The federal government provides former members of the workforce with disability benefits through the Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) program when they are diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition.
Unfortunately, qualifying and applying for benefits can be difficult and time-consuming and any minor mistake can lead to a valid claim being denied, so if you have suffered a disability and believe that you qualify for disability benefits, you should consider speaking with an experienced Joliet Social Security disability lawyer who can walk you through the application process.
SSDI benefits are only available to those who can establish that:
Demonstrating that an illness qualifies as a disability under the federal definition is often the most difficult part of the application process, especially if the applicant’s illness is not on the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) official list.
When determining whether a person has a qualifying disability, the SSA looks at a variety of factors, including whether he or she is currently working. Applicants who are working, will most likely not be considered disabled if they earn more than $1,170 per month. Those who are not working or who make less than this amount will move on in the application process. At this point, the state assesses whether the applicant’s medical condition qualifies as severe, which means that it significantly limits his or her ability to do basic work activities, such as lifting, walking, sitting, and standing, for at least a year. Only when a condition satisfies this definition will the SSA proceed with the application.
Those who can establish that their disability is severe will then need to prove that their impairment is medically equal to a condition on the SSA’s list, which includes illnesses deemed to be severe enough to prevent someone from completing substantial gainful activity. However, even if an applicant’s illness is not on the list, he or she may still qualify as disabled if the SSA determines that the medical condition is as severe as one on the list. If, on the other hand, the condition does not meet the severity level of a listed impairment, the agency will assess whether the applicant is unable to work as he or she did before the onset of the condition. If an applicant’s medical impairment prevents him or her from performing past work, the agency will assess whether the applicant can secure another type of employment, which requires an analysis of the person’s past work experience, age, education, and professional skills. Those who cannot complete other work will qualify as disabled.
In addition to demonstrating disability, an applicant will also need to satisfy two different earnings tests to prove that he or she worked long enough and paid enough in Social Security taxes to merit receiving benefits. The first test is known as the recent work test and takes into consideration the applicant’s age at the time of disability, while the second is referred to as the duration of work test, which establishes how long a person worked prior to the disability. Those who satisfy these tests can collect monthly disability benefits.
To have your case evaluated by an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer, please call The Comerford Law Office, LLC at 312-863-8572 today.
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