Disability According to the Social Security Administration
Gaining Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can be difficult. In addition to a mandatory waiting period, individuals can spend months or years trying to prove to the government that they are too disabled to work. Meanwhile, their finances and quality of life suffer because they truly cannot work, but have yet to be approved for SSDI. If you believe you may need SSDI but are not sure you will be able to prove you are fully disabled, call the experienced Charlotte SSDI attorneys of Ted A. Greve & Associates, P.A. We understand how complicated these situations can be, and we want to get you approved for the benefits you deserve. We will review your situation with you and determine if we believe it is possible to have you approved for SSDI. If so, we will help you with the claims and evidentiary process.
Eligibility for SSDI
Social Security Disability Insurance is available for individuals between the ages of 18 and 65 who become disabled after working for a period of time. Individuals gain the right to SSDI by earning work credits and by suffering from a disability as prescribed by the Social Security Administration.
Each year the amount it takes to earn a work credit is recalculated, and each year a person can earn up to four work credits. Whether you have enough work credits to benefit from SSDI when you become disabled depends on your age and how long you have been working.
- If you are at least 31 years old and have worked 5 out of the last 10 years, you will need to have earned at 20 credits in the past 10 years.
- If you are between 24 and 31, you need to have worked at least 50 percent of the time since you turned 21. If you are 27, you will have had the opportunity to work for six years. You will need to have worked three of those six years or earned 12 credits in those six years.
- Individuals under the age of 24 can be eligible for SSDI must have earned six credits in the previous three years.
After determining if you earned enough work credits to obtain SSDI, you must figure out if you suffer from a prescribed disability under the law. A disability is defined as the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairments, which last or can expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months, or can be expected to result in death. The SSA will look to see if you can or cannot perform the work you did previously, whether you could perform other work, and whether your condition will last at least a year or likely result in death.
Categories of Disabilities
The SSA breaks disabilities down into 14 broad categories, including:
- Musculoskeletal System
- Special Senses and Speech
- Respiratory System
- Cardiovascular System
- Digestive System
- Genitourinary Disorders
- Hematological Disorders
- Skin Disorders
- Endocrine Disorders
- Congenital Disorders that Affect Multiple Body Systems
- Mental Disorders
- Immune System Disorders
These are the categories for anyone over the age of 18. They only apply to children’s conditions when appropriate.
Specific Factors Necessary Under Each Category
There are specific elements you must show to prove you are disabled under each one of these categories. The elements of each category are different. What makes someone disabled due to a musculoskeletal system issue is not the same as what would demonstrate disability under a neurological disorder.
You should speak with the attorneys of Ted A. Greve & Associates, P.A. to learn more about the specific factors associated with your disability.
SSA Evidentiary Requirements
It is not enough to simply say you meet the elements of a disability category. You must prove this to the SSA before receiving SSDI benefits. This is one of the hardest steps of acquiring benefits. It can be more difficult than you think to prove you have a medically determinable impairment even when you live with it and its consequences every day.
You must provide medical evidence of your disability to the SSA. This medical evidence usually comes from physicians and other sources that have personally evaluated or treated your condition. Whatever the source is, it must be an acceptable medical source according to the SSA and an acceptable clinical standard or diagnostic technique.
Acceptable medical sources include
- Licensed physicians;
- Licensed or certified psychologists; and
- Qualified speech-language pathologists.
Sources for medical evidence may also be the health care facilities where you have sought treatment or testing, such as hospitals, clinics, and labs.
While medical evidence is crucial to establishing a disability. Other evidence can be helpful in showing the extent of the impairment and its effect on your life. You may be able to use documentation from parents, caregivers, social workers, schools, and other types of medical practitioners to prove your situation. This type of evidence can expand out from only medical topics and can discuss your daily activities and abilities, pain management, medication and their side effects, symptoms and their treatments, and any other factor that demonstrates a limitation to your abilities.
Consultations to Determine Disability
In addition to the evidence you provide the SSA, you may be asked to undergo a consultative exam. Sometimes this consultative exam is simply undergoing additional testing. This may be performed by your current treating physician or an independent source. Whoever conducts the consultation will complete an exam report for the SSA.
An Attorney Aids a Difficult Process
The entire disability evaluation process can be difficult and long. It is crucial to have a knowledgeable and experienced attorney on your side to help you through the rough patches and ensure your rights are upheld during the process. An attorney can help you file the initial paperwork, gather evidence, and schedule any necessary consultative exams. If your initial claim is denied, which many are, you have the right to appeal.
Call the dedicated Charlotte SSDI attorneys of Ted A. Greve & Associates, P.A. to learn more.