Social Security Disability Program: The Basics
No one wants to be so sick that they can’t work, but it can happen to anyone. In the event of a permanent disabling medical condition, one of your most critical tasks is to replace the income you can no longer earn by working. The Social Security Disability program (SSDI) is a federal program designed to provide income for individuals whose medical condition prevents them from holding a job.
The key things to remember about this program are:
- You must have enough recent work history, and
- You must have a qualifying medical condition that keeps you from working over the long term.
If both of these things are true, you should apply for SSDI as soon as possible.
The SSDI program is reserved for individuals who have worked in jobs that are covered by Social Security—you probably had a deduction called “FICA” on your pay stub. The rules for determining exactly how much you need to have worked are complicated, but if you worked full-time for five out of the last ten years in a job for a non-government employer who gave you a W-2, you’re probably eligible.
Qualifying Medical Condition
To be eligible for Social Security Disability payments, you also must have a qualifying disability. This is a severe medical impairment that will last for at least twelve months or result in death. There is a list of qualifying conditions, but they will also consider other severe conditions provided that you:
- Cannot do your most recent kind of work, and
- Cannot adjust to a new kind of work,
- Because of your medical condition.
Your application must include enough evidence that you have a qualifying disability.
Applying For SSDI
Unfortunately, applying for benefits under this program can be very difficult. Over half of first-time applicants are denied, and the average appeal after a denial takes over a year. Many people who are eligible give up entirely, resulting in extreme financial hardship.
The most important goal in applying for Social Security Disability is to submit a complete and accurate application. It’s easy to make a mistake, and those mistakes can ultimately cost thousands of dollars. One of the best ways of making sure your application is good enough is to hire a representative who understands the rules and cares enough to help you through the entire process. If you’re in the Bristol, TN area, the Slaughter Law Firm can assist you today.