Applying for social security disability benefits is a viable option for older adults who are unable to work. Of course, determining whether or not an individual is actually qualified for benefits is predicated on a number of different factors. In many cases, an individual seeking to apply for these benefits is best served by consulting legal representatives to look at the qualification criteria. Below is a brief summarization of the process of becoming qualified for such benefits.
What Disability Means
First of all, disability does not mean that an individual must be completely incapacitated or bedridden. Actually, the main way to determine if disability has occurred is whether or not an individual can successfully perform daily activities and work. If the person cannot, and is likewise unable to handle full time employment of any kind, then the applicant is qualified for the receipt of Social Security Disability.
The Social Security Administration provides a list of medical conditions that automatically will qualify an applicant with any one of these conditions as disabled. If an applicant’s condition is not listed, then a determination has to be made as to whether or not a disability that is equally as severe as one of the cited conditions had occurred.
Disability Due to Age
Disability is not due to the age of an applicant. While it may in fact be easier for applicants to apply as they get older, there are no age limits set as a threshold to receive disability benefits. It is however easier to obtain such benefits starting at age 45 and benefits become easier to receive the older the age of the applicant. Be aware that when an individual reaches full retirement age, disability benefits are then automatically converted to retirement benefits.
Work Covered by Social Security
A freelance employee, or other non-covered employment function is not eligible for social security benefits. In order to receive disability benefits, an applicant must have performed work that is covered by social security.
Qualification by the SSA
Of course, even if an applicant is unable to work, it doesn’t automatically mean the applicant is qualified as being disabled by the SSA. In fact, it can sometimes be difficult to receive a disabled qualification, even if the applicant absolutely cannot work. This alone is a good reason to have the support of a qualified attorney.
If an individual is for any reason denied benefits, the denial can be appealed through a hearing. The hearing is a vital step in obtaining deserved benefits. However, even if the applicant loses the determination at a hearing, then he or she can still pursue an appeal through the SSA’s Appeals Council, by relying on the assistance of a skilled lawyer experienced in handling disability appeals cases.
Overall, determining whether or not you are qualified for disability, and applying for benefits is a good place to start. Should questions, issues, or the need for an appeal arise, then seeking the guidance of an attorney well-versed in SSA practices is key.