Read PDF When Do We Get To The Good Stuff? Disabled, and living in America

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You must be unable to do not only the job you were doing when you became disabled, but also any other job for which you're qualified. The SSA will look at your transferrable skills to find out whether you can do any work despite your disabling condition. In general, the younger you are, the more likely it is that the SSA will decide you have transferrable skills and can find some type of work despite your disability. If you don't have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI, it's possible you may be able to qualify based on a spouse's or parent's work record.

For example:. The Social Security Administration has more information on qualifying for benefits on a family member's work history.


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If you can't qualify based on your own work record or a family member's work record, then you will not be able to get SSDI benefits. However, you may still be eligible for disability benefits through the Supplemental Security Income program.

Social Security

Supplemental Security Income benefits are awarded to with a disabling condition, a low income, and limited resources. Seniors over 65 can also qualify for SSI benefits.


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SSI benefits are funded through general tax revenue, rather than through special taxes collected solely for the program. You can qualify for these benefits regardless of your work history, but you must have low income and few valuable assets. It's not based on past wages but is instead a fixed amount based on the federal benefit rate.

Moving to the USA

This would mean you're over 65, you're legally blind, or you meet the SSA's definition of disabled. You can't get SSI benefits if you're engaged in substantial gainful activity. Because SSI benefits are needs-based, there are other rules when it comes to income as well.

The SSI counts only certain types income in determining whether you will receive reduced benefits or become ineligible. This includes income earned from working, workers' compensation or unemployment benefits, the Department of Veterans' Affairs, other Social Security benefits, or family or friends. If you're provided with free food or shelter, this also counts as income.

Learning Disabilities in Children

There's also a limit on how much you can own before you become ineligible for SSI. However, some of your assets -- such as the home you live in, one vehicle, and some personal property -- won't count when determining your resources. If you give away your resources to fall below the asset limits, you could be disqualified from getting SSI benefits for up to 36 months.

This is not as easy as it sounds. For the SSA to consider you disabled, your condition must:. More than half of all applicants for disability benefits are denied, often because their ailment does not meet this very limited definition of what it means to be disabled. It's divided into Part A, which lists adult conditions, and Part B, which lists children's conditions. Within each part, there are specific categories of medical ailments that deal with different parts of the body, including:.

In each of these individual subsections are diseases, disorders, and medical problems that the SSA believes may allow you to qualify for benefits.

The SSA also lists specific symptoms you must exhibit or criteria you must meet to qualify for benefits based on that condition. For example, to qualify for disability benefits based on chronic heart failure, you must be undergoing treatment and still have medically documented proof of systolic or diastolic failure. The SSA even defines exactly what it considers to be systolic or diastolic failure. The chronic heart failure also must result in: persistent symptoms of heart failure that interfere with daily living; three or more separate episodes of acute congestive heart failure over a consecutive month period; or an inability to perform an exercise tolerance test for specified reasons, such as chest discomfort.

If your condition isn't listed, you'll need documented proof it causes symptoms as severe as those exhibited by patients with ailments on the Listing of Impairments. When you apply for benefits, you'll need to provide some basic demographic information, including details about:. You will need to provide certain documents, including pay stubs, proof of citizenship, and W-2s. Most importantly, you will also need to provide information about your disabling condition, including detailed medical records.

SSI Asset Limits

Providing proof of your disabling condition is the most important part of applying for Social Security Disability. The SSA wants to receive information about your condition from your treating physician. This is the doctor who sees you on a regular basis. The SSA only accepts medical information from licensed physicians and prefers to have records provided by experts in the field of medicine related to your disability.

If you're applying because you have cancer, the SSA would expect to see medical records from your oncologist. It's imperative that your doctor fully document your symptoms and any treatments you undergo; this will give you the best chance of obtaining SSDI or SSI benefits. The Social Security Administration may also ask you to undergo an examination or evaluation with one of its doctors at some point during the application or appeals process.

When you provide details about your medical condition to the SSA, your local Social Security office reviews your basic information to see if you could potentially qualify based on income and work history. Your file is then sent off to a disability claims examiner who will review all of your medical documentation.


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The claims examiner will make a decision on your case, and you'll be notified via mail whether your claim has been approved or denied. It usually takes around a month to 90 days to receive the decision on your application. The denial rate for Social Security Disability benefits is very high, so there's a significant chance your application won't be approved. If your claim is denied, there are multiple stages of appeal, including:. The decision not to award you benefits could be reversed at any stage of the appeals process.

For example, your request for reconsideration could result in your benefits being approved and you wouldn't need to move on to additional appeals. However, you must go through each phase if your claim continues to be denied and you want to keep fighting. If you must appeal a benefits denial, the process of getting benefits can take a very long time. He needed a manual wheelchair. FODAC was very helpful in obtaining a wheelchair after trying different resources was unsuccessful. Thank you very much for helping my little boy. He would be so happy. Provided hover lift. There are many times we did not go places with family and friends because there would be to much walking involved.

Thank you ever so much for this wonderful gift. Changing Lives for People with Disabilities FODAC is a statewide and national provider of home health care equipment—mobility aids and daily living devices for people with disabilities and the newly injured. Read More. Testimonials 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 I feel by my 4-year-old daughter having the use of a wheelchair, it will pr0vide her with some feeling of mobility and allow her to go where her big sisters are.

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