Social Security Disability (Title II) is a disability insurance program that all workers pay into with their payroll taxes. If you have a strong work record and are injured or otherwise incapable of continuing work, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability. If you are granted disability benefits, you will also be eligible for Medicare health insurance.
If you do not have a strong work record, you may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income, SSI (Title XVI) which is a needs based Social Security disability program. If you are granted SSI benefits, you will receive Medicaid health insurance.
A claimant must prove that she or he is unable to engage in any substantial, gainful employment. Both programs use the same five (5) step process to determining if you should receive benefits.
1. Are you working? If not, you proceed to step 2.
2. Do you have a severe physical or mental impairment? If so, you proceed to Step 3.
3. Do you meet the Social Security Administration’s Listing of Impairments? The Listing is a medically technical list of physical and mental conditions. If you meet the relevant criteria for your condition, you are disabled. If you do not meet or equal a Listing of Impairment, you proceed to Step 4.
4. Are you able to do you prior work? If not, you proceed to Step 5.
5. Here, the Administration has the burden to show that there are other jobs in the economy that you can do. If there are no jobs in the economy that you can do in view of your age, education and the effects of your impairments on your ability to function in the workplace, a finding if “disabled” is required.
In addition, claimants seeking to obtain Social Security Disability must be “insured.” Your insured status is dependent on your work history and payments that you have made to Social Security from your earnings. When you seek Social Security Disability, you are basically asking the government to pay you your monthly retirement early due to your inability to work.
You must prove that you became unable to work prior to your “Date Last Insured.” Your date last insured is determined by counting the number of “covered quarters” that you have worked. If you have a solid work history, meaning you have worked every quarter for over five years, your “Date Last Insured” will be approximately five years from the date you last worked. If your work history is spotty, your “Date Last Insured” may less than five years from the date you last worked. The “Date Last Insured” is critical to determining your eligibility for benefits. If you prove you were disabled prior to your “Date Last Insured,” you will receive your benefits. If you cannot prove that you were disabled prior to your date last insured, you will not be awarded Social Security Disability.
For those that do not have a work history or, who are disabled, but only after their date last insured, Supplemental Security Income is available, but only if the claimant meets the financial criteria to received SSI.
The unfortunately, in most cases, it is hard to get Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income. That is why consultation with an experienced Social Security attorney, be it me or some other competent attorney, is a good idea.
Please, feel free to call me at 312-558-1850, Ext. 206. There is no charge.