Michigan Social Security Disability Eligibility Lawyer
Throughout your work history, part of every paycheck went into the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program to provide you with benefits should you later become disabled and unable to work. Just because you paid into the system doesn’t necessarily mean you are eligible for benefits, however. And even people who are eligible to receive benefits find it difficult to claim those benefits without professional legal assistance. Below we describe some of the critical factors needed for SSD eligibility so you can gain a better understanding of whether or not you might be eligible for benefits. For a more thorough evaluation of your eligibility or for help getting SSD benefits in Michigan or across the U.S., contact Nationwide Disability Law for a free consultation with an experienced and knowledgeable Michigan Social Security Disability eligibility lawyer.
Defining Disability in the Social Security Context
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a specific definition of disability that is probably much stricter than you would have thought. According to the SSA, to be considered disabled:
- You must be unable to perform the work that you did before;
- SSA must decide that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and
- Your disability must last or be expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.
Further, it is essential to note that the SSA only covers total disability. Partial or short-term disabilities do not qualify for benefits.
Work Credits: The Key to Eligibility
Work credits are a pivotal element in determining SSD eligibility. You earn these credits when you work and pay Social Security taxes. You can earn up to four work credits per year, and it doesn’t take long to acquire these credits, as it only takes earning $1,360 to acquire a work credit (as of September 2019).
The number of work credits needed to qualify for disability benefits depends on your age when you became disabled. Generally, you need 40 credits, 20 of which were earned in the last 10 years ending with the year you became disabled. However, younger workers may qualify with fewer credits.
Medical Eligibility: Meeting the Listings
The SSA maintains a Listing of Impairments, often referred to as the “Blue Book.” This document outlines conditions that are severe enough to prevent a person from participating in “substantial gainful activity.” If your condition is in this book and meets the listed criteria, you will likely qualify for benefits.
If your condition isn’t listed, don’t lose hope. You may still be eligible if you can demonstrate that your disability is as severe as a medically equivalent listed impairment. Alternatively, if your condition prevents you from working and will last at least 12 months or result in death, you might still be considered for SSD benefits.
Financial Eligibility: Substantial Gainful Activity
Lastly, to qualify for SSD, you must not be able to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA). As of 2021, if you’re able to earn an amount above a certain monthly limit (which varies based on factors like blindness), the SSA may consider you capable of SGA. If so, you would not qualify for disability benefits.
Legal Assistance With SSD Eligibility in Michigan
Navigating the SSD process can be daunting, especially when you’re already grappling with the pain and stress of a disability. This is where we come in. From our offices in Mount Clements and Traverse City, Nationwide Disability Law offers professional legal advice and representation to clients throughout Michigan and across the nation. Our dedicated team is equipped with the knowledge and experience to assist with your SSD application, ensuring it aligns with the strict eligibility criteria set by the SSA.
Every case is unique, and each client deserves personalized attention and guidance. Whether you’re preparing your initial application, appealing a denied claim, or simply need advice, our team is here for you. Contact Nationwide Disability Law today, and let an experienced Michigan Social Security disability attorney help you navigate the complex world of Social Security Disability eligibility.