Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Claims
To qualify for adult Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you must have worked long enough to be meet the insured status requirements, and meet the Social Security definition of disability. Social Security defines disability as the inability to do any substantial gainful activity because of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment or combination of impairments which can be expected to result in death, or has lasted or can be expected to last 12 continuous months or more. Your impairments must be so severe that you cannot perform your past work or any other substantial gainful work that exists in the national economy.
To be insured for SSDI you must have worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes. You can earn up to four credits each year. In general, you must have earned 20 quarters of coverage within the last 40-quarter period to earn fully insured status. Individuals who are disabled prior to age 31 can qualify with less quarters. You can check your insured status by opening an SSA.gov account and view your earnings statement. In order to receive SSDI benefits, a disability must be proven before the insured status expires.
Disabled adult children, widows or widowers, and minor children may qualify for SSDI benefits on the earnings record of their parent or spouse. If you receive disability benefits there may be additional benefits paid to your spouse, divorced spouse, children, disabled child, and adult disabled child before age 22. Your spouse may receive benefits if he or she is age 62 or older is not already receiving a higher Social Security benefit than you, at any age if he or she is caring for your child under the age of 16 or disabled. Your eligible child may also receive benefits on your record if he or she is unmarried, and under 18, or 18-19 years old and a full-time high school student, or 18 or older and have a disability prior to the age of 22.
When applying for SSDI, you need to provide your Social Security number, your birth certificate, the names, address, and phone numbers of the doctors, and other medical providers that you have seen with dates of your visits, names and dosage of your medications, medical records from your doctors, therapists, hospitals, clinics, etc. that you have in your possession, laboratory and test results, a summary of where you worked and the kind of work you did, and your most recent W-2 form or federal tax returns for the previous year. In addition to this basic information, Social Security has forms to complete which collect detailed information about your medical condition and how it affects your ability to work. If your medical sources do not have enough information for Social Security to determine whether you are disabled, you may be sent for a consultative examination.
In order to determine if you are disabled, Social Security conducts a five-step process:
- Are you working?
- Is your medical condition severe?
- Does your medical condition meet or medically equal a listing?
- Can you perform the work you did in the past?
- Can you do any other type of work?
Each application for disability benefits is different because we are all unique individuals. You may have a situation where you are working but may still qualify for SSDI. You may be getting paid more for the work you are dong because of a special situation or accommodation. You may be allowed special conditions that enable you to work. You may not have one impairment that disables you but a combination of several impairments that together impact your ability to work. You may need to provide additional information to prove you medically meet or equal a listing from an acceptable medical source. You may lose your claim if your past work is incorrectly classified and it is determined you can return to that work, which you did not perform. The work you may still be able to do may not exist in significant numbers or you could not do it without an accommodation. There are many situations that can impact your ability to qualify for SSDI at each step of the evaluation process. Having an attorney with experience can help you avoid these pitfalls.
Attorneys at Martone Law Firm are experienced with assisting claimants with obtaining SSDI benefits. Contact Martone Law Firm today to find out how we can help you with your claim for SSDI.