How to Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits

If you have a medical condition that makes it impossible for you to work, you could qualify for benefits from the Social Security Administration that can be used for medical care, food, bills, and housing while you cannot work. In order to apply, you must expect to be out of work for at least 12 months due to a qualifying condition.


Social Security Disability Benefits

If you have worked and paid taxes in the past you can file a claim for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). In order to be approved for disability benefits you must have a medical condition that is listed in the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book. If you’re not sure if you meet the criteria in the listing for the condition that you have a patient advocate or your doctor can help you figure out if you qualify. Many common physical and mental conditions quality for disability benefits including:

· Lung disease

· Heart disease

· Hearing loss

· Vision loss

· Depression

· Anxiety

· Schizophrenia


If you’re having trouble getting your medical records you can go directly to the hospital where you last got treatment to get copies of your records.


Supplemental Security Income

If you didn’t work previously or pay taxes and don’t meet the technical requirements for SSDI, you may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income, or SSI. There is an income cap that must be met to qualify for SSI benefits as well. If you are working you will need to provide W-2s or tax returns that show your income is within the SSI limits. If you are single, you will need less than $2,000 (less then $3,000 for those married) in assets to meet the technical qualifications.


Children can also qualify for SSI. If you cannot work because you are caring for a disabled or sick child, you can apply for SSI benefits for that child to help with expenses. In order to qualify for SSI benefits you or your child must have a condition that is listed in the Blue Book and meet all the medical criteria for that condition along with meeting the income limits. You will need to provide medication documentation of the condition in order to be approved for benefits.


Veterans

If you are a veteran, you may be eligible for benefits from the Social Security Administration and the VA. You don’t have to choose one or the other. If you have VA disability benefits but also have a medical condition that keeps you from working you can file a claim for Social Security disability benefits without losing your eligibility for VA benefits. If you have a service connected condition like hearing loss, or TBI, or back problems but you also have cancer or another medical condition unrelated to active-duty, you can still file a claim for Social Security benefits in addition to your VA benefits. If you received at 100% P&T rating, then you may also be eligible for an expedited claim, allowing you to receive a decision in just a few short weeks.


When applying for disability benefits, you can use both your military and civilian medical records. The more medical support you can provide, the better chances you have of getting your claim approved.


Starting The Application

You can apply for SSDI online. You can make an appointment at a nearby Social Security Administration office by calling (800) 772-1213 to apply for SSI. A staff member at the SSA can help you with the application and answer any questions that you have about what benefits you might qualify for and how to apply for them. Once approved, your benefits can be deposited directly into your personal bank account, mailed to a third party, mailed to your representative payee, or deposited onto a Direct Express debit card.


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Article written by Rachel Gaffney

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