Receiving Disability Benefits: It’s Not As Difficult As You Think

Published on: October 15, 2014

When your condition affects your work, it's time to apply for disability benefits.The thought of applying for Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) through the Social Security Administration may seem intimidating to some, with all the official documentation, work histories and medical examinations involved.

However, many applicants succeed in getting benefits with ease when they know exactly what to do and expect, and even more so when guided by a qualified expert. Many times, you can make the disability application process much simpler just by reading up on qualifying factors beforehand, and compiling all information related to your disability in one collective file.

In many of the unsuccessful disability applications we see people make, these poor results are due largely to the applicants’ misunderstanding of qualifying conditions and how SSDI is earned.

Understand the Qualifying Conditions

While this would seem to be obvious, it’s still a point we have to get across: before you ever apply for disability benefits, it’s important to learn if your specific condition is likely to qualifiy as a disability; there are differing factors and unique circumstances that could affect the final decision made on your claim.

For starters, you’ll have to have your condition professionally and reliably evaluated by a medical doctor, no matter if it’s psychologically or physically limiting; in fact, this is especially true for psychological conditions, which are generally more difficult to evaluate than physical impairments.

If your condition is difficult to diagnose, getting detailed, thorough documentation from your doctor is essential. Medical records play a significant role in determining someone’s eligibility for disability benefits; the information you gather must be complete and comprehensive, and from a reputable medical professional.

Just having a medical or psychological condition is not enough, however, to get disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. To get the benefits and aid you need, you’ll have to prove how your disability affects your ability to work effectively.

This determination, essentially, revolves around your previous ability to work and your current ability, as it is limited by your disabling condition. Receiving benefits through disability requires proving that your condition imposes limitations on you that make it impossible for you to work as you did in the past. Additionally, your condition must be expected to last at least one year, have already lasted one year, or be expected to result in death.

Getting the financial benefits you need following the onset of a disabling meeical conditionn depends on your ability to document and prove the above factors reliably. The best way to do this, as many applicants learn when they finally reach out, is by having an outside disability professional help you with your disability application.

In many instances, hiring an experienced disability expert can be the best thing a person can do when applying for disability benefits; these professionals will be able to help you gather all information and documents pertaining to your disability, giving your application the best chance of success with the SSA.

How SSDI Benefits Are Earned

Beyond gathering supporting evidence for your disability application, the easiest way to improve your chances of eligibility for benefits is by anticipating the SSA’s work tests, which determine how much you have contributed to Social Security taxes through your work history (as this is where your disability benefit money will come from).

When reviewing applications for disability, the SSA evaluates your contributions to Social Security with a “recent work” test and a “duration of work” test.

In a “recent work” test, the SSA will take a variable period of years, based on your current age, and assess how much work you have done in the years leading up to your condition. As a general rule, to be eligible for disability benefits, you will have had to work at least 50% of the period evaluated by the SSA; in most cases, this period is the 10-years prior to the year of the onset of disability. In this, your contributions to Social Security taxes will constitute your “credits” when receiving disability aid.

Similar in ways to the “recent work” test, a “duration of work” test is another test used by the SSA to determine your eligibility for disability benefits. In this test, the SSA will analyze your work and Social Security contributions throughout your entire life, as opposed to just in the years leading up to your disability.

In the onset of disability, getting the SSDI benefits you deserve after your years of hard work can make sweeping changes in your quality of life and future. It’s for this reason that the best thing a person can do before applying for social security is to speak with an experienced disability professional, thus significantly increasing the chances of his/her disability application being approved.

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