The Social Security Disability program is administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and was established to help provide disabled claimants with monthly cash benefits. Unfortunately, it can be difficult and time-consuming to apply for benefits and many applications are denied, so if you have a serious disability and are unable to secure steady employment, it is important to contact an experienced Rockford Social Security Disability attorney who can walk you through the application process.
Before a person can receive benefits, he or she must fulfill certain federal requirements. For instance, to be eligible for benefits, an applicant must have a medical condition that is expected to last for at least one year or to end in death. To determine whether a condition or illness reaches the level of a disability, the SSA analyzes:
- The applicant’s work history; and
- Whether the condition is so severe that it interferes with basic work-related duties.
A medical condition will automatically be considered severe if it is included on the SSA’s list of disabling conditions. Fortunately, even when an illness or injury is not included on the list, applicants still have a chance of collecting benefits if they can demonstrate that they are unable to perform the same type of work as was required where they were previously employed. Finally, the SSA will assess whether the applicant could adjust to another type of work by taking into account his or her:
- Medical condition;
- Past work experience; and
- Transferable skills.
If, after a review of the evidence, the SSA determines that an applicant could not sustain alternative employment, it will move on to an analysis of the applicant’s work history.
Before the SSA will officially approve an application for benefits, it will analyze the claimant’s work history. This requires that applicants satisfy two earnings requirements tests, which are known as:
- The recent work test; and
- The work duration test.
To satisfy the recent work test, applicants must submit evidence that they were employed for a specific amount of time in the years preceding the disability. For instance, if an applicant’s disability began before the age of 24 years old, he or she must have been employed for at least one and half years during the previous three-year time period. If, on the other hand, a disability began after age 24, but before the age of 31 years old, the applicant must have worked for at least half of the time from age 21 until his or her current age. Finally, after a claimant has turned 31 years old, he or she must have been gainfully employed for at least five of the last ten years.
Under the work duration test, a claimant must also demonstrate that he or she worked for a certain number of years during his or her lifetime before becoming disabled. Unlike the former test, the work duration test does not require employment to fall within a specific time period. As long as the claimant was employed for long enough prior to the disability, he or she will satisfy the test.
Compiling the evidence that is necessary to submit a claim and complying with the SSA’s many procedural guidelines can be extremely difficult and in some cases, an applicant’s failure to comply with these rules within a certain timeline could lead to the denial of a claim. Having the advice and guidance of an experienced Social Security Disability attorney can prove crucial to a claimant’s success.
Contact a Dedicated Rockford Social Security Disability Attorney
If you have questions about the status of your own claim for benefits, please contact Tuite Law today by calling (815) 965-5777 to speak with an experienced Rockford Social Security Disability attorney who can address your concerns.