An illness or accident can quickly change your life. Those things that were once second nature may become impossible tasks, and you may even find yourself depending on others to get through the day. If this sounds like your life, you have likely made or are preparing to make the difficult decision to stop working. This is not an easy choice because bills still require payment.
Fortunately, the Social Security Administration provides benefits for those who qualify. Applying for disability benefits is complicated, and you may be like many who reach out for help from a skilled New York attorney. However, your first step is determining whether you are eligible for those benefits.
If your employer paid into the Social Security system, you have crossed the first hurtle of the process. The SSA requires you to earn a certain number of work credits, calculated by your earnings. For example, you acquire one credit for each $1,410 you earn, either through wages or self-employment, and you can collect up to four credits a year. Depending on your age, if you have at least 40 credits and have earned 20 of them in the last 10 years, you may be eligible for disability.
The next eligibility requirement is having a disability that fits the SSA’s definition, which includes the following rules:
- You are no longer able to work in the job you are leaving.
- Your illness or injury is severe enough to prevent you from holding gainful employment at any job.
- You have suffered with your disability for at least a year, or the doctor confirms your condition will last a year or longer or lead to your death.
The SSA maintains a list of qualifying conditions, but just because your specific condition is not on the list does not mean you are not eligible. You may qualify if you have severe symptoms or secondary conditions related to your illness or injury. The SSA will consider your medical reports and other evidence to determine your eligibility. They may ask you to submit to an examination by their own doctors.
You are not alone
You will not get rich from Social Security Disability payments, but they may assist you in paying your bills, obtaining the medical care you need and living as normal a life as possible despite your medical needs. This is why you may benefit from obtaining the assistance of an attorney who can guide you through the application process and advocate for you at every step.