Frequently Asked Questions about Social Security Disability
Most people know that the Social Security Act provides retirement benefits, but many are not aware that the Act also provides for disability benefits for those with either physical or mental impairments that prevent them from gainful employment. Disability has a very specific definition under the Act, the Regulations and the Rules.
Who Qualifies for Social Security Disability Benefits?
First, it is important to distinguish between two types of disability. Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDIB) is for people who have insured status. To have insured status you must have paid into the system and have obtained enough quarters of coverage. The amount of money that must be paid into the system to obtain a quarter of coverage increases each year. If you have worked for at least 5 out of the last 10 years before you became disabled you are likely eligible for SSDIB. SSI is a needs-based program not paid for by Social Security taxes. To qualify for these benefits you must be “disabled” and meet the income and resources requirements of the law.
How Does the SSA Define Disability?
A claimant will be found disabled by the SSA if the claimant has a medically determinable that is, pursuant to the Regulations considered to be a severe impairment (prevents some basic work related activity) and the impairment or combination of impairments has prevented or is expected to prevent the claimant from performing any substantial gainful work activity for a period of at least 12 months or result in death.
The terms “severe impairment,” “medically determinable,” and “substantial gainful work activity,” all have definitions under SSA regulations.
The Application for SSD Requires Extensive Medical Records and a 15-Year Work History
Is All That Really Necessary?
Yes. The SSA will make an independent evaluation of your medical condition, so all your records are required. Your work history is necessary to determine what jobs you may be able to perform, even if you cannot do the same job you did in the past. Any failure to provide all required documents will result in a denial of the claim by the SSA.
Contact a Social Security Disability Lawyer in Phoenix
The SSA disability process is rigorous, requires extensive paperwork and more often than not results in a denial. Find out the best way to present your case for a positive result. Call Schiffman Law Office, P.C. at (602) 235-0539.