Criteria for Social Security Disability | SSD | SSDI | SSI | Disability Lawyer

Qualifying for SSDI Benefits

Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, is available for individuals who have become disabled and are no longer able to work due to this disability. To be covered under the federal program, an individual must have paid FICA taxes for a sufficient amount of time. The Social Security Administration requires a person to pass both a "duration of work" test and a "recent work history" test.

An individual must pass an overall "duration of work test" to ensure he or she worked for a long enough period over their entire career to receive benefits. For example, a 50-year-old worker must have worked a total of seven years before becoming disabled in order to qualify for SSDI benefits.

The claimant must also pass a "recent work history" test. Social Security Administration uses a complicated formula to calculate recent work history. But, generally speaking, workers aged 31 and up must have worked five out of the previous 10 years before becoming disabled to qualify for SSDI benefits.

For tips on qualifying for SSDI benefits, visit DotCO's Ten Tips to Consider in Obtaining SSDI Benefits page.

Your Medical History - SSDI Application

After the Social Security Administration calculates if a claimant has sufficient work history to qualify for SSDI benefits, then the SSA turns to the claimant's medical records. The Social Security Administration pays out benefits in cases of mental illnesses, physical injuries, and physical illnesses, depending on the severity of the case and other factors.

The office of Disability Determination Services looks over a patient's medical records to determine whether that person would be considered disabled according to SSA criteria. A person will only be considered disabled by the SSA when they suffer from total disability that prevents them from working.

In addition to evaluating the records directly, the SSA will also contact the claimant's doctor and ask them the following questions:

  1. How would you describe your patient's medical condition?
  2. When did your patient's disease or disorder set in?
  3. Describe how the patient's activities are limited by their disability?
  4. Have you conducted medical tests and what did they show?
  5. What kind of treatment or medication has your patient received?

The claimant's doctor will also be asked to weigh in on how the condition limits the patient's ability to hold down a job and participate in work-related activities.

In addition to talking to your doctor, the Social Security Administration may request that you visit a doctor contracted by the SSA to evaluate your condition. Failing to comply with the SSA's instructions and requests could result in your application being denied. It is crucial for the outcome of your application that you schedule and attend this appointment if requested to do so by the SSA.

Only Total Disability Covered - SSDI Criteria

The Social Security program pays only in situations where a person suffers from total disability. You can never collect Social Security disability benefits if you are partially disabled or suffer from a short-term disability.

"Disability" under Social Security rules is based on your inability to work. A person is considered disabled under Social Security rules if:

  1. You cannot do work that you did before;
  2. The Social Security Administration decides that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and
  3. Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.

For more details, visit DotCO's disability criteria page.

How long does it take the SSA to rule on an application?

A person cannot begin to collect SSDI benefit checks until that individual has been fully disabled for five months. No one is able to collect benefits during this five-month waiting period.

Once you apply for Social Security Disability Benefits, the Social Security Administration will get in touch with you regarding the status of your claim within three to five months. The exact amount of time it takes to hear from the SSA varies with each claim. A Social Security disability lawyer can help expedite your claim by ensuring the SSA receives all medical documentation and other evidence regarding your claim in a timely manner.

If you are declared disabled, the SSA will send you written notification detailing your monthly benefit amount and when benefits are slated to begin. The amount of monthly benefits available varies from person to person and is calculated based on one's work history and prior salary.

How a SSDI & SSI Lawyer Can Help - SSDI - SSI

At each stage of the application process, from thinking about applying to filling out the application to the appeals process, an experience Social Security attorney can help you. At this website we can connect you with an experienced SSDI lawyer who will work diligently on your behalf.

At the first stage of the SSDI and SSI application process, around 70 percent of all disability claims are turned down. If you hire a lawyer, your chances of having your case approved on reconsideration or at a hearing before an Administration Law Judge greatly improve. Having a Social Security Lawyer working for you at any stage in the process greatly improves your chances of having your application for Social Security Disability Benefits approved.

We highly recommend consulting with a Social Security lawyer in your area to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your case for disability before you start the application process!