It takes a frustratingly long time to get through the application review process for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration. You may have heard how the initial review process denies about two-thirds of the claims, so it’s understandable to wonder whether your application will be approved for disability benefits.
The disability professionals at Liner Legal Disability Lawyers understand your frustration and want to help. A denial of a claim during the initial review process may be challenged and reversed through an appeal process. Many people whose claims are denied achieve a favorable result by filing an appeal.
To ease your mind about your claim, here are eight signs that you may be approved for disability benefits.
Sign #1: You meet the non-medical requirements to qualify for disability benefits
When you apply for disability benefits, the first step Social Security takes is to determine whether you meet the non-medical eligibility requirements. Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, is a need-based program to help people with limited income and resources pay for food and shelter. Generally, individuals cannot have monthly earnings from work exceeding $1,913, and they do not own resources valued at more than $2,000.
To meet the non-medical requirements for Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI, you must have worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes on the earnings. How long you need to work to qualify for SSDI depends on how old you are when you become disabled. Generally, the younger you are at the onset of a disability, the shorter the work years needed to qualify.
Sign #2: You have a medical condition preventing you from working for at least 12 months
Neither SSI nor SSDI pays benefits for short-term or temporary medical conditions. You must have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment expected to last for at least 12 months or expected to result in death to meet the long-term disability requirement needed to qualify for Social Security disability benefits.
Sign #3 You have a medical condition listed in the “Blue Book”
Social Security has a listing of impairments it considers as severe enough to prevent a person from working. The listing of impairments, or “Blue Book” as it is commonly called, contains physical and mental health impairments along with criteria a person applying for disability benefits must meet to match a listed impairment.
If your medical condition matches or equals a listed impairment, then it is severe enough to qualify for disability benefits. It is not an automatic qualification because you must still meet the non-medical requirements to qualify for disability benefits.
Sign #4: You have medical records supporting the claim
A claim for disability benefits must be supported by medical evidence proving a diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, and documentation proving that you have a disability that prevents you from working. Medical records should include the following:
- Physician’s notes.
- Diagnostic imaging results, including X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs.
- Laboratory testing results, including blood tests.
- Hospital admission and discharge records.
- Prescription medications and treatment recommendations.
The records should document a consistent and ongoing course of care and treatment.
Sign #5: Proof that you followed a course of treatment recommended by your doctor
You followed the treatment recommendations of your doctors, including taking prescribed medication. For example, a person with bipolar disorder who does not take medication prescribed for them may be denied disability benefits by Social Security.
Sign #6: You are unable to engage in substantial gainful activity
Federal regulations define disability for SSI and SSDI eligibility in part as the inability to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA). Social Security determines SGA based on monthly earnings from working. You are not engaging in SGA if you earn less than $1,470 monthly in 2023. The monthly SGA amount for someone who is blind is $2,460.
Sign #7: A consultative exam determines you are disabled
The Disability Determination Services may ask for a consultative examination by the doctor treating you or by an independent physician. If the report confirms the diagnosis and limitations, your claim for benefits may be approved.
Sign #8: You cannot do work you did in the past or other types of work
The Social Security disability evaluation process includes a determination that your condition prevents you from doing a type of work you did in the past. If not, you must be unable to do other available work. An inability to do prior work and other types of work is a sign your claim may be approved.
A disability lawyer could make a difference in the outcome
A review of outcomes of disability benefit claims conducted by the United States Government Accountability Office shows that claimants represented by a disability lawyer received favorable outcomes at rates three times higher than claimants without representation. Contact Liner Legal Disability Lawyers for a free consultation.