How Does Social Security Determine If I Am Disabled?
Social Security uses a five step process, called the sequential evaluation, to determine disability. They will look at the first step to see if you’re performing what they call a substantial gainful activity, which is work. That would include any work that involves a gross pay of over approximately $1,200 per month. If you’re not performing substantial gainful activity, Social Security will go to the second step and look at what your medically determinable impairments are. They’ll look to see which ones are severe. If you have any that are so severe that they automatically qualify for disability, then the process ends at step two, and you’re granted disability benefits. If not, then they will move on to step three, which involves the listings of impairments. Those impairments will involve multiple impairments and can combine different impairments together to work as a whole.
Step four would look at the past relevant work history that you have, as far as exertion and the skill level of your work. They’ll look to see if, given the impairments and disabilities you have now, you can do your past work. If you cannot do your past work, then they move forward to any other work that you can do in the economy. There are skill levels and disability levels that Social Security will look at to determine if there’s other work that you can do in the national economy that would be easier than the work that you had done in the past.
What Types Of Different Social Security Disability Benefits Are There?
There are two separate types of social security disability. There’s Social Security Insurance (SSI) and there is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Social Security Insurance is a needs based program that is for people who might not have a work history and don’t have income or assets. There’s a limit on the amount of assets you can have for SSI and there also is a limit to the amount of income that you can have in the household. Social Security Disability Insurance is based on the earnings record that you pay into. Money is taken out during your work career, as an insurance policy that assures you get some benefit at the end, when you’re not able to work.
How Do I Apply For Social Security Disability Benefits?
You can apply for disability online, by phone, or in person. An attorney can also assist people in applying.
Do I Have To Spend All Of My Money Before Applying For Social Security Disability Benefits?
You do not need to spend down your money before applying for disability benefits. While SSI does have an asset requirement, you should make your application when you become disabled and then, you can work out the amount of assets that you’re allowed to have.
I Used To Work But I Quit To Take Care Of My Children. I am Now Sick, Can I Still Get Social Security Benefits?
Under the two programs, if you don’t have any other income in your household, you can file for SSI benefits, no matter when you first became disabled. If you have worked within the last five years, then you would still typically have coverage under the Social Security Disability Insurance program. Under that program, you would be able to apply for disability benefits even though you had stopped working. They would still process your application as if you were disabled from the time that you became disabled, not when you stopped working.
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