Social Security Disability Insurance is a complicated subject, in large part because people are not really sure which rules need to be met for your application to be accepted. In Oregon, only about 33% of people are approved on the first application. However, the general position of the Social Security Administration (SSA) is that people with disabilities may be able to qualify for one of two federal disability programs: Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income. The SSA controls both of these programs, but what is required of a disability is deeper than what most people will expect.

If you have worked for a job that was covered by Social Security, then are you able to start the process for applying for SSDI; by paying into Social Security though your employment, you are establishing the first step in the process. In addition, the SSA has their own criteria based on monetary, medical and demographic factors to determine if you are eligible for the program. They review if you are able to earn money monthly in the amount of approximately $1,130; if you earn more than that, or have been able to work regularly despite your disability, you likely will not qualify. Disabled, according to the SSA, means that the condition of the applicant must interfere with basic work related activities and that you are unable to do any type of work on a regular basis. It is irrelevant if you are just unable to continue your most previous occupation.

The SSA also maintains a list of impairments, or medical reasons for not being able to perform job duties. Take a look at the following website; the categories on the left side explain the medical conditions that are considered a disability:

https://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/listing-impairments.htm

This site has extensive information that could be used to determine whether you qualify as an applicant, but it is best to confer with a lawyer to make sure you can build a strong case before applying.

Another thing to remember is that applicants cannot be over sixty two years of age, because that is considered full retirement age and you will be eligible for the SSA’s full or unreduced benefits.

Though these are federal benefits, you will be applying and filing paperwork for SSDI at your local state office, which you can find here: https://secure.ssa.gov/ICON/ic001.do.

Unfortunately, your chance of receiving federal aid for your disability is not guaranteed. However, your case can be appealed, and you can reapply if you feel you’ve been denied unjustly. Our next blog post will help explain the particulars of this process and the help that an attorney can offer during that time.