Every day, the news reports stories about disabilities and injury accidents. Seldom does one consider how easily it might happen to them but studies show that a worker at 20 years of age has a 30% chance of becoming disabled before retirement. This is an unfortunate reality for many Americans in the workforce who sustained injuries that not only cost thousands of dollars up front, but drain the pocket book progressively by rendering them unable to work and support themselves. For this reason, the United States Social Security Administration (SSA) activated a program that offers financial service to the disabled workers of America and assists them in their recovery.
Along with the Supplemental Security Income program, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is the largest of several Federal programs for disabled people. With payments based on financial need and average wages, SSDI is a way that workers across the country can protect themselves if they become disabled. Unlike many other federal aid programs for disability, Social Security Disability Insurance is directly funded by those who benefit from it. It is intended only for those who have contributed to the program through taxes taken directly out of the paycheck. This means that the first qualification for Social Security Disability Insurance is that the applicant have worked in jobs covered by Social Security, which is an easy requirement to fill because most places of employment are covered by the program. There are more specific requirements for qualifying for SSDI concerning the length and nature of employment as well as the medical condition that has rendered the applicant disabled.
Definition of Disability
The first qualification for the insurance program is that the applicant meets the physically eligible. There are three ways in which applicants will be evaluated concerning their medical condition. The first requirement is that they are unable to perform the work they were involved with before their injuries. While some injuries are obvious as to their effect on a person's strength and mobility, such as spinal cord injuries and broken limbs, other conditions may be proven to meet this requirement through a physician evaluation.
Furthermore, the Social Security Disability program will conduct their own evaluation to determine whether the condition of the applicant restricts them from performing any other work duties in order to earn wages. Lastly, in order to qualify for the benefits, the applicant's disability must be expected to last at least one year or until death.
Since the program is funded by the workers who may at some point benefit from it, there are several requirements concerning the applicant's work history that may affect their ability to claim the benefits. Eligibility is determined through a credit system. Credits are accumulated based on wages earned. The amount needed for one credit changes by year according to inflation and average income.
For example, the requirement for one credit in 2013 is $1,160. That means that for every $1,160 earned, one credit will be added to the individual's records. In general, applicants must have 40 credits, half of which must have been earned in the last ten years, in order to qualify for benefits. The requirements for credit accumulation may differ based on the age of the applicant and younger applicants can qualify with fewer credits. For applicants under the age of 24, qualification requires six credits earned in the three year period prior to the disability. For those between the ages of 24 and 31, they must have credits for working half of the time between their 21st birthday and the day their disability began.
For instance, an applicant at 27 must have worked at least three out of the six years since their 21st birthday in order to receive benefits. Lastly, those over the age of 31 must have worked at least five years out of the prior ten years before their injuries in order to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance.
Social Security Disability Insurance is a beneficial way for disabled workers to survive financially while they recover from whatever condition has made them unable to support themselves. However, the application process can prove to be long and complicated. Delays may occur at the slightest mistake in the application. In order to ensure that the process is expedited and effective, applicants should seek legal counsel from an experienced personal injury attorney in the San Fernando Valley. If you or someone you know wants to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance, contact The Law Offices of Gerald L. Marcus to learn more about the program and how we can help you apply for the benefits.