Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. Attorneys at Law

An overview of Social Security Disability benefits

Social Security Disability Insurance benefits provide an important means of financial support for people in Alabama who have suffered an incapacitating illness or injury. Obtaining such benefits can, however, be a lengthy and difficult process. This post will provide an overview of how a person qualifies for SSD benefits.

The requirements for obtaining Social Security Disability benefits fall into three categories. The first is whether the applicant has made sufficient payments into the Social Security System.In order to be eligible for benefits, a person must have worked a minimum of 1.5 years if disability occurs prior to attaining the age of 28. If disability occurs thereafter, the applicant must have worked an additional year of work for every 2 years in age.

The formal eligibility requirement based on years of work is fairly straightforward. The real hurdle is posed by the definition of disability. Regardless of whether the cause of the disability is an illness or an injury, applicants must prove that they are totally and permanently disabled and unable to perform the duties of their job. The Social Security Administration looks at both the nature of the illness or injury and the effect that it has on the applicant's work. The medical condition that caused the disability must have lasted or be expected to last 12 months or to result in death. Applicants generally rely on medical opinions from their treating physicians and employment records to prove the existence and extent of their disability.

The SSA also provides an extensive appeal process for applications that are initially denied. Anyone who is considering filing an application for disability benefits may wish to consult a lawyer who practices in the field of SSD claims and appeals. Such a consultation can provide a helpful evaluation of the claim and an estimate of the likelihood of obtaining benefits.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Disability Benefits," accessed on Feb. 13, 2017

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