What is Social Security Disability?

Understanding the nuances of Social Security can be difficult, but this information becomes even more complex when you need Social Security disability benefits. This program was designed to help those that have recently become disabled and can no longer pay for the countless expenses that will accrue after a disability removes them from work. Unfortunately, a relatively high percentage of claims are denied, but you can improve your chances of receiving assistance if you understand exactly how these programs work, who qualifies, and the most effective methods to apply for financial assistance.

Understanding the Difference between SSD and SSI

There are two primary programs that are offered by Social Security for those that have become disabled: Social Security disability and supplemental security income. Supplemental security income, also referred to as SSI, is based on the financial needs of the individual regardless of any payments he or she has made into Social Security over the years. Unlike SSI, Social Security disability and Social Security disability insurance are programs that were developed for those that have worked qualified jobs and paid into the Social Security system for a specific amount of time.

Minimum Requirements and Qualifications

Outside of SSI, Social Security benefits can only be acquired after working under a field of “covered employment” for a sufficient amount of years. This means that the individual was verified to have been working within a specific company as well as paying into the Social Security system. These programs refer to these years of work as “work credits”, which can then be applied to various Social Security programs, including Social Security Disability Insurance. The number of work credits required vary between each person and are determined by the individual’s current age, their age at retirement, the type of benefits they are likely to need, and if they have dependents.

Which Disabilities Qualify?

Unfortunately, not all disabilities qualify for these programs and upwards of 70 percent of all applicants are turned down due to insufficient work credits or an inability to pass the screening. The primary factor is that the individual must have what is referred to as a full or total disability. Partial disabilities are not covered within the programs and the individual may have to explore other benefit options. The three other requirements state that the individual has to have a medical issue preventing him or her from working, does not allow him or her to transfer to a new job, and will result in at least a year of unemployment.

Screening, Testing, and Appeals

The primary screening and testing includes step-by-step questions to determine if the individual has had to stop working or if he or she has been tested by a medical professional and diagnosed with a common debilitating medical condition. For those that have been denied SSD, there are multiple options for appeals including an online appeal that allows for further explanation of one’s disability.