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Social Security Disability Benefits Lawyers Explain Issues Regarding Eligibility For Benefits

April 12, 2017

If you have a claim for Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits in Atlanta or anywhere in the Southeast region of the United States, you may require legal assistance to pursue your claim. The application process is very complicated and cumbersome, and so is the appeal process. You may have already learned this about the Social Security Administration (SSA) if you have filed for benefits and were denied. However, being represented by Atlanta SSDI attorneys might increase the chances that you will be successful with your appeal.

The analysis of whether a person is eligible for SSDI benefits starts with determining if the individual has enough credits to qualify. The minimum amount of credits is determined by the age of the applicant. The general rule followed by the SSA is that the applicant must accumulate 40 credits, which is the equivalent of working ten years and making a minimum of $5,200 of qualifying income. Twenty out of the minimum 40 credits must be earned within ten years of becoming disabled.

The SSA does allow disabled people to apply for benefits even if they have not reached the minimum 40 credits. The guidelines breakdown as follows:

  • Before age 24 applicants generally need six credits earned in the three-year time frame ending with the disability;
  • Ages 24-30, applicants generally need credits amounting to working half time from age 21 until the applicant became disabled. 
  • After age 31 there are gradual minimum requirements which go up one credit for every calendar year, ending at 62 years old or older when the applicant generally needs 40 credits.

SSA's inquiry then shifts to whether a person is truly disabled. The SSA asks five questions, the answers to which determine if you will receive any benefits, and if so, how much and for how long.

The agency asks:

  1. Are you working? If the answer to the question is "yes" then you may be eligible for benefits if you make less than $1,130 per month.
  2. Is your condition severe? Every medical condition can be severe at one point or another. The inquiry investigates whether the claimed disability interferes with basic work activities. SSA will deny your claim for disability benefits if your medical condition does not interfere with the basic work requirements of your job.
  3. At this point, the agency compares your symptoms to a compilation of medical conditions it has already decided is severe. If your condition is not on the list, then the SSA will try to determine whether your condition is like a severe condition.
  4. Once the SSA is satisfied that the condition is severe, then they will examine whether you can do the same or similar work that you once performed. The SSA will deny your claim if they think you can continue to do the same work you did before.
  5. After that, the SSA will want to know if your previous work can be adjusted to accommodate your disability or whether you can adjust to other work, taking into consideration your age, work history, educational level and transferable skills that you might have.

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Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.