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A beginner's crash-course in Social Security Disability: Part II

Earlier this week, we began a discussion about Social Security Disability Insurance. Millions of Americans who are no longer able to work due to a disabling injury, illness or medical condition rely on disability benefits to make ends meet.

While some people have a relatively easy and quick application experience, most do not. The SSDI application and appeals process can be frustrating and lengthy. For this and other reasons, it is important to make sure that you present thorough and accurate documentation from the very start.

So what do you need in order to qualify for SSDI benefits? One of the most basic requirements is that you are younger than full retirement age. Those who have reached retirement age and have consistently paid into Social Security will be given age-related retirement benefits instead of disability benefits.

When it comes to a disabling illness/injury/condition, there are several qualifications that need to be met. Your disability must:

  • Be expected to last for at least a full year or until death
  • Be severe enough to prevent you from continuing to work

Other non-medical qualifications:

  • You must pass two different earnings tests to determine if you have accrued enough Social Security work credits to be eligible for benefits
  • You need to have monthly earnings that do not exceed a certain income level (currently about $1,070 per month)

Needless to say, the application process can be daunting. But the good news is that help is available. An experienced Social Security Disability attorney can guide you through the process and ensure that you submit the correct documentation and any necessary supplementary paperwork. They can also help you present the strongest possible case and provide much-needed advocacy during the application and appeals processes.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Who Qualifies for Social Security Disability Benefits?" Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, June 24, 2014

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