Social Security Disability (SSD) is one of the most important benefit programs in the United States because it provides income to people unable to work as a result of an illness or medical condition. The program, however, is in danger of running out of money. Many people are not familiar with SSD or about how the program works, but a Social Security Disability lawyer knows that everyone needs to protect this program because anyone could end up relying on it some day.
Facts About Social Security Disability
The Motley Fool recently provided details on key facts Americans need to know about the Social Security Disability Program. These facts provide details on what is involved in applying for benefits. For example:
- Earning work credits is necessary to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The Social Security Administration has two tests applicable to candidates seeking benefits. First, the individual must have worked long enough over the course of his career, and second, some of the work must have occurred recently. The specific number of working years and details about how recently the individual must have worked are going to vary depending upon applicant's age.
- Disabilities must be severe. An applicant can qualify for benefits only if he has a severe disabling condition. In general, applicants must have disabilities listed by the Social Security Administration on the listing of impairments (which is more commonly called "the blue book.") If the individual applying for benefits doesn't have a listed condition, the applicant must prove medical equivalence or show the condition is just as severe and impacting as those the SSA has recognized in the Blue Book.
- Disabilities must prevent an applicant from working in jobs he has previously had or in other work for which he is qualified. There are many factors the SSA considers in determining whether you can do the job you were doing prior to becoming disabled and in considering whether you are qualified for other work. Your age, and how close you are to retirement, is a big factor in whether you are expected to find another similar position if you are no longer able to do the job you were doing. The SSA also looks at how you are able to cope with environmental conditions, whether your disability prevents you from understanding and following directions, and how physical exertion impacts you.
More than half of all applicants for Social Security Disability are denied benefits and must try to appeal to get the income they need. Applicants receiving benefits are at risk of a 20 percent cut at the end of 2016 if politicians do not take action to fix the projected shortfall in the Social Security Disability trust fund.
These are big problems since many people may end up relying on SSD. A 20-year old worker has a 25 percent chance of becoming disabled and there are more than 37 million Americans who are classified as disabled. A disabled person has a median income of $1,961 compared with a median income of $2,724 per month for someone not disabled. Those who are disabled rely on SSD and the program must be protected and strengthened.