There are several questions you can ask regarding whether or not you qualify for Social Security disability benefits. In this article, your Detroit disability lawyer explains how to determine disability and if you qualify for benefits. Our competent lawyer can you tell you if you are disabled in Detroit and are eligible to receive benefits.
Are You Working Full Time?
The first and most important question to ask yourself is whether you are able to work full-time. Having a disability, in and of itself, does not mean you are eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits. Many people continue to work full-time jobs despite having disabilities. If you are currently working full-time and have worked at this job for nine months or more, you have probably answered the question – you are not going to be considered to be disabled.
Are You Very Severely Disabled?
The Social Security regulations have a list of physical and mental conditions with criteria for each. If you meet these criteria, you are considered to be disabled. These are called the Listings of Impairments, or “The Listings” for short. You have to be very severely disabled to satisfy these criteria. The criteria are so severe that most disability applicants do not meet them. So, the next step is to look at whether you can still perform any of the work that you did in the past 15 years, and if not, whether there are other jobs, existing in significant numbers in the national economy, that you could still perform, despite your disability or disabilities.
Can You Do a Past Job or Another Job?
If you do not meet The Listings and have applied for Social Security disability benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will analyze your particular disability or disabilities, and look at your past jobs, your level of education, your ability to read and write, and your age to determine whether or not you qualify for Social Security disability benefits.
Are You an Older Claimant?
By the time a person reaches the age of 50, 55, or 60 years old, he or she is bound to have some limitations in the ability to work. And, the economy is tough. It is hard to find a good-paying job with benefits, especially for older workers. But, an older person with some limitations who cannot find a job because of age discrimination or a weak economy is not necessarily sufficiently disabled for to qualify for Social Security disability benefits.
However, less stringent standards apply to older workers. This is because the older you are, the less reasonable is it to expect that you can be retrained to do a different type of work than you’ve done in the past.
If you are under the age of 50, the strictest rules apply. At any age if you are determined to be able to still perform any job you’ve performed on a full-time basis in the past 15 years, prior to becoming disabled, you will not qualify for Social Security disability benefits. But, if you are under 50, you also have to show that you can’t perform any work, not even the simplest job, on a full-time, sustained basis. This is a very difficult standard to meet.
But, if you are 50 to 54, you may meet the criteria necessary to be approved if you are limited to sedentary work, you have never performed sedentary work, and have no transferable skills.
Sedentary work is work that does not require any lifting over 10 lbs. and very little standing or walking. It involves mostly sitting, with only occasional standing and walking. Most people think of this as strictly office work. However, there are several unskilled types of work that do not require office skills. These types of job include unskilled cashiers, parking lot attendants, and unskilled bench assembly or inspection positions.
If you are 55 to 59 years of age and you cannot perform any of the work that you performed in the 15 years before you became disabled, the rules are even easier to meet. If you are limited to light or sedentary work, you have never performed that type of work, and have no transferable skills, you are likely to be approved for Social Security disability benefits.
Light work requires a person to be able to lift at least 20 lbs. and to be able to stand or walk at least 2/3 of an 8-hour work day.
People over the age of 60, have the easiest time of all. But, if you are 65 or older you are not eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits. Instead, you would apply for Social Security retirement benefits.
Are You Working Part-Time?
If you are working only part-time, you may be able to continue working, and still be eligible to collect Social Security disability benefits. If you are working part-time, and you earn less than $1,100.00 per month, before taxes, and you can’t work any more hours because of your disability, you should consider applying for Social Security disability benefits. However, you need to show why it is that you can work part-time, but could not work full-time if you were offered the same job on a full-time basis. It can’t just be a matter of the employer not needing you any more hours than that.
How Long Is your Disability Expected to Last?
Another thing to consider is how long you are expected to be unable to work full-time because of your disability. For example, heart disease and cancer are very serious conditions. They may require surgery and other treatment, including rehabilitation, during which you may be unable to work. But, to qualify for Social Security disability benefits you have to show that your illness or injury is so severe that it has caused you to be unable to work full-time for least one year, or is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death. Many people, even those with very serious health events, recover in less than a year because their treatment was successful.
This is not to say that you should wait a year to apply. If you have a serious disability that has rendered you unable to work full-time, you can apply. If you are denied, appeal. But, if at some time, while your claim is pending, you are able to return to work, that still does not mean necessarily that you should abandon or withdraw your claim for Social Security disability benefits. You can work for a few months to make sure you can sustain employment and your health condition does not deteriorate before you have to make that decision.
In this article, your Detroit disability lawyer explains how to determine if you are disabled. If after reading this article, you would like to file a claim, call 248-298-3003 today.