If you struggle with a physical or mental health impairment that is keeping you from working, you may have asked yourself if you are eligible to receive Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.
The eligibility requirements as set forth by the Social Security Administration (SSA) are as follows:
- You must have a qualifying disability
- Your disability must have lasted at least 12 months, be expected to last at least 12 months or be expected to result in death
- You must have obtained enough credits over your work history to have paid into the system (for most people, this amounts to having worked at least five years during the last decade, although exceptions apply for younger workers)
What is a qualifying disability?
There are too many qualifying disabilities to list here, but some of the most common include:
- Heart disease
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Skin disorders
- Spinal cord injuries
Mental health disabilities:
- Bipolar disorder
Even if your disability is not on the SSA’s list of qualifying impairments, you may qualify if a combination of impairments makes it clear that you are unable to work.
The importance of medical documentation
No matter how badly you suffer from your disability, the SSA will not approve your claim without first seeing documented medical evidence. This is one reason it is so important to get treated, to follow your doctor’s orders, and to keep records of doctor visits, medications, surgeries and other medical events.
You should not, however, have to bear these legal and administrative duties by yourself. An experienced SSD attorney can help you obtain the documentation you need and guide you through all of the steps of the SSD application and/or appeals process. Your attorney can also give you the best possible chance of obtaining the benefits you need and deserve.