Who May Receive Social Security Disability Benefits?
A person who works long enough at a job or jobs may be eligible for disability benefits if they suffer an impairment that limits their ability to work.
Specifically, if a person has worked five of the past ten years before becoming disabled, they probably qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. Even part-time work is sufficient if the person has worked 20 out of 40 work quarters to qualify for benefits.
Those that do not qualify for social security disability (SSDI) benefits may still qualify for SSI benefits. These benefits generally pay a smaller monthly benefit to the recipient and may be reduced by household income attributed to relatives living in the same household as you.
Both types of disability benefits pay additional benefits related to any minor children that reside with the applicant. Moreover, a widow(er) or divorced spouse that has not remarried may qualify for disability benefits under their spouse’s Social Security account. If the spouse or former spouse is deceased, the applicant must make a claim within 7 years of the spouse’s death.
A disabled adult child who has attained the age of 19 and who can demonstrate that the onset of their disability occurred before the age of 22, may also seek social security benefits without demonstrating significant prior employment. In such a case, the adult child’s benefit would be based on a percentage of the applicant’s parent’s benefits.
It is important to remember that a person does not have to be permanently disabled to qualify for social security disability benefits. If an applicant is disabled one year or more, they may qualify for benefits. The length of time that an applicant is unable to work because of their disability affects the length of time that they may receive social security disability and/or SSI benefits.
What Constitutes a Disability?
According to the Social Security Administration, a "Disability" can be physical, or emotional, or some combination of both. There is no all encompassing list of accepted disabilities. Instead, a determination of impairment is made on a case by case basis. In order be awarded social security disability benefits, an applicant must have an impairment that is severe enough prevent that person from working in any regular paying job for at least twelve (12) consecutive months.
To make a compelling case for social security disability benefits, an applicant must present medical documentation of their impairment as part of their request for benefits. As part of that medical documentation, a physician must make a determination as to whether the applicant is disabled "by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory findings.” This can be a difficult standard in instances where a definite diagnosis is not available. It is in cases of that nature that it is important to have a lawyer who will present your medial records to the Social Security Administration in the light most favorable to your claim.