You may qualify for Social Security disability benefits through the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) if you have a medical condition that prevents you from working. These benefits may help you cover the cost of food, housing, and other such basic needs.
Are you not sure whether your condition is one that would qualify you for benefits? The following guide will help if so.
Determine If You Cannot Work
Various factors can influence whether an individual qualifies for disability benefits. Generally, though, a person may prove eligibility by showing that they have a disability that:
- Prevents them from working both past jobs and other jobs, AND
- Either is expected to last at least 12 months OR is expected to result in death
Be aware that your personal opinion has little bearing on the SSA’s decision to approve or reject an application. You need to provide medical evidence showing that your disability genuinely prevents you from working and will likely last at least one year or result in your passing. An attorney could potentially help you gather such evidence to strengthen your claim.
Look At The Blue Book
The SSA’s Blue Book is a general resource listing the various types of conditions that might qualify an applicant for disability benefits. Check the Blue Book to see if there is a listing for your condition. Most listings will also include information regarding the types of evidence and documentation you might need to provide when submitting an application.
Continue To Seek Treatment
Seeking treatment and continuing with recommended treatment plans is essential when applying for disability benefits. First, it’s worth keeping in mind that continuing with treatment may improve your odds of making a swift recovery, which should be your top priority.
Second, continuing with a recommended treatment plan and seeing your doctor regularly illustrates to the SSA that you aren’t attempting to extend your disability. Your goal is to demonstrate to the SSA that you’re not intentionally striving to remain disabled so that you will still qualify for benefits.
Get an RFC Done
A Residual Functioning Capacity (RFC) assessment provides the SSA with detailed information about your inability to perform various work-related tasks. You must submit an RFC form as part of your application.
A doctor must help you complete the RFC form. Typically, said doctor will be your own physician. However, if your own doctor isn’t able or willing to help, the SSA may connect you with a doctor who can.
Get Help With Your Claim
Determining whether you even qualify for benefits is just one step in what could be a lengthy process. Luckily, you don’t need to apply for benefits alone.
Consider reviewing your case with a disability lawyer. They can explain whether you appear to meet the eligibility criteria. If you hire a lawyer, they could also help you gather evidence for your application, potentially improving your chances of receiving an approval from the SSA. Learn more about how a disability attorney could help you by taking the Free Case Evaluation and get connected with an independent attorney who subscribes to the website and may be able to help with your case.