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Social Security Disability Benefits: Who is eligible?

Social Security Disability | Gaylord & Nantais Workers' Comp attorney

Social Security disability benefits is a term used to describe the monetary benefits that can be awarded to those individuals who are unable to work because of a severe illness or injury. The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides payments to disabled workers and eligible dependents until they become financially independent.

Approximately, 8.8 million people in the US receive Social Security disability benefits each month, making it one of the most elaborate programs in the country. These benefits are essential for disabled people who cannot work and intend to keep receiving benefits for a long time.

Social Security does not consider any medical condition too minor to qualify for disability benefits. That being said, certain conditions do have higher chances of being approved than others. Given below is a list

Most common conditions that qualify for disability benefits :

  • 1. Depression
  • 2. Diabetes
  • 3. Heart disease/hypertension

The first thing to know about disability benefits is that they are never too far away. If you have any disability and need assistance, you can apply for disability benefits at any time. You’ll have to wait until you get approval or denial based on your application.

You can apply for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA) or online at their website. It’s best to go to the SSA in person so that you can make your application on time. You can usually do this anywhere in the country, even if you’re not currently living there.

Applying for disability benefits begins with an application to the SSA, which then evaluates whether or not the applicant meets the eligibility requirements. If the SSA determines that you meet these requirements, they will send you a letter that asks you to complete an Activity Report Form (AFR).

Who is eligible for Social Security Benefits?

To be eligible for disability benefits under State Disability Insurance (SDI), you must pay into Social Security through income tax deductions and have a qualifying disease as determined by the Social Security Administration (SSA). As with SSDI, you must be “fully disabled” before you can receive SSI benefits. To be eligible for SSDI, you must also have a physical or mental illness that meets the SSA definition of disability, a severe, long-term total disability. Specifically, the SSA considers a person to be disabled if :

  • (1) The applicant is unable to perform their previous job
  • (2) The applicant cannot adapt to another job due to their medical condition. 

In addition, if your condition is severe but not at the same level of severity as the medical condition listed by the SSA, the DDS inspector must determine if the condition interferes with your ability to do the same work as before. If your state does not prevent you from doing your previous work, you will not be considered disabled. Suppose Social Security decides that you can accommodate another suitable job based on your condition, age, education, previous work experience, and other factors. In that case, you will not be considered disabled, and your application will be denied. 

Suppose the office determines that you have sufficient work credits to qualify for disability benefits. In that case, it will forward your application to the disability determination service office in your state, which will decide if you meet the disability criteria set by the Security Administration. The DDSD Disability Claims Expert will determine if you are eligible for disability benefits from your doctor. If you were denied benefits, you could appeal by asking DDSD to reconsider your application.

These benefits are based on average lifetime earnings, not family income or the severity of an individual disability. However, the total amount of these benefits cannot exceed 80% of the average salary before the onset of disability. The total amount that a disabled employee and his family can receive is approximately 150% to 180% of the disability employee benefit. Benefits for short-term and partial disability are not paid.  

What to do if your Social Security Benefits application is denied?

More than 60% of Social Security Benefits Applications are denied at the initial stages. After your application is rejected, you can apply for reconsideration or an appeal. With the help of an experienced Social Security Disability Advocate or attorney, you may still get your benefits.

The Social Security Benefits Lawyer will go through your application and help you understand the reason behind the denial. Understanding the causes that led to the rejected application will make your claim/appeal stronger and thus increase your chances of attaining your benefits.

Are you applying for SSDI and are looking for legal advice. Gaylord and Nantais experienced Social Security Disability Benefits Lawyers have your back. At Gaylord & Nantais’ attorneys, our attorneys have more than 40 years of expertise in successfully representing people. We have experience with claims in various sectors and will do our utmost best to protect your rights.

To book a free evaluation, call Gaylord & Nantais Attorneys at (562) 561-2669 or (213) 732-3436.


Thomas M. Nantais

Thomas M. Nantais

Thomas M. Nantais is the Partner of Gaylord & Nantais, a legal firm specializing in workers’ compensation, in the state of California. This firm deals in getting hearing loss compensation and work related injuries compensation for those who have worked in the state of California. With his sincere efforts, Thomas is committed to meet the highest standards of the legal industry, and aims to provide the clients with an honest and aggressive representation.

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