To win Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you must meet two types of requirements. First are medical requirements [In Progress: link to https://www.socialsecuritylawcenter.info/frequently-asked-questions/what-are-the-medical-requirements-for-receiving-social-security-disability-or-ssi/], in which you must prove to the Social Security Administration (SSA) that your medical condition is eligible for benefits. You also must meet non-medical requirements concerning your income, assets, and work history. The requirements for Social Security Disability and SSI vary between the two programs.
Before applying for benefits, consider meeting with a disability attorney. Your lawyer can review your claim and let you know the types of challenges that might lie ahead. While your case might seem cut and dry to you and those who know you, few applicants get approved for disability benefits on the first try. The success rate is even lower on appeal. This indicates that the SSA conducts a strict review process, making it necessary to provide thorough and compelling evidence that backs up every claim you make.
To schedule a free consultation with a disability attorney, contact the Disability Advantage Group, at 865-566-0800.
What Are the Medical Requirements for SSDI and SSI?
In short, to receive SSDI or SSI, you must be fully disabled. That means you cannot work and sustain substantially gainful employment. The SSA does not award anything for partial disability. It is an all-or-nothing proposition. Either the SSA deems you disabled or it believes you can work.
We have two ways to demonstrate to the SSA that you are fully disabled and deserving of benefits. The first is to show that you meet a Blue Book listing. The Blue Book lists every condition [In Progress: link to https://www.socialsecuritylawcenter.info/frequently-asked-questions/is-there-a-list-of-conditions-that-might-qualify-you-for-disability-benefits/] the SSA considers disabling and eligible for benefits—provided you meet all the listed criteria for the condition.
The Blue Book lists a medical condition, then below it provides another list of criteria, such as diagnoses and specific lab values, that you must meet to receive benefits for the condition.
Meeting a Blue Book listing is the most straightforward way to win benefits, but it is also the most difficult, Many of the required criteria are difficult to satisfy. The vast majority of applicants who get approved for benefits do not meet a Blue Book listing. Instead, they use other methods to prove their condition is totally disabling.
Another option is to seek a medical vocational allowance [In Progress: Link to https://www.socialsecuritylawcenter.info/frequently-asked-questions/what-is-the-medical-vocational-allowance-for-social-security-disability-and-ssi-cases/]. The SSA grants this to applicants who do not meet a Blue Book listing but can demonstrate a level of functional impairment that prevents them from working.
We even have a way to quantify your functional impairment in objective terms: the Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) test. This exam measures the degree to which your condition keeps you from performing activities necessary to your specific line of work.
For instance, if you have worked only jobs involving computers for the past 15 years and you developed carpal tunnel syndrome, the RFC test can show how you are incapable of typing on a computer for long periods of time.
Our attorneys can guide you through the process of completing the RFC and getting a medical vocational allowance.
What Are the Non-Medical Requirements for SSDI?
To qualify for SSDI, you must have a sufficient work history, have paid payroll taxes, and have earned enough work credits. The amount you need can vary based on your age. In most cases, the SSA expects you to have worked at least five of the past 10 years.
Once you get approved for SSDI, there are limits to how much earned income you can receive and remain eligible for benefits. However, there is no cap on how much unearned income you can receive, such as from stocks and other investments.
What Are the Non-Medical Requirements for SSI?
Because SSI is a needs-tested program, you must fall below certain income and asset levels to qualify. The SSA sets these levels each year. As of 2018, an individual may earn up to $750 and a couple up to $1,125 per month, though you may exclude some forms of income. You can also have no more than $2,000 in total assets for a single person and $3,000 for a couple.
We can review your financial documents and determine which program you qualify for on a non-medical basis. In some situations, an applicant can even qualify for both SSDI and SSI.
How Can I Schedule a Free Attorney Consultation About My Claim?
The attorneys at the Disability Advantage Group, have one goal: to get you approved for the benefits you deserve. Our focus is on Social Security law and fighting for our clients’ rights. To schedule a free consultation, call 865-566-0800 today.