Am I Eligible for Social Security Disability Payments? If you have been injured or have a chronic illness and are incapable of working, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments. These payments can replace some of your lost wages, and after two years of receiving SSDI payments, you will be eligible for Medicare, which can help you pay your medical bills. However, you must meet three separate tests to qualify for SSDI, and even in the best case scenario, it will take months for your checks to arrive.
Three criteria for SSDI eligibility
You must meet all three of these criteria to be eligible for SSDI benefits:
1) You have worked "on the books" and paid FICA taxes
In most cases, you must have worked five out of the last ten years in order to be eligible for SSDI. However, this does not mean that you must have worked five full calendar years. If you are young and had a limited time to participate in the work force, you may qualify even if you have not worked for five years. You can request a statement of your Social Security earnings from the Social Security Administration (SSA) if you are not sure you meet the required amount of earnings.
2) You must be "disabled", as defined by the SSA
The fact that your doctor believes that you cannot work is helpful, but it is not sufficient. SSA uses a document called the Blue Book that defines various disabilities. If you have a specific diagnosis listed in the Blue Book and have the degree of impairment that SSA requires, then you have a “listed impairment” and you qualify for SSDI payments. If you do not have a listed impairment but you have more than one diagnosis, and if SSA believes that your illnesses or injuries, taken together, are similar to the severity of a listed impairment, then you can also qualify for SSDI.
3) Your disability must be expected to last for at least 12 months or to result in death
How quickly can I get my first check?
Review of an SSDI application generally takes 2-3 months. Even if you win benefits on this first level of review, your checks will not start until the end of a waiting period of 5 full months from your date of disability. For example, if you were unable to work starting on January 15, then you will have to wait until July 1 to become eligible. Depending on your monthly payment date, your first benefit payment should arrive sometime in August.
In some cases, your date of disability can be backdated to a date before you filed your application. In that case, your benefits would start based on this earlier date. Your attorney can advise you on whether you may qualify for an earlier date of disability.
Be aware that most applications are not approved the first time they are reviewed. It is estimated that 30-35 percent of applications are approved immediately, and another 30-35 percent are granted only after one or more appeals. In many cases, it can take two to three years before your benefits start. You will receive back pay – the benefits for the months in which you would have been eligible if your application had been approved initially – but you have to be able to survive financially until you are approved, and some claims are never approved at all.
For all these reasons, SSDI is designed for people who have serious physical or mental disabilities but who can survive without earnings until their Social Security Disability benefits are approved. If you believe that you may qualify for SSDI, contact our office to start the application process. The longer you wait, the longer it will take for you to get the benefits to which you are entitled. #VirginiaSSDAttorney #SocialSecurityDisability #Eligibility http://www.accidentattorneyva.com/va-ssd-attorney/