Criteria for Disability Benefits in Colorado

Aug 01 2018

The criteria for qualifying for disability benefits in Colorado are relatively straightforward. However, this does not mean that the path to receiving benefits is simple or easy. If an applicant for benefits fails to prove that he or she meets the necessary criteria, essential benefits may be delayed or denied altogether. That is why it is important to have experienced legal counsel in your corner to help guide you through this process.

At the law firm of Alverson + O’Brien, our Denver lawyers have extensive experience helping disabled individuals get the Social Security Disability benefits that they and their family members need during this difficult time in their lives.

Successfully Qualifying for Disability Benefits

Under federal Social Security Disability (SSD) guidelines, a person who is seeking disability benefits must meet both medical criteria and job-related criteria. In essence, a person must have a medical condition. The Social Security Administration keeps a list of medical impairments that are likely to meet the criteria for receiving benefits. However, if your impairment is not on this list, it is still possible to satisfy the medical requirement through the use of a medical examination and by providing medical records.

A medical impairment alone is not enough to qualify for SSD benefits. You must show that you have been unable to work, or are expected to be unable to work, for at least one year.

Even if you meet all of the necessary criteria, many initial applications are often denied. Our attorneys can help with appeals and requests for reconsideration while we work to help you get the benefits you need.

Understanding Whether You Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits

Whether they’re self-employed, contractors, or employees, workers sustain the U.S. economy, helping the U.S. maintain its century-long position as the country with the highest gross domestic product in the world. In return, the US government recognizes these workers’ efforts by giving them a financial safety net should they become disabled.

Important Qualification Info

To get Social Security Disability benefits, you need to have worked for 5 full time years in the 10 years before you became disabled. More specifically, you need to rack up 40 work credits. This year, a work credit is worth $1,470 in earnings. In other words, if you earn $5,880 this year, you’d get your four work credits for the year.

If you haven’t worked in jobs that are covered by Social Security in the past and met these work credit income requirements, you can’t receive SSD benefits.

Another major qualifier is this three-part disability definition:

  •   Your medical condition is so bad that you can’t find another job, even in another field of work.
  •   A physician needs to estimate that your disability will likely last for at least the next year. If you’ve already had such a condition for a full year already, this can also qualify you for SSD benefits.
  •   Lastly, you must be unable to do the work you previously did as a direct result of your medical condition.

Factors that Heavily Influence SSD Application Approval Rates

The US Social Security Administration (SSA) doesn’t simply use set-in-stone algorithms to approve and deny SSD benefits. However, there are a couple of factors that substantially influence Social Security Disability benefit application approvals and denials, as well as your ability to keep receiving benefits once approved. These factors are:

1.  Are You Earning Too Much Money?

Although it’s nice to have the SSA cover your living expenses while you’re unable to work, many SSD benefit recipients end up feeling like they can’t support themselves on SSD alone. The SSA allows recipients to make an attempt at going back to work via trial work periods.

You can attempt one nine-month-long trial work period per every five years you’re on SSD benefits. After this period is over, you’ve got three years during which you can work and keep receiving benefits. If you make more than $1,310 in a month, you won’t receive any SSD payments that month. This amount can change so be sure to check the SSA website for the most up-to-date information.

2.  Not Listening to Your Doctor

Regularly attending medical appointments is an essential part of every Social Security Disability benefit recipient’s life. If you don’t follow your physician’s instructions, you can lose your SSD benefits. So make sure to closely follow doctors’ orders, even if you’ve already tried their recommendations and found them unhelpful.

Call Alverson + O’Brien Today

We are available to help meet all of your SSD needs. Call 303-993-8882 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation. The sooner you reach out to us, the sooner we can get to work helping you get the benefits to which you are entitled.