When should I file?

When should I file for Social Security Disability benefits?

Even though the definition requires that the impairment last or be expected to last at least one year, you do not need to wait to file for benefits. If you have become disabled from a serious injury or illness and you do not think you will be able to return to work within the year, you can file. You may lose benefits if you wait to file.  

Am I Disabled?

How does the Social Security Administration determine whether I am Disabled?

SSA defines Disability as   “the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or has lasted  or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”

It is important to understand that SSA considers many different factors when determining whether you are disabled. Your medical evidence is very important, but SSA will also consider your age, past relevant work, educational background and any factors that may affect your ability to perform work.  The combination of all of your physical and mental impairments must be assessed when making a determination of disability.

The process can be a long, frustrating and confusing one. You may have to appeal and ultimately take your case to a hearing. Some people become discouraged and give up pursuit of their claim. You may have to prepare to exercise perseverance and patience. 

Do I Qualify for Disability?

How do I know if I qualify for Social Security Disabled benefits?

There are different types of Social Security benefits for individuals who are disabled:

  1. Social Security Disability Benefits   To qualify, the disabled or blind individual must have paid Social Security taxes to become insured for benefits. The monthly disability benefit amount is based on the Social Security earnings record of the insured worker. The individual will get Medicare coverage automatically after receiving disability benefits for two years.
  2. Supplemental Security Income Benefits   To qualify, the disabled or blind adult must have limited income and resources. The monthly benefit is based on need and varies up to the maximum federal benefit rate. The disabled individual is automatically eligible for Medicaid.
  3. Child Supplemental Security Income Benefits   To qualify as a child, the parents and the child must have limited income and resources. (A child over age 18 who had a disability that began before the age of 22 may qualify for Social Security Disability from their parent’s record. They must have a parent who is receiving benefits or who is deceased and worked long enough to become insured.)
  4. Disabled Widow or Widower’s Benefits   To qualify, you must be over 50 and have become disabled within seven years after your husband or wife died.