If you have worked all of your life, the prospect of no longer being able to work can be frightening. As fewer businesses provide significant benefits packages that include items such as healthcare and disability benefits, workers may find that Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is their only option, unless they have purchased their own long-term disability insurance, which few have due to the high cost.
If you have worked the requisite amount of time, you may qualify for SSD. However, the Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a specific definition of disability in order to determine the award of SSD benefits. Inability to work is fundamental and there are three elements of the determination.
SSA states that "We consider you disabled under Social Security rules if:
You cannot do work that you did before; We decide that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death."
But reaching this conclusion can be a complex and difficult process. Your application must demonstrate by medical evidence each of the three factors, and depending on your medical condition, proving you meet each condition may be straightforward or very complex.
If documents are missing or if other parts of your application are incomplete, it can lead to SSA denying your application and the need to request a hearing with an administrative law judge to enable you to better explain your need for SSD benefits.
Many applicants find it helpful to work with an attorney experienced with SSD applications, hearings and appeals. Because they understand the procedures and evidentiary demands of the SSA, they can help ensure your application is complete and that it presents an accurate picture of your health and why you meet their definition if disability.