In the initial stages, the Social Security Disability process can seem intimidating. Full of obscure and technical terms, dense paperwork and run by the highly selective Social Security Administration, the process can be nothing short of overwhelming for applicants who simply do not know where to begin. In order to help you get started on your disability, the experienced and knowledge attorneys from Adams Law Group have compiled some important information.
Social Security pays disability benefits under two different programs, the Social Security Disability Insurance program (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income program (SSI).
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
The SSDI program pays monthly benefits for people whose disability prevents them from working. In order to qualify, you must have worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes through your wages. In other words, this is a benefit you paid for through years of working. Certain family members may also be eligible to receive benefits through your record, including spouses and adult children who were disabled before the age of 22.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
The SSI program provided supplemental income to disabled adults and children who have limited income and limited resources. Your eligibility for SSI is not based on your work history or tax payment history. You may receive this benefit even if you never worked and are disabled. It pays less than SSDI.
For most applicants, the disability requirements for benefits are the same under both programs. This means disability is determined by the same process, which includes your physical condition and how it prevents you from working your old job and from finding any new forms of work.
Whether or not you qualify for benefits will ultimately depend on whether or not the Social Security Administration determines that you are totally disabled. Benefits are paid for total disability only. Being unable to work and being disabled are two different things. According to the SSA you will be determined disabled if:
- You cannot do the work you did before
- The SSA determines you cannot adjust to other work, and
- Your disability has lasted, or is expected to last for at least one year or until death
The definition of disability used by the SSA relates entirely to your ability to work. The requirements are held strict and the SSA denies more than 65% of applicants during the initial stage of disability determination. In basic terms, SSA disability means that you have a medically determinable "serious" mental, emotional, psychological, or medical condition, or a combination of conditions. The SSA uses a five-step sequence when evaluating an applicant's disability. These include:
- Do you have a medically determinable serious condition?
- Is the condition expected to last 12 months or longer?
- Does this condition keep you from doing the work you did before?
- Do you have skills to work other jobs?
- Are there any other jobs you can do regardless of skills with your limitations?
Although a simplified version of the qualifying process, applicants must generally answer yes to all these questions, with some exceptions for certain people, including older applicants. Proving your disability to the SSA can be a difficult and frustrating process, but it is not impossible. At Adams Law Group, our attorneys are committed to fighting for the legal rights of disabled residents in the community and are focused on helping them obtain the financial assistance they need.
The Age Factor
If you are truly disabled, you can receive some form of disability benefits at any age. At Adams Law Firm, we have obtained benefits for clients of all ages. Social Security Administration regulations can make the disability determination process easier for older individuals, depending on the situation involved. Our firm wants to encourage all applicants to not let the age factor hold you back. Regardless of your age, our firm is here to fight for your rights.
Contact Us to Learn More
Adams Law Group provides this information in order to help you become better acquainted with the disability claim process. Claims will always vary on a case by case basis, and the circumstances surrounding your personal situation can complicate your understanding of the process. In order to gain a clear picture of how the process relates specifically to your claim, we encourage you to bring your case to the attention of our firm. By walking you through the process and addressing all of your concerns and questions, you can be better informed about Social Security Disability and work toward obtaining the benefits you deserve. Contact Adams Law Group today.