Making the decision to apply for disability in Florida can be a tough choice to make. We understand that you've worked hard all your life and acknowledging that you need Social Security Disability (SSDI) can be hard. But there’s no reason to feel bad about this decision. Around one-quarter of working adults will, unfortunately, be forced to make this very same decision themselves before they retire. Living life isn't always a safe, accident-free experience and many people develop debilitating health conditions through no fault of their own.
The Social Security Administration and SSDI
The US Social Security system was put in place in the 1930s to address health challenges like yours. Over the decades, additional benefits and services have been added to the program to help it better provide those in need with a reasonable quality of life without placing undue financial burdens upon them or their families.
If you have recently been disabled, there are some things you should know about whether you qualify for disability in Florida and how to apply for benefits if you do. The Social Security Administration (SSA) received over 20 million applications in 2018, but only 35 percent of them were awarded benefits. Understanding how these applications are evaluated and how the process works is crucial to having your claim approved.
5 Things to Know Before You Apply for Disability in Florida
1. Are You Working?
The SSA has a very strict definition of work when it comes to disability benefits. If you are able to perform work, or “substantial gainful activity,” despite your disability or will be able to resume work within one year, you are not eligible for SSDI. Substantial gainful activity (SGA) is defined as any work with a monthly income greater than $1220 in 2019 (SGA is adjusted annually).
2. Is Your Condition Severe?
Your condition must interfere with basic work-related activities for your claim to be considered. This is generally defined as any combination of impairments that prevent you from engaging in gainful activity. These impairments can be mental or physical. Medical records and workers’ compensation claims could be provided as evidence of your condition, but a doctor’s determination alone is not sufficient to be awarded disability benefits.
3. Is Your Condition Listed as a Disabling Condition With the SSA?
This one can be tough to determine without the help of a disability advocate. The way the SSA lists disabling conditions comes under larger umbrella headings by "major body systems." According to the SSA, "For each of the major body systems, we maintain a list of medical conditions that are so severe they automatically mean that you are disabled. If your condition is not on the list, we have to decide if it is of equal severity to a medical condition that is on the list.”
4. Can You Do Your Previous Job?
If your condition is severe, but not at the same or equal level of severity as a medical condition on the list, then the SSA must determine if it interferes with your ability to do the work you did previously. If it does not, your claim will be denied. However, you may need someone with the experience necessary to prove to the SSA that you can't work at your old job.
5. Can You Do Any Other Work?
If you cannot do the work you did in the past, the SSA will see if you are able to adjust to other work. They consider your medical conditions and your age, education, and past work experience as well as any transferable skills you may have. If you cannot adjust to other work, your claim will be approved. If you can adjust to other work, your claim will likely be denied.
Don't Make the Decision to Apply for Disability in Florida Alone!
Understanding the ins and outs of applying for SSDI disability in Florida can be a time-consuming and confusing process. The definition of what qualifies as a disability is evolving every day and knowing how to best position your claim requires years of experience navigating the Social Security system.
In order to save yourself time and stress, give the experienced SSDI advocates at Disability Experts of Florida a call. It's free and fast and we will help guide you through determining whether you might qualify for benefits. Applying for disability in Florida doesn't have to be complex. And with us as your partner, it never is. Put our knowledge and experience to work for you!