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What is disability?
When discussing Social Security and the definition of disability, it is important to note that it differs from the typical definition that states a disability is a condition that damages or limits a person’s physical or mental abilities. According to the Social Security Administration, the disability is based on the inability to work. One is considered disabled if:
- You are unable to perform the work you did before due to your medical condition, and you will be unable to perform other types of work.
- The disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year, or it will result in death.
The definition is strict, but the Social Security program assumes that a working person will have access to other programs such as workers’ compensation, insurance coverage and savings.
Do I Qualify?
In order to qualify for Social Security disability benefits, you must prove that you worked in a job covered by the program. After that, you must also have a condition or conditions that make it impossible for you to work. Once you have met the basic definition of being disabled (see the definition above), you must show that you worked under the Social Security program long enough to qualify for benefits.
After that, the Social Security Administration uses several questions to determine if you are eligible. The questions include:
- Are you working? If you are working and make more than the limit that is imposed, you will not be eligible for benefits.
- Is your condition severe? This relates to your ability to do your work. If there is no interference, you will not qualify for the benefits.
- Is your condition found on the list of disabling conditions? The Social Security Office provides the list.
- Can you do the work you did previously? If your condition does not match a condition on the list, they will determine if your condition affects your ability to work.
- Can you do any other type of work? If you are able to adjust to work in a different field, you will be denied benefits.
How Do I Apply?
After determining if you are eligible, you should submit you application, which can be done online at the Social Security Office website. Keep in mind that it can take three to five months to process the application. The Social Security Office requires the following information:
- Your Social Security number and proof of your age;
- Names, addresses and phone numbers of doctors, caseworkers, hospitals, and clinics that took care of you and the dates of your visits;
- Names and dosages of all the medications you are taking;
- Medical records from your doctors, therapists, hospitals, clinics and caseworkers, that you already have in your possession;
- Laboratory and test results;
- A summary of where you worked and the kind of work you did; and
- Your most recent W-2 form or, if you were self-employed, a copy of your federal tax return.
This process can be long and complicated. An experienced Social Security Disability attorney can advise you during the process and file your Appeal if your application is denied.
Contact us online through the form below or call 931-684-4611 for more information.