Applying for social security benefits can be rather a rather daunting task, especially for those who are dealing with a serious injury or illness. In fact, many prospective clients come to our office after years of struggling with a medical condition without realizing that they may be eligible for social security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits. To help you determine whether you qualify for SSDI benefits, we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding how a disability is defined by the Social Security Administration (SSA). These FAQs are as follows:
To be considered “disabled” for SSDI eligibility purposes, individuals must be diagnosed with either a medical or psychological disorder that prevents them from performing substantial gainful activities, or SGA. SGA refers to work that generates a certain monetary amount on a monthly basis. In 2012, the amount was set at $1,010 for non–blind SSDI applicants and $1690 for those diagnosed as legally blind. In the event that you make more than these monetary amounts, the SSA will likely reject your SSDI application under the assumption that you are not disabled. You can visit the SSA’s website to learn more about whether your condition qualifies as a disability.
Additionally, an SSDI applicant’s condition must prevent the person from performing SGA for a minimum of one year or expect to prevent the individual from doing SGA for the same time period. Also referred to by the SSA as the durational requirement, this means that conditions such as serious back injuries may qualify for benefits (since it could render someone disabled for a year or more) while bone fractures or sprains typically will not. Furthermore, SSDI applicants cannot work above the SGA level at the time that they apply for benefits. Therefore, it is not recommended for people to continue working above the SGA level and then plan to quit assuming that they will receive SSDI.
To be eligible to receive SSDI benefits, an applicant must also provide medical records that contain evidence of the person’s physical or emotional impairment. Specifically, the records must demonstrate that the impairment is severe enough to prevent the applicant from working. All records and supporting documentation must also be current, meaning that they cannot be older than 60 to 90 days. Moreover, unless the records that you submit to the SSA readily demonstrate that you are truly incapable of working (i.e. they show that you suffer from one or more of the SSA’s qualifying conditions) the SSA will conduct an assessment of what work you possibly can perform.
As for the level of one’s physical impairment, the SSA determines whether the applicant can perform light, medium or more sedentary work by reviewing their medical records and supporting information. For mental impairments, the SSA will review whether the individual can understand basic instructions, maintain focused and attentive, and interact appropriately with others, such as coworkers. After conducting this assessment, the SSA will determine whether the person is capable of performing certain work based upon their specific skill set.
Undoubtedly, having an experienced SSDI attorney on your side can significantly influence the outcome of your case. At Lundy Law, our seasoned team of SSDI benefits attorneys can help simplify the challenging and complex process of obtaining SSDI benefits and represent you in appealing a denial of your claim. We can also assist you in accurately completing the paperwork so that you do not suffer even longer delays in an already lengthy process. If you are having challenges obtaining social security disability benefits, contact Lundy Law today for an initial free consultation at 1-800-LundyLaw. We represent SSDI applicants and those who have been denied benefits located throughout New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. Call us now to learn more about how we can help you fight for the benefits you deserve!