If you have sustained an injury or disability that you think could qualify you for Social Security Disability Benefits or Social Security Income, there are a few requirements you must meet before you can collect benefits. For instance, anyone who applies for benefits must have an impairment that prevents them from performing substantial gainful work activity for at least 12 months.
However, it may be difficult to understand what exactly those terms mean, and a simple misunderstanding could lead to a denial of benefits. With an experienced hearing claims advocate, you can improve your chances of obtaining benefits in a timely manner.
Below, we answer a few commonly asked questions about durational requirements for SSDI and SSI benefits.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) evaluates your ability to work to determine whether you are eligible for SSDI or SSI benefits. While working part-time or side jobs will not automatically discredit your benefits claim, the SSA would be looking to see if you are able to maintain substantial gainful activity.
Substantial gainful activity is generally defined as work that pays more than a certain dollar amount per month. In 2019, this amount was $1,220 for non-blind SSDI or SSI applicants.
If you make more than this amount in a given month, the SSA would likely determine that you engage in competitive employment and may deny your benefits for lack of disability. There are some exceptions, but this is the working definition that the SSA uses when assessing a person’s eligibility for disability benefits.
To quality for SSDI or SSI benefits, your medical records must contain evidence of your impairment. Your records must also indicate a doctor’s order to refrain from performing certain job duties as a result of your disabling condition. Physicians’ recommendations help establish a person’s inability to maintain or participate in substantial gainful activity.
Unless you have a qualifying condition and are automatically approved for benefits, you will have to wait for the SSA to assess your employment capabilities. Out of date medical records and errors in paperwork could also delay or influence the SSA’s decision on your case.
A common misconception about SSDI and SSI is that a person has to be disabled or impaired for a certain length of time before they can apply for benefits. This is incorrect.
According to current SSDI requirements, you can apply for disability immediately after sustaining an impairment or disability if your doctor believes that you will not be able to work for at least 12 months. If your doctor says that your impairment is likely to prevent you from participating in substantial gainful activity for at least a year and the SSA agrees, you may be granted disability benefits.
For some injuries, you may be granted disability benefits immediately upon filing. Obvious permanent injuries like the loss of a hand or other body part may lead the SSA to grant you benefits immediately. For temporary injuries such as wrist and ankle sprains or broken bones, the SSA will review your medical records and consult your physician about your prognosis.
While there is a five-month waiting period for many SSDI programs for disability benefits, you can begin working with an experienced SSDI or SSI lawyer from the beginning of your journey to ensure that your claim is free of errors.
The attorneys and advocates at the Khaki Law Firm understand the frustration and difficulties you may experience when dealing with the SSA. We can help you understand your resources and future possibilities, file your claim, and pursue any legal action against the parties responsible for your impairment or disability. Contact us today for an SSDI or SSI claim consultation.