Qualifying for disability benefits depends on whether the Social Security Administration (SSA) decides that you're disabled. “Disability” is defined differently for purposes of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) than it is in other laws or by insurance plans.
Here’s How the SSA Defines Disability
According to the SSA, an individual is disabled if he or she:
- Is unable to engage in substantial gainful activity. This means you cannot do the work you used to, or perform other types of employment that allow you to earn more than the amount established as substantial gainful activity. Substantial gainful activity can change annually. In 2019, substantial gainful activity is defined as $2,040 a month for people who are blind; and $1,220 for people with other disabilities.
- Has a medically determinable physical or mental impairment. You must have medical records that show the results of medically-acceptable tests or other diagnostic tools to prove you have a physical or mental impairment.
- Is expected to have long-term physical or mental impairment. This means it should last for at least 12 months, or for the condition to result in death. A temporary disability won't qualify you for SSDI.
If your condition meets all three of these standards, then you should be eligible for SSDI benefits.
What to Do If You Think You're Disabled
To get Social Security disability benefits, you'll need to apply with the SSA. Your application must include your stated disability, medical documentation to support your claim, job history, education history, and other supporting evidence.
Many Social Security applicants with qualifying disabilities will still have their original applications denied because of technicalities. You can minimize the chances of that happening to you by working with an attorney skilled in handling these types of claims.
The legal experts at Gibbons Leis, PLLC can help you complete your initial application, or appeal a denial of benefits. We'll work hard to get the benefits you deserve. Please contact us today to schedule a free phone evaluation to learn more.