Do I qualify for Social Security Benefits?

Are you under the age of 65?
You must be younger than 65 years old to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).   You may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) if you are age 65 or older.

What is the requirement to receive benefits?  In order to qualify for benefits, you need to have paid enough into the system to be able to get money out of it. The current requirement is 40 "credits." You earn credits along with your income, and you can earn up to four credits per year.  For 2015, you earn one credit for every $1,220 you earn, so all you need is $4,880 in earnings to rack up four credits.  For most people, their 40 credits can be earned in just 10 years.  

Does your disability significantly limit your ability to work?  Your medical condition must be severe enough to limit your ability to do basic work activities.  Examples of this would be having difficulty with standing, walking or sitting.  Your disability must be expected to last for at least one full year. 

Does your medical condition prevent you from being able to do the work you did before?  If it does not, you will not be eligible for benefits.

Are you able to do any other type of work?
Your medical condition, your age, education, past work experience and any skills you may have that could be used to do other work will be evaluated. If you have been treating with a doctor and you are not capable of doing other work, you could be considered disabled and eligible for benefits.   If you can do other work, you will not be eligible for benefits.

Do you have a doctor that can provide medical evidence to support your disability claim?  This is extremely important.  Cases are often decided on the basis of your treating physician's documented diagnosis, opinion, or records.   Notify your doctor as soon as you have decided to submit an application for disability benefits.

Applying for Social Security.  Now you can go to your local Social Security office and apply.  If you have met all the criteria above then you have a much better chance of getting a favorable decision.  It can take up to 3-4 months for a decision.

I was denied, now what?  You could do everything above and still get denied.  Do not give up.  60% of claims are denied the first time.  

How do I appeal?  You could appeal the decision by applying again on your own or you may hire a Social Security attorney to appeal for you.  (Highly recommended)

I can't afford an attorney.  Most attorney's offer a free consultation and 25% is paid from your settlement at the maximum of $6,000.00.   If we do not win, you do not pay. 

Some Reasons for Denial of Social Security Disability Benefits
•  You have errors in the information entered in the application.
•  You make more than $1,040 per month. If you exceed this amount, you will immediately be denied disability benefits.
•  Your disability will not last or be expected to last a minimum of 12 months.
•  You failed to comply with the Social Security Administration's request for information or medical records. Not complying with this request may ultimately cause you to be denied benefits.
•  The Social Security Administration has attempted to locate you and was unable to reach you.

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