The federal government has numerous resources available if you have disabilities. This includes resources that will help you find housing or benefits that help you afford basic needs. For example, Social Security disability benefits are available to help you replace your lost income if you are unable to work due to a disability. These benefits, known officially as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), are provided as long as you meet the eligibility criteria based on your disability status and work history.
After submitting a Social Security disability application, you will receive a determination from the Social Security Administration (SSA) regarding your approval for benefits. If you are denied benefits or do not agree with the amount of benefits you receive, it is possible to make an appeal. Social security disability lawyers may be able to help you in this situation. Below, learn more about the process of applying for benefits and find out how your eligibility is determined.
Learn About Requirements for Social Security Disability Benefits
In order to claim Social Security disability benefits, you need to have worked for long enough in jobs that were covered by Social Security, which can include most jobs where you paid Social Security taxes. The amount of time that you need to work varies depending on how old you were when you became disabled.
When determining your eligibility for Social Security disability benefits, it helps to be aware that the SSA looks at the number of work credits you have earned. You receive one credit for each calendar quarter that you worked and paid Social Security taxes. In other words, if you work for one full year in a Social Security-covered job, you will earn four credits. In order to qualify for SSDI, you need to have earned anywhere from 20 to 40 credits depending on your age when you became disabled.
In some cases, Social Security disability benefits may also be awarded to people who qualify on the work record of another family member. Furthermore, adult children who became disabled before turning 22 years of age may receive benefits based on a parent’s work record.
If you have questions about the work requirements for benefits, you may contact the SSA for assistance. The Social Security disability phone number is 1-800-772-1213 or 1-800-325-0778 for TTY users.
In addition to working long enough, you also must meet the Social Security disability status requirements. You may have heard of a Social Security disability blue book, which is a resource used by medical professionals who determine applicants’ medical eligibility for benefits. It is possible to read through this book yourself online if you want to have a better understanding of which disabilities qualify, but it is not necessary to do so.
The SSA has strict rules about what counts as a disability. Ultimately, the SSA is in charge of determining whether you meet the definition, but you generally will be considered disabled if:
- You are unable to work at all or perform the same work that you did before your disability started.
- You are unable to transition to a different type of work due to your medical condition.
- Your disability will last for more than one year or will result in your death.
If you are approved for benefits, keep in mind that the Social Security disability benefits amount is not the same for everyone. Therefore, there is no standard Social Security disability benefits pay chart that you can refer to. Instead, your benefit amount varies based on factors such as how long you worked. The SSA provides a calculator that you may use to estimate how much you may receive. Once you qualify for benefits, you can also use your Social Security disability login information to access your personal account, which will tell you the exact amount you will receive.
How to Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits
If you qualify for assistance from the SSA, you will not begin receiving Social Security disability benefits automatically. Instead, it is necessary to submit an application for consideration.
A Social Security disability application may be submitted immediately after you become disabled. In fact, it is recommended that you apply as soon as you become disabled so that you can receive benefits as quickly as possible. This is because you must undergo a six-month waiting period after getting approved before your benefits will actually begin paying out.
When asking how to apply for Social Security disability, it is possible to complete your form in a few different ways. A Social Security disability application form can be submitted online, by mail, in person at an SSA office or over the phone at by calling 1-800-772-1213 or 1-800-325-0778 for TTY users.
Applying online is the easiest method for many people, but regardless of how you apply for Social Security disability, you will need to have the same basic information. This can include:
- Proof of your citizenship or lawful presence in the U.S.
- Any medical evidence that may help determine your disability.
- W-2 forms or other records of your employment.
- Award letters from any benefits you may have already received for your disability.
If you choose to apply online, you may use your Social Security disability login information to access your application and submit it at a later date if you are not ready to send it in yet. Once your application is submitted through any method, the SSA will usually send your information to a Disability Determination Services (DDS) office in your state to make the final decision.
How can Social Security disability lawyers help?
If you are approved for Social Security disability benefits, the SSA will determine how much you can receive each month. In the event you disagree with the benefit amount or you are denied benefits altogether, you can go through the appeals process. Social security disability lawyers may be a valuable resource if you plan on appealing a decision. If you are wondering “Where can I find Social Security disability lawyers near me?” there are usually many local law firms with experience in this area.
Whether or not you choose to utilize a Social Security disability lawyer, you will typically start the appeals process by submitting a form online or through the mail. Note that different forms are used depending on the reason for making an appeal.
If you are asking “Where can I find a Social Security disability lawyer near me?” note that you may be able to find free legal help depending on what services are available in your area. Free Social Security disability lawyers are professionals who offer pro bono legal services to individuals who do not have the ability to pay right away or pay at all. In such cases, be aware that some lawyers may charge for their services if your appeal is successful.