Do you believe you have a physical or mental condition that keeps you from working?
Here are the basics:
(1) You cannot be working and earning more that $1,130.00 per month if you are not blind. If you are blind and working, you cannot make more than $1,820.00 per month. If you are working and earning over these amounts, then you will not qualify for Social Security disability benefits.
(2) Is your condition severe? In other words, does your mental or physical condition severely affect your ability to work? If it only moderately or slightly affects your ability to work, then you will also not qualify for Social Security disability benefits.
(3) Think back about all the jobs you had over the last fifteen years. Taking into consideration your mental or physical impairment, can you go back and do one of those jobs? If you can still do one of those jobs, even with your disabling condition, then you are not considered disabled.
(4) Taking into consideration your age and education and any skills you obtained while working at one of those other jobs over the last fifteen years, can you do something else? If the Social Security Administration believes that you are capable of doing something else, then you will not be considered disabled. On the other hand, if the Administration believes you are not able to do some other type of work and you have satisfied the other requirements, then you may just qualify for Social Security disability benefits.
Here's some pointers if you do decide to apply for benefits:
(1) File your application online. You will receive a confirmation number which will help you track your claim. I cannot stress the importance of filing your application electronically.
(2) Prepare before you file your application. Be able to accurately tell the Social Security Administration where and when you sought medical treatment for your mental or physical condition that keeps you from working. The SSA will actually retrieve your medical records for you, but you need to be able to tell them where and when you were admitted to a hospital or saw your doctor. Many claims are denied for the mere fact that the claimant is unable to establish he or she has a medically determinable impairment that keeps them from working.
(3) Read everything the Social Security Administration sends you. Almost every written notice you are sent contains instructions for you to do something important. Don't ignore written letters. If you do, you claim will be significantly delayed or denied.
(4) Be sure and fill out for SSA-827 and send it in after you file your claim. This allows SSA to be able to retrieve your medical records. This form allows your doctor or hospital to turn over your private medical records so the Administration can determine whether or not you are disabled.
(5) Don't give up. This may be a long process and if you really are unable to work, then you may have to file one or more appeals in order to receive disability benefits.