors such as income disparity can also contribute to the gap in benefits received by men and women.

What Happens If My Claim Is Denied?

The Majority of Claims Are Initially Denied

Meeting the eligibility requirements for SSDI benefits may seem like a challenging task. Each year, more than 75% of initial applications are denied. Most of these benefit claims were rejected based on simple error or inadequate information.

I do have the medical documentation for my disability, is that sufficient for submitting an application?

At Jackson Law Firm, PLLC, we have devoted our practice nearly exclusively to assisting individuals to garner the SSDI benefits they deserve. Our Chattanooga SSDI lawyer understands disability law and possesses a keen awareness into what is needed to compile a successful application, including what "red flags" a DDS examiner is looking for to deny your request for benefits.

If You Don't Qualify For SSDI, SSI May Be Available

If you don't qualify for SSDI because you don't have the work history you may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI is an assistance program offered by the SSA for people who have a condition that leaves them unable to work but to not have the work credits to quailify for SSDI. SSI is different from SSDI also because it is means tested, based on your income and assets. If you are not sure whether you would qualify for SSDI or SSI, feel free to contact us for a free evaluation.

When Filing an Initial Application or an Appeal Don't Go It Alone For Your Social Security Disability Claim

Contact Jackson Law Firm, PLLC Today

Having experienced legal counsel assist you complete, file, and defend your SSDI claim can greatly improve your odds of a favorable review. If you are considering beginning the application process or need a lawyer to appeal a claim denial, Jackson Law Firm, PLLC can help! Our dedicated Chattanooga SSDI lawyer can provide the skilled and supportive legal counsel you need and deserve throughout every stage of the SSDI process. Contact our attorneys to get started.