How to qualify for Social Security Disability

When you begin the application process for Social Security Disability, a feeling of panic may wash over you. You may worry about how you’ll pay bills and keep yourself afloat to make ends meet. Being unable to work is a daunting change in our lives. That’s why Social Security Disability (SSD) is there for people who need help.

Understanding the SSD programs is extremely useful when you are making decisions about your future. The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit programs are available for people over 18 who qualify. Children under 18 may qualify for SSI based on their medical problems as well.

Can I Apply? 
The first step in applying for SSD is finding out if you qualify. Based on your work history, you may qualify to apply for disability benefits. If you have little recent work history and have a lower income, you may be able to qualify to apply for SSI.

To apply for benefits, you must have about ten years of recent work experience. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will evaluate your application and let you know what you can apply for. During this process, it may be helpful as well to seek help from an SSD attorney to go over your options.

How Do I Get Approved? 
If you suffer from long-lasting injuries or illnesses that lasts over a year, they may approve you for benefits. Once you apply for SSD or SSI benefits, however, you need to prove how bad your health is. Your approval will depend mostly on the quality of your recent medical care. This will be the evidence that you cannot return to work, even a basic full-time job.

To understand how and why your ailments keep you from working, the SSA requires comprehensive documentation. You must gather information about your medical treatment and your past work–such as contact information for all hospitals and doctors you have seen, contact information for employers from the past 15 years, and the various medications you have been prescribed. You will also complete forms about your symptoms and your day-to-day limitations.

While your medical conditions must be severe enough to keep you out of work for at least a year, some illnesses are significant enough to allow a faster approval. Known colloquially as the “Blue Book,” this list describes medical conditions so severe that full-time work is clearly impossible. Some conditions in the medical listings book include:

  • Asthma
  • Heart failure
  • Cancer
  • Musculoskeletal issues
  • Cardiovascular conditions
  • Sense and speech issues

You can find the full list at the SSA’s. Although meeting an ailment found in the listing can be a shortcut to an approval, these conditions are still difficult to prove.

Becoming disabled is a terrifying feeling. There’s no way to support yourself and the worry of losing everything looms over you. When a severe illness or disability prevents you from working, SSD benefits can provide financial security.