From Today’s Chicago Tribune, an article that breaks down the application process to its simplest steps. It’s important to note that you must have been out of work for twelve months, or have a doctor’s opinion that your disability will keep you out of work for at least the next twelve months.
“According to the Social Security Administration, one-quarter of 20-year-olds will become disabled by age 67. For some of them, a key part of making ends meet will be Social Security disability benefits. However, the process for filing for and obtaining these benefits is not easy. The information that follows will help you understand SSA disability and improve your chances to qualify.
“According to Social Security, your disability must meet the following criteria to merit benefits.
1. You must have a “severe” medical impairment that prevents you from performing any substantial gainful work.
2. The impairment must have lasted or be expected to last at least one year, or to result in death.
3. Your impairment must prevent you from doing the same work you did before its onset.
4. You cannot adjust to other work because of your medical impairment.
‘There is a further eligibility requirement: You must have sufficient work credits, based on your total yearly wages or self-employment income. Generally you need 40 credits, 20 of which were earned in the last 10 years. Younger workers can apply with fewer credits. The SSA web site breaks down the work requirements by age. If you have earned $4,640 in a year, you have earned 4 credits.
“Apply when you are no longer working full time and/or you have a reasonable expectation you will be unable to return to full time work within 12 months. It will probably take at least six months for SSA to process your initial application.” http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/sns-201310151930–tms–savingsgctnzy-a20131015-20131015,0,4798525.story
Although the application can be done online, it is beneficial to have legal help in the process early on, to be sure it goes through as early as possible. We can help with this by making sure every “i” is dotted, every “t” crossed, and that every scrap of available medical evidence is in your file.