Qualifying and planning for your disability benefits

Qualifying and planning for your disability benefits

Sep 11

When it comes to planning for disability benefits, it is important to first consider whether or not you qualify for benefits according to the Social Security Administration. The SSA makes this determination based on their internal guidelines, which, based on their site, include:

  • The inability to perform work that you once were able to perform
  • You cannot perform other work because of your current medical condition or conditions AND
  • Your disability will last at least a year or may result in death

The SSA has a very strict definition and the rules assume that people who are in families that work will have other financial support during shorter term disabilities like worker’s compensation or savings or health insurance coverage.

In addition, you must have worked for a certain period of time to qualify for Social Security benefits. You earn “credits” based on how long you worked or how long you were self-employed, and you can earn up to four of these credits per year. In addition, the number of credits you earn determines if you qualify for benefits, which is also matched up with the age you are when you become disabled.

An attorney can help explain the SSA rules and regulations and can help you determine if you qualify for benefits. In addition, the attorney can help you fill out the application for benefits and make sure it matches what the SSA is looking for. Many people make mistakes on their application or fail to fill it out completely, which typically causes an immediate rejection by the SSA. In order to avoid this, make sure your attorney helps you with the paperwork and reviews it for you before you submit it to the Social Security Administration.

You also will want to take a look at the SSA’s list of “disabling conditions” which outlines the types of disabilities that they consider for total disability. They have put in place a few initiatives including Compassionate Allowances and Quick Disability Determinations to help speed up the application process for people who really need the benefits and need them quickly. A review of the SSA website is recommended so that you know what they are looking for and how the determination is made. If you have a disabling condition, if you cannot do the work you once did before, and if you are unable to perform other work, you may find your application will be accepted and you will be able to receive disability benefits, as well as possible supplemental income and/or Medicaid. Consult with your attorney and read the SSA website to learn more about your options and make sure that your application is completely filled out! By eliminating errors like this, you can make sure that your application is reviewed and is not thrown out before it can be considered.