Am I eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits?

If you are seriously injured or ill and you cannot work, you can be very frightened about your future. How will you get the medical care you need? How will you provide for your family? How will you ever be able to get back on your feet?

For many people, the answer to these questions can be Social Security disability benefits. These benefits are available to workers across Kentucky and they can provide essential financial relief if you cannot work due to physical or mental disability. However, you must first determine if you are eligible for these benefits. We examine the requirements of SSDI below. 

  1. You must be disabled. This determination is up to the Social Security Administration. Generally speaking, the condition must be severe and expected to last at least a year; it must also prevent you from doing your job, as well as any type of work you have done previously.  
  2. You must work in a job covered by Social Security. Most jobs are covered by Social Security. Jobs that may not be covered include teachers and law enforcement workers in some areas, as well as railroad workers.
  3. You must have worked in these jobs recently and for long enough to earn a certain number of work credits. Work credits are based on your annual wage, and you can collect up to four every year. In order to qualify for SSDI, you will need to have enough work credits. The older you are, the more credits you will need. If you are younger than 42, for instance, you will likely need 20 credits. People 62 and older must have 40 credits.

In addition to these eligibility requirements, you will also need to file a claim to receive disability benefits, as they are not paid out automatically. You will need to file a claim, provide medical evidence of disability and navigate the appeals process if your application is initially denied. 

Thankfully, you don't have to figure out this process alone. You can work with an attorney who has the familiarity with the Social Security system that you may not, which can be crucial in avoiding costly mistakes. 

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