FAQs (Social Security Disability)
Nationwide Social Security Disability Law Firm
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between Social Security Disability benefits and Supplemental Security Income?
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are taken from the pool of funds that you contributed to through your earnings (taxes) while employed. To qualify for these benefits, you must have paid the Social Security tax from your earnings for 20 quarters over the last 10 years. For those who do not qualify for SSDI because they did not work enough and pay into the Social Security tax program, they may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI is designed to help aged, blind, and disabled individuals with little or no income and provides cash to meet basic needs, such as food, shelter, and clothing. However, there are qualifiers that have to be met in order to qualify for SSI. If you are not sure which case you qualify for and would like help, give us a call at 1-800-CANT-WORK.
How does one qualify for disability benefits?
For Supplemental Security Income, there are no earnings requirements but there are asset and income qualifications one must meet to have their claim considered. There is an earnings requirement, however, for Social Security Disability Insurance. To qualify to receive Social Security Disability benefits, two different earnings tests exist for which you must meet the requirements. The first is a “recent work” test that is based on your age at the time you became disabled. The second is a “duration of work” test to determine if you have worked long enough while paying Social Security taxes through your earnings.
What does “disability” mean according to the Social Security Administration?
Under the Social Security Act, disability means “inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”
What types of medical conditions qualify for disability benefits?
Physical and mental impairments will qualify one to receive disability benefits. The Social Security Administration manual lists possible diseases, impairments, and injuries in the following categories:
- Musculoskeletal system, such as back injuries.
- Special senses and speech, such as blindness, visual problems, and hearing loss.
- Respiratory system, such as emphysema or asthma.
- Cardiovascular system, such as heart problems.
- Digestive system, including chronic liver disease and hepatitis.
- Genitourinary impairments, such as kidney diseases and osteoporosis.
- Hematological disorders, blood diseases such as anemia, sickle cells disease.
- Skin disorders, such as skin lesions.
- Endocrine disorders, such as problems affecting the thyroid, adrenal glands, or pituitary gland.
- Impairments that affect multiple body systems, such as Downs syndrome.
- Neurological disorders, such as epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.
- Mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety, retardation.
- Malignant neoplastic diseases, such as HIV infection and lymphoma.
- Immune system disorders, such as autoimmune disorders and immune deficiency disorders.
How does the Social Security Administration (SSA) decide on a claim?
They will review your application to see if it meets the requirements, including your current work activities and how long you have worked. If you meet these requirements, your claim will be sent to a determination office in the state where you live. This state agency will look at the medical evidence provided by those physicians, clinics, or hospitals where you received treatment. Your doctors will be asked about your medical condition, when it began, how it limits your activities, what medical tests show about it, and what type of treatment you have received. Your doctors will be asked about your ability to perform work-related activities. Once all of this information is gathered, the SSA will make its own decision about whether or not you are disabled and should receive benefits.
What if I am denied?
You can appeal the decision. It is highly recommended that you retain the services of an attorney to represent you in the appeal process. A Social Security Disability attorney at the Law Offices of Eric A. Shore can submit, manage, and represent you in this procedure. Contact us online or call 1-800-CANT-WORK.