Law Office of Clifford Womack, Fort Worth Texas disability attorney Eligibility Requirements for Social Security Disability Benefits

Social Security Disability:
Do I Qualify?

social security disability qualificationIf you are seeking to file a social security disability claim with the federal government, then chances are you have been experiencing painful, unpleasant, distressing, and intrusive symptoms that have begun to significantly affect your ability to engage in work as well as your regular daily activities. Physically and psychologically, everyday life has become more challenging than it should be. You have probably also paid numerous visits to doctors and specialists in search of relief for your condition but have become frustrated as they are ultimately unable to help you recover your full strength, energy, abilities, or quality of life. No matter how many times you receive treatment or undergo procedures, it seems as though things just never get any better. Whether your problem is physical, mental, or both, you may be able to receive benefits if you meet these certain established criteria.

Basic Requirements for Receiving Social Security Disability Benefits

If you are age 18 or older your health problems must: • Keep you from doing any kind of substantial work
• Last, or be expected to last, for at least 12 months in a row, or result in death
If you are a disabled child (under age 18) your health problems must: • Result in marked and severe functional limitations. This means that your health problems must limit you from doing thing that other children the same age normally can do, to the extent required by our rules
• Last, or be expected to last, for at least 12 months in a row, or result in death
There are special rules that qualify you for SSI payments based on blindness: • Your eyesight mus be no better than 20/200 in the better eye with the use of a correctional lens, OR
• Your visual fields must be restricted to 20 degrees or less
• You can qualify for SSI benefits due to blindness even if you CAN do substantial work

Eligibility Tips

In order to be eligible to receive social security disability benefits, you must be experiencing any one or a combination of these physical and mental signs and symptoms to the extent that you will be judged “significantly impaired” for a period of at least one year before or since the date when you became unable to engage in substantial gainful activity (see below for what constitutes substantial work.)

While a history of consistent and convincing accounts of your subjective symptoms (such as pain) can certainly contribute to a favorable judgment that you are significantly impaired by Disability Determination Services standards, all but the most blatantly mentally or physically disabled claimants will find that medical records containing diagnoses of their conditions by medical professionals is an essential component in receiving Social Security Disability benefits. For a list of the most common mental and physical conditions for which people seek disability benefits, click here.

Also keep in mind that many individuals who file for social security disability payments will be denied on their initial application; this is normal and is why I am here to help you through the appeals and hearings process.

How Age Affects Your Ability to be Awarded Benefits

Finally, a general rule of thumb is that the younger the applicant (in particular those under age 50), the more difficulty you may experience in meeting the Disability Determination Service’s criteria for mental or physical impairments that would keep you from being able to engage in substantial gainful work activity. This is (in part) because disability rules assume that a younger individual – even if they are successful in proving that they cannot perform past relevant work – can learn and adapt to other, less physically and/or mentally demanding forms of work. Once you are 50 years of age or over, however, this burden is reduced as your “transferable skills” are assumed to apply only to occupations which require similar abilities to your past relevant work. If no such work is found to exist which matches your current level of residual functional capacity, experience, or education, you will be found “disabled.” Therefore, if you are over 50 years of age and have been denied previously, I encourage you to consider re-applying for benefits.

Substantial Work

Generally, substantial work is physical or mental work that you are paid to do. Certain types of part time work can be considered substantial depending on earnings and other factors. To decide if your work is substantial, the Social Security Administration will consider:

– the nature of the job duties
– the skills and experience you need to do the job
– how much you actually earn

Usually, they find that your work is substantial if your gross earnings average over $1000 per month after allowable amounts (such as veterans’ benefits) are deducted. Your work may be different than when your health problems began. It may not be as hard to do any your pay may be less. However, they may still find that your work is substantial under their rules.

If you are self-employed, in deciding whether your work is substantial they will consider:
– The kind and value of your work, including your part in the management of the business
– Your income

If you do feel that you may qualify to receive Social Security Disability benefits, please contact me for assistance with your case.


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