When a person has worked for many years only to suffer a catastrophic injury or illness, they tend to think that they can no longer support their family. Thankfully, the Federal Government’s Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program exists in order to give people with a history of hard work a lifeline.
Sadly, this program’s benefits are quickly or easily received and most applications are initially denied. A Dunedin SSDI lawyer can guide you through this multi-stage process and give you your strongest chance for a successful claim. Contact an experienced accident attorney and get started on your claim today.
Past Work Requirements
The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program requires that applicants have a significant work history. Credits are issued for every quarter year that a person works with a minimum income.
The amount of income needed for a quarterly credit has increased over the years but for 2016 the amount was $1,260. Over time, a worker needs to acquire 40 credits, 20 of which were earned in the past 10 years. For younger applicants, this number may change. For example, if an applicant has worked full time for the past 10 years, they will certainly have accumulated sufficient credits to qualify. However, if they only worked part-time for 10 credits over the past 10 years, they can no longer claim SSDI, regardless of how much they worked in the past.
The amount of money issued monthly varies from person to person but is generally based upon your lifetime earnings. Therefore, it is safe to assume that a person who made $40,000 per year would be eligible for a larger payout than a person who earned $25,000 per year. A detailed calculator for determining this amount can be found here.
It is also worth mentioning that there is no familial income requirement for SSDI. If someone’s spouse continues to work full-time, they can still successfully claim SSDI benefits, provided that they have a sufficient work history and a skilled Dunedin SSDI lawyer on their side.
To be eligible for SSDI, a person must be unable to participate in any substantially gainful employment. This means participating in any full-time job of at least 30 hours a week. It also requires that this disability can be expected to result in death, or has lasted, or can be expected to last, for a continuous period of no less than 12 months.
Contrary to popular belief, to qualify as disabled as defined by the Social Security Administration, a person must be unable to perform any work for at least 30 hours a week.
Just because a person cannot do their old job, does not mean that they cannot perform at another job, even if that job pays a much lower salary. For example, a former doctor who is severely depressed will need to demonstrate that his condition prevents him not only from practicing medicine but also from working as a store clerk.
Another common misconception is that people need to be physically disabled to claim benefits. This is patently untrue. Many applicants have successful claims based solely on mental conditions such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. In these cases, an applicant will need to demonstrate that the effects of the mental condition, such as depression or anxiety, are severe enough that the person cannot perform any job on a full-time basis.
Lastly, a person’s medical conditions must be under consistent care by a doctor or therapist. Simply having a diagnosis is insufficient. A pattern of care, either through surgery, therapy, or medication, is needed to demonstrate to the Social Security Administration that not only is a person’s condition real, but also that treatment has not resulted in any substantial, long-term improvement.
How a Dunedin SSDI Attorney Can Help
Applying for SSDI benefits can be stressful, as well as being a logistical nightmare. The amount of required paperwork is staggering and people often become lost in the details.
The fact of the matter is that most claims are rejected after a first application. This is because the Social Security Administration has very specific rules that must be followed.
An experienced Dunedin SSDI lawyer will be familiar with these rules and will organize and properly file your claim. If the claim is still rejected, they can appeal your case to an administrative law judge and argue your case in person.
Do not be discouraged by the SSDI process. Contact an SSDI and improve your chance of success.