A Comprehensive Guide to Disability Benefits: Understanding the Eligibility Criteria and Application Process

Are you living with a disability? Do you still want to lead a quality life despite having a reduced or no income? Your answers lay in the filing for disability benefits which will allow you to get the financial support needed to restore your quality of life. It is, however, important to understand the whole process for everything to follow in the right direction. Besides, you need to know the qualifications and conditions required for getting this entitlement.

Disabled Person

Disabled Person

Apart from physical disabilities like blindness and Cerebral Palsy, mental illnesses like depression and anxiety are also considered. People at times show uncertainty when it comes to conditions such as anxiety and depression as they don’t consider them to be serious enough. The truth is, if there is a major mental disease or disorder you are battling, the Social Security Administration considers you as well. It is significant to find professional help to help you file for the benefits. Many lawyers specialize in social security disability laws so finding one to help you should not be very difficult

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What Are Disability Benefits?

When we talk of disability benefits, the first thing that comes to mind is a financial fund from the government. It is non-refundable as it is for helping you go on with life normally despite the economic challenges brought about by the disability. The government body in charge is the Social Security Administration (SSA). The process of qualifying is very stringent to avoid fraudulent claims.

While doing the filing, you have two options to consider. One is directing the filing claim to the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or to the Social Security Income (SSI). In each option, there are different procedures to follow. The general conditions on the health conditions apply in all cases. The right documents must be presented. This includes bank statements, medical reports, employer’s reports, and any other documents showing the history of work and health issues.

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The SSDI and SSI programs normally rely on such data in ascertaining the suitability of you getting the benefits. They, for instance, look at your compliance with tax laws. At the same time, the focus is laid on how long you have been in the job market. 

The Threshold for Health Conditions

The government makes it clear which health conditions are categorized to be under the social security disability list. It is required of every applicant to confirm whether they lay in these categories. This makes you confident of how suitable you are for the benefits. If you don’t meet the threshold, it saves your time and finances as filing would be a waste of time and resources.

For mental disabilities, this is no different. If you need more guidance on mental illness and disability, you can generally, find all the facts on the websites of the concerned agencies.

How is the Work History?

The SSA takes ample time on each application. The criteria are well followed for all documents. Details on the history of work are highly considered when doing the determinations. If you are still working now, the team will go for further details. Here, they will focus on the net monthly income. In 2021, if the income is above $1,310 per month, it is likely that your application will not be considered.

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For the non-working group, the government body will forward your claim to the Disability Determination Service. At this stage, the officials will do a thorough verification of the documents. They will focus on the medical forms and give a decision based on the health condition.

The gravity of the Health Condition

The DDS has specialists in analysis who do further checks on the applications which meet the threshold. This is where they focus on the capability of a person to perform general functions. Being unable to walk, lift, sit, or stand qualifies one for disability. Apart from such physical conditions, a focus on mental health is made. All of the conditions must be prevalent for a minimum period of 12 months. They generally refer to the SSA Blue Book before making a decision.

Anyone suffering from listed neurocognitive and intellectual disorders is considered. The list is normally long to accommodate all the known mental problems which lower someone’s productivity. Depression is underestimated by society which makes many not consider it as a form of disability but thankfully the SSA Blue Book has a different view. Section 12.04 indicates that a person with recurring depression can be considered for disability.

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Possibility of an Alternative Work

Your disability may result in you being unfit for work and the process will confirm that. There is further evaluation on whether you can comfortably do another job. If it is possible to pick another work, it may cause you to be disqualified. Information on education, past work experience, and age is highly put into consideration.

Hiring a lawyer is a significant thing at this stage. He or she can assist you in the preparation of the documents making sure that your application is free of mistakes which will improve your chances of approval.

In case you receive a letter of denial, everything will be included on why your application did not go through. The social security disability lawyer will offer you the right guidance in filing an appeal. This is through the Social Security Appeals Council. 

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