Social Security Disability: The basics.

Those who have a medical condition and are unable to work may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.

Social Security Disability is a system that is designed to provide assistance to those who may need it most: the disabled. Those that have worked in jobs covered by Social Security who have a medical condition that fits the agency's definition of disability and are unable to work should receive benefits. Once approved, applicants receive monthly cash benefits.

However, actually receiving benefits can be difficult. Those who believe they qualify can benefit from having a basic understanding of how the system works.

Social Security Disability: How to qualify.

Essentially, two things are reviewed to determine if an applicant qualifies for benefits.

  • Previous work in jobs covered by Social Security. Generally, this requires a two part test: recent work and duration of work. The recent work test is based on the age the applicant was when he or she became disabled. The duration of work test reviews whether or not the applicant worked long enough to qualify for benefits. If, for example, a person becomes disabled at the age of 50, the applicant must have worked seven years to satisfy the duration of work test.
  • Presence of a disability. Satisfying the definition of a disability is difficult. A five step test is used. First, an applicant that is currently working generally does not qualify. Next the severity of the condition will be reviewed. The condition must be severe enough to interfere with basic work activities. The condition will also be reviewed to see if it is on the list of disabling conditions. If the condition is not on the list, the condition will still be reviewed to see if it is severe enough to qualify. The condition must also lead the applicant to be unable to do the work that was previously done.

Applying for benefits can be completed in a variety of ways. The SSA provides an online application or a potential applicant can visit a local Social Security office. The applicant will need a social security number, proof of age, contact information for medical providers that can verify the medical condition that has led to the disability, medical records, laboratory records and the most recent W-2 forms.

Social Security Disability: Legal counsel can help.

Navigating through the system can be arduous. In addition to taking the time to correctly fill out the initial application an applicant must also ensure that all the proper supporting documents like medical records and laboratory records are provided. An experienced Social Security Disability attorney can help guide you through the process and fight for your rights if the application is denied.

Keywords: Social Security Disability