If you can’t work due to a medical condition that is expected to last at least a year or result in death, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. It is also possible that your family members can receive benefits from Social Security if you meet their criteria.
Additionally, you must meet specific earning requirements to qualify. This is the “duration of work” test. The requirements depend on your age. For example, if you are 20, you must have worked at least one and a half years, but if you are 60, then you must have worked nine and a half years.
The second test based on your earnings you must pass is the “recent work test.” Again, this varies depending on your age. Someone under 24 must have worked 1.5 years of the last 3 years, while anyone over 31 must have worked 5 years out of the last 10 years.
In order for your medical condition to qualify for Social Security disability benefits, the average of your monthly earnings cannot be over the current specified amount. Additionally, your medical condition must be considered “severe” and be on the List of Impairments. Then they will consider whether the medical condition will actually prevent you from doing the work you did before. They also take into account your age, education, past work experience, and skill set to determine if it is possible for you to do another type of work.
Many of these criteria are subjective. Many people who are denied at this initial stage are approved when it is appealed, so don’t lose heart if that happens in your case.
Those who hire a disability lawyer to advocate on their behalf are more likely to win than those who go it alone. An experienced lawyer can help you avoid denial due to incomplete or inaccurate information on the Social Security disability application, insufficient medical evidence, or failure to follow the proper procedure. It can also be beneficial to have representation if you have been denied.
The process of applying for Social Security disability benefits can be confusing and frustrating, but with the right representation by your side, it doesn’t have to be. Contact us to see how we can help.