Seeking disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) can be a bit of a challenge. More than half of initial Social Security Disability Insurance claims (SSDI claims) are denied, requiring claimants to take further steps to obtain benefits. Therefore, the more information you have in your corner on how to most efficiently demonstrate to the SSA that you are eligible for SSDI benefits the better.
Accordingly, in this article, we will go through a series of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) that we get at our firm, RITE Law. If, after reading this article, you have additional questions pertaining to your own personal circumstances, then we invite you to contact the Social Security disability attorneys in Jacksonville, FL – RITE Law. Our number is (904) 500-RITE or you can fill out our contact form online. Remember, we provide a free case evaluation, so call today.
How Do I Qualify for SSDI?
To be eligible for SSDI benefits, you must have worked in jobs that are covered by Social Security. That is because SSA wants to ensure that you have paid taxes into the Social Security Disability fund.
Why is that important? It is important because SSDI is an insurance program. Thus, like all insurance, you need to pay into the insurance pool to be eligible to participate in its benefits.
If you are eligible to receive SSDI, the next thing to qualify for benefits is to have a medical condition that meets the SSA’s definition of “disability.”
How Long Can I Receive SSDI Benefits?
If you are determined to qualify for benefits and should receive them, then you generally will receive monthly SSDI benefits while you are unable to work because of the disability.
The benefits will continue until you are able to work again on a regular basis. In addition, the SSA will present you with “work incentives” that are meant to help you make the transition back to work.
If you reach retirement age while you are receiving SSDI benefits, then your disability benefits change automatically to retirement benefits, though the amount of benefit remains the same.
How Long Do I Have to Work to Qualify for SSDI?
As noted, to qualify for SSDI benefits, you need to have worked long enough, and recently enough, to be eligible. The SSA goes by a “credit-system” to show whether you have worked enough to get benefits. Generally speaking, if you work (earn an income) regularly throughout the year, the SSA will grant you four credits each year. You normally need 40 credits total to qualify for disability benefits (that’s 10 years of work), and 20 of those credits must be earned within the last 10 years ending with the year you become disabled.
If you are a younger worker who has become disabled, there are other ways to qualify for SSDI at a young age.
How Do I Know if I Am “Disabled” for Purposes of SSDI?
The big question, as you might expect, with whether you receive SSDI benefits is whether you are “disabled” under the legal definition of that term. First and foremost, SSDI is only available to those who are totally disabled for over a year, not those who are partially disabled or have a short-term disability.
Thus, generally speaking, you are considered disabled for SSDI purposes if:
1. You cannot do the work that you did before;
2. The SSA determines that you cannot shift to other work because of your medical issues; and
3. Your medical issues are expected to last for longer than one year (or to result in death).
How Does the SSA Determine a “Disability”?
The SSA uses a five-step process to determine whether someone is “disabled” for SSDI purposes. The process is to find answers to five questions, as follows:
1. Are you working?
2. Is your condition “severe,” i.e., does the medical condition significantly limit your ability to do work?
3. Is your condition found in the list of disabling conditions?
4. Can you do the work you did previously?
5. Can you do any other type of work?
In sum, there is a process that you need to go through – that the SSA makes quite rigorous – to demonstrate your eligibility for benefits. The process is so challenging that you would do well to get the experienced help of a seasoned Social Security Disability attorney in Jacksonville, like the attorneys at RITE Law.
Get Help from an Experienced Social Security Disability Attorneys in Jacksonville.
The Social Security and Supplemental Security Income Disability programs are the largest of several Federal programs that provide assistance to people with physical and/or mental disabilities. SSDI pays benefits to you and certain members of your family if you have worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes. SSI pays benefits solely based on financial need.
As noted, initial claims for these benefits are often denied by the SSA due to paperwork errors or insufficient medical evidence verifying a disability. There are a number of levels to the appeals system that leaves most people overwhelmed and frustrated.
At RITE Law, we started the firm for one reason – to help those in Florida and elsewhere have the resources of a firm that was “big enough to fight but small enough to care.” At Rudolph, Israel, Tucker & Ellis (RITE law), we have the resources and experience to go to trial when it is necessary, and we have the wisdom to advise you appropriately.
Without help from the Social Security disability attorneys in Jacksonville on the RITE team, trying to make insurance claims can lead to a lot of frustration and time and money lost. When you turn to our firm, we spring into action, making sure every detail of your claim is addressed. We answer any questions you have and stand in your corner to give you the best opportunity to receive all the benefits you deserve.
Expect lots of attention, passionate representation and a healthy disdain for big insurance companies. We believe that leads to the best result possible. Unlike larger firms, your case isn’t handed to a paralegal or assistant to do the heavy lifting. The attorney you meet initially is the one who will be by your side every step of the way.