Are You Eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits?

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By Guest Blogger Derek S. Cervoni

People involved in family law matters may also have disabilities that ​affect their ability to work, and in turn, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits may be involved.  We explain below, some basic characteristics to determine if someone qualifies for SSDI benefits.

If you are of working age and have a physical or mental injury or illness that is keeping you from performing your job, you may qualify for assistance from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Here are five factors that SSA uses to determine whether you are eligible to receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI).

  1. Have you stopped working or are you working at a level below substantial gainful activity (SGA) for SSA purposes?

“Substantial gainful activity” is a criteria applied by the Social Security Administration that looks at the kind and level of work that you can perform as well as the amount of money you are able to earn. In 2017, you must earn less than $1,170 gross per month to be considered for SSDI benefits.

  1. Do you have a severe injury or illness that has lasted or can be expected to last for at least a year or is terminal?

If you have a severe mental or physical disability that has kept you out of work for at least a year or may result in death, you may be eligible for SSDI benefits. According to SSA, your medical condition must significantly limit your ability to do basic work activities such as lifting, standing, walking, sitting, and/or remembering for at least 12 months.

  1. Are you seeing a doctor or medical professional for your disabling conditions and have you had regular office visits where you receive ongoing treatment?

The SSA prefers documentation from physicians with whom you have had a long-standing relationship. They will require your medical records to include doctor visits, lab results, test results from hospitals, clinics and other facilities at which you received treatment for your disability. They will want to know when your disability began and how long it is expected to continue. If adequate records are not available, SSA may schedule a medical exam to determine the extent of your disability.

  1. Is your disabling medical condition on the Social Security Administration’s Listing of Impairments?

The SSA maintains a list of medical conditions that they consider severe enough to prevent a person from meeting the standards for substantial gainful activity. If you have one or more of these conditions regardless of your age, education or work experience, you may meet the test for a medically severe disability. If your condition is not on the list, your state agency will determine if it is like one of the listed conditions in making their decision.

  1. Can you perform your past job or any other work?

If your medical condition is not on the Listing of Impairments, SSA will determine if you can do the job you did before or if there is another job that you can do. Your age, education, past work experience and skill set will be considered. You may qualify for SSDI if it is found that you cannot perform your old job and any other work activity.

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Derek S. Cervoni is an attorney helping people with disabilities navigate the SSDI system and assisting them in obtaining the benefits to which they are entitled. Visit Cervoni Disability Law, PLLC for more information.

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