If you’ve been working for a while, you’ve surely noticed the part of your paycheck is deducted for Social Security. That tax goes to the Social Security Administration (SSA), which runs a federal government program that pays benefits to people who are unable to work due to a disability.
Although you may not have given it much thought before, paying that tax can come in handy if you become disabled and are no longer able to work. Do you qualify for SSD? Learn more now!
Federal Disability Programs
The federal government administers two programs for people who can’t work due to serious disability:
1. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Program
SSI pays benefits to individuals who already meet low-income requirements and are also:
- Retirement age (65 or older);
- Have a disability; or
2. Social Security Disability Insurance Program
This program pays benefits to individuals who cannot work because of a serious medical condition that prevents them from working for at least one year or is expected to be fatal.
If you think you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, there are a few general guidelines to help you determine if you are eligible and how to apply.
Do I qualify for SSD?
Not everyone who has a disability is eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits. You have to meet certain criteria on this Disability Qualifications List:
- You must have an employment history working in jobs where you paid into social security from your income. The number of years you worked, your age and your income all factor into how much you can receive.
- You must have a condition that is a disability, as defined by the SSA.
- That disability must be severe enough to impact your ability to work for a year or more.
- It must also impact your ability to work at all, not just in the job you held recently or the one you want to pursue.
- In most cases, you must apply to receive the benefits for yourself, but there are a few situations where you can apply to receive benefits on behalf of a family member who cannot work.
How to Apply for Social Security Benefits
If you believe that you qualify for SSD based on the criteria from the Disability Qualifications List above, you can apply for Social Security Disability in person, over the phone, or online.
But, before you begin the application process, you will have to gather your medical records, work history and personal information to provide proof that you are eligible.
However, be advised that the application process can take some time. It can take months or even years to get benefits.
And, many people who apply for disability benefits are denied initially because of the rigor with which the Social Security Administration reviews these cases.
If you are denied, don’t give up. There are some steps you can take if your Social Security claim was denied. We’ll be covering that in our next blog post.
Get Help with SSD from an Attorney
If you have already started the application process and have been denied, or if you’re just wondering if you qualify for SSD, consider hiring an attorney who is familiar with Social Security Disability.
While applicants can handle a case on their own, this is a very complicated process. Hiring an
attorney familiar with disability claims will not only help tremendously with the application and appeals process, but it will also greatly increase your likelihood of success.