Best Ways to Qualify For Disability in 2023
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are available for qualifying workers who are unable to work because of a long-term or permanent injury or illness. Qualifying for SSDI benefits can be a difficult task. You’ll need to prove not only that you have a debilitating condition, but that you satisfy the other administrative and background requirements as well. The Social Security Administration (SSA) requires significant proof of all requirements before granting an application for benefits.
Continue reading to learn how you can maximize your chances of collecting Social Security Disability in 2023. If you need help obtaining Social Security Disability benefits, or for assistance responding to a benefits claim denial, call our seasoned Southern California disability lawyers.
Satisfy Work Requirements
To be eligible for SSDI benefits, you need to accumulate enough “work credits.” Work credits are a means to quantify your work history. Social Security benefits are meant to be a repayment of a worker’s investment into the program during their working years. As of 2023, workers earn one Social Security and Medicare credit for every $1,640 in covered earnings each year.
For most workers over the age of 30, applicants must have worked for at least ten years and earned a minimum of 40 credits. Twenty of those credits (or five years of work) should have occurred in the ten years leading up to the application for SSDI benefits. Younger workers may be able to qualify with fewer credits.
Prove Inability to Perform Substantial Gainful Activity
The SSA requires applicants to prove that they are unable to work and engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA) in order to qualify for benefits. SGA refers to the ability to work a job that earns a certain minimum amount of income each month. For individuals who are not blind, in 2023, SGA means the applicant earns at least $1,470/month. Blind individuals have a higher SGA threshold.
The SSA will evaluate not only the amount of income earned but also the nature of the work. A low income does not guarantee benefits, and even a higher income can be offset by other factors.
Prove Inability to Do Previous Job or New Work
The SSA will look at the applicant’s past relevant work history (PRW) when evaluating whether an applicant could obtain gainful employment and earn sufficient income without disability benefits. Applicants must show that, based on their current medical condition, they are unable to earn money at their previous jobs.
Prove Severity and Longevity of Condition
The SSA will evaluate the nature of the applicant’s medical condition to determine whether it counts as a qualifying disability. The condition must be so severe as to limit the applicant’s ability to do basic work-related activities, such as sitting, walking, lifting, standing, or remembering, for at least 12 months. Alternatively, an applicant can apply based on having a specific medical malady explicitly identified by the SSA. The condition must be debilitating and have lasted or be expected to last at least a year or be expected to result in death.
Part of the SSA’s analysis looks at whether the applicant’s condition affects their ability to perform activities of daily living, or ADLs. If the applicant is unable to perform normal, daily life tasks such as walking or moving, personal hygiene, dressing, cooking, cleaning, and recreational hobbies, the applicant has a much stronger chance of qualifying for SSDI benefits.
Applicants can boost their chances of obtaining benefits by seeing a physician and obtaining a comprehensive medical report detailing their condition and functional limitations. It helps to have the report in hand to submit along with the application, rather than waiting until after submitting the application to obtain a medical analysis.
Consult with a seasoned SSDI benefits attorney before you submit your initial application to ensure you do everything in your power to maximize your chances of obtaining the benefits you need.
Call Today for Help Obtaining the Disability Benefits You Need
For help collecting disability benefits or appealing a disability benefits denial in Southern California or statewide, call the compassionate and professional Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income (SSDI/SSI) attorneys of Drake & Drake at 818-914-4055.