In order for one to qualify for Social Security disability, there's more to it than just being too impaired to work. A person will also have to meet the financial requirements to receive benefits.
Before getting started, you also need to understand there are two kinds of disability offered through the Social Security Administration. First, there is SSDI, which is the disability I want you to understand today, but there is also SSI, which is needs based and doesn't require a sufficient amount of work credits to qualify. It has its own set of financial requirements separate from SSDI.
But for today, let's talk about SSDI. This is the Social Security Disability Insurance a person pays through his or her FICA taxes each time you receive a paycheck or self-employment tax one pays each quarter or at the end of the year.
Every time you go to work and are paid on a Friday, these taxes are deducted from your paycheck. As you continue to work, you begin and continue to earn work credits for each quarter you make over a certain dollar amount. These are called quarters of coverage, and for 2017, when you earn up to and more than $1,300.00 every three months, you will receive a work credit for that quarter. As the year progresses, you will earn up to 4 credits total each year.
Now, there is something else you need to know.
In order for a person to qualify for SSDI, he or she must not only meet the medical requirements of what it means to be disabled, but he or she must also have sufficient work credits as well. What happens many times, is that a person becomes too ill to work but does not file for disability right away. In fact, many people wait five or more years before they ever realize they could possibly qualify. But, by that time, it may have been too late. Unless a person can show his or her disability arose prior to the time in which their coverage lapsed, even if they are too ill to work, he or she may not qualify.
SSDI is an insurance program just like private insurance. Each time you pay taxes, you are paying into a premium which allows you to have coverage. And, just like private insurance, if you stop paying, coverage is lost.
Here is a rule to live by, within five years of no longer working, you must apply for Social Security disability benefits or your coverage may be lost. I say "may" because if you can not support medically that you were disabled prior to your coverage lapsing, then you will no longer be insured. But, if you can show through your medical records that you were disabled prior to the time you no longer had coverage, then you will at least be allowed to have your claim reviewed and either approved or denied.
The moral to this story: Make sure if you are no longer capable of working full-time, you file for SSDI benefits as soon as possible. As most of you know, most people are denied their first time. But, since you will have a couple of years before your coverage expires, this will give you ample opportunity to continue to appeal your claim. And, another rule to live by, even if you do receive a denial, do not let your 60 day appeal time expire either. Keep appealing your case until you have at least had a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. Many cases are won at the hearing level, even when people were denied on their first two tries. If you continue to stop and start over each time you are denied, you run the risk of losing coverage. Often, a person will apply, receive a denial, and wait six months to a year to apply again. If this is you, then you are ever moving towards that date when you will no longer be insured.
We represent claimants throughout Texas and California fighting for their Social Security disability benefits. You can always contact our office at: (888) 780-9125. We'd love to hear from you.