Filing for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits can seem overwhelming, but if you qualify for those benefits you don't want to miss out on getting them. They could make a significant difference in your financial situation and help ease your stress levels. Spouses and children of people who are disabled may be eligible for benefits, as well, so it's always good to check and be sure whether you qualify.
Both Work and Medical Requirements Matter
In order to qualify for SSD, you have to be completely and/or near permanently disabled. In other words, you must not be able to work in any kind of gainful employment because of mental or physical disability. That condition must be one that will last at least 12 months, or one that will result in death. If you're only partially disabled or you have a temporary disability that will only last a few weeks or months, you're not going to be able to qualify for any kind of SSD assistance.
How to Apply for SSD Benefits
The government will be the one to determine if you're disabled. They base that decision on your medical records, educational background, vocational background, and current medical condition. You will have needed to earn some work credits before you become disabled, or you may not qualify at all.
For people who are over 31 when they become disabled, 20 to 40 work credits are required. Younger people who are disabled don't need as many credits, since they haven't had the opportunity to work as long. Around 2/3 of claims are denied, but you have 60 days to appeal the denial.
What If Your Claim is Denied?
Appealing as soon as possible is important if your claim is denied. The best way to appeal is through an attorney. That's also the best way to file the initial claim, but many people file on their own, get denied, and then choose an attorney to help them with the filing of an appeal. Some SSD cases go all the way to federal court, and you would need an attorney to represent you if your case travels that far.
Even for those cases that don't go all the way to federal court, an attorney can help you have the highest chance of having your claim accepted or your appeal approved. It can be hard to get SSD benefits, and working with an attorney can make all the difference in your SSD case.