Shot of a young nurse caring for a senior man in a retirement home

How Do I Become Insured for Social Security Disability?

Just about everyone knows that Social Security is something you get when you retire. You may have also heard of something called Social Security Disability Insurance to cover you when you’re seriously hurt. The term “insurance” is confusing to some people who wonder what they have to do in order to be insured.

In the end, qualifying to get SSDI is a factor of having worked enough and having a qualifying condition. Read a guide to getting benefits through social security disability, what it means to be insured, and how an attorney can help you successfully file.

How Do I Get Insured for Social Security Disability?

To become eligible for SSDI, you need to have worked for long enough to build up a certain number of work credits, each of which you get from earning $1,220 as of 2015. You can earn up to four credits every year, maximum. This means if you earn $4,800 in a year you have gotten the maximum credits. Alternately, you need to have met a minimum “recent work” requirement.

If you are under 24 years old, you need to have earned six credits or worked for at least eighteen months within the prior three years. If you’re between 24 and 31 years old, you need to have earned 18 credits over the past 4.5 years or have worked at least half the years since you turned 21. Finally, if you’re over the age of 31, you must have earned 20 credits, or have worked at least five of the past ten years. The numbers continue to rise as you get older — if you’re over the age of 62, you need ten years of work or 40 credits.

Qualifying Disabilities

In addition to qualifying based on work or work credits, you need to have a condition that stops you from holding down gainful employment. If you can’t earn at least $1,090 in a month for a period of at least 12 months, you may qualify. The SSA maintains a list of specific conditions that will automatically allow you to qualify for benefits. This list is colloquially known as the “blue book,” and is based on American Medical Association (AMA) guidelines.

To determine if you qualify, the SSA will consider your limitations as well as whether you have the ability to transfer to a new line of work. They will also consider your age and education.

Applying for Disability

You can apply for disability benefits either online at the SSA website, by visiting your local Social Security office in person, or by calling the administration. You’ll need your social security number and as much detail and documentation of your condition as possible. Even then, you could find yourself denied benefits.

If you do get denied, it’s not the end of the world. You can appeal SSDI denials, but you’ll need help from a qualified and experienced disability lawyer. If you’re in Southern California and need advice on applying for social security disability, call the Law Offices of Dr. Bill LaTour for a free consultation today.  

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