Who qualifies for Social Security disability benefits

October 21,2014
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As a New York Social Security disability law firm can explain, you might be eligible for disability benefits if you have become disabled before reaching retirement age. Under the Social Security Act, an employee who becomes disabled is eligible for Social Security disability benefits. In most cases, eligible disabled workers will receive benefits in an amount equal to what the employee would have received upon full retirement.

Requirements for benefits

According to a New York Social Security disability law firm, you need to meet the following criteria in order to be found disabled:

  • Meet the qualifications for insured disability status. In other words, before you became disabled, you were working and made enough income during the required number of quarters (three month blocks).
  • Complete and file an application for Social Security disability benefits.
  • Wait the required five-month withholding period. This period begins with the month that you were disabled, as long as you were insured.
  • Are currently disabled, or were disabled during the 12 months prior to the month that you filed the application.
  • Are younger than the normal age of retirement.

How disability is determined

The Social Security Administration follows a five-step system for evaluating whether a person is disabled. The SSA’s definition of disability as a severe mental or physical impairment that makes it impossible for a person to do his or her previous work or any other kind of substantial gainful activity. This impairment must be expected to last, or has lasted, for a minimum of 12 months or will end in death.

As New York Social Security disability law firm will tell you, the SSA uses a five-step sequence of questions to determine whether or not a person is disabled. Following are the five steps:

Step one

Is the applicant taking part in substantial gainful activity or working currently? If the answer to this question is yes, the person will not be found disabled, no matter what medical condition he or she has. If the answer to the question is no, proceed to step two.

Step two

Does the applicant have one or more medical impairments that are expected to last for at least one year or result in death and severely impairs the person’s ability to perform basic work-related tasks? If the answer to this question is no, the person will not be found disabled. If the answer to the question is yes, proceed to step three.

Step three

Can the impairment, or an equivalent, be found entered in the Listing of Impairments, specifically in the regulations, 20 C.F.R. pt. 404, subpt. P, app. 1, Appendix 1? If the answer to the question is yes, the person will automatically be found disabled. If the answer to the question is no, then proceed to step four.

Step four

What is the residual functional capacity of the applicant? In other words, does the person have the physical and mental capacity to perform the work he or she was doing? If the answer is yes, then the person will not be found disabled. If the answer to the question is no, proceed to step five.

Step five

Taking the applicant’s work experience, education and age into consideration, does he or she have the capacity to perform other work activity and does this type of work exist in significant numbers?

Through the first four steps, the burden of proving disability falls on the claimant; however, the burden of proof shifts to the government for step five, says a New York Social Security disability attorney.

Loss of benefits

You are required to report your increase in or return to work, any income increase or changes in your medical condition because any of these factors may impact your ongoing eligibility, says a New York Social Security disability attorney. In addition, your eligibility may be subject to review by the SSA.

Seeking representation from a New York Social Security disability law firm

If you would like a free case evaluation, contact the New York Social Security disability law firm Hermann Law Group, PLLC at 1-877-773-3030.