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Qualifying for SS Disability in Denver

Social Security (SS) programs pay income benefits to people in Denver who are disabled, retired, or who relied on someone who was receiving benefits but is now deceased. Disability benefits are offered through two different programs with some requirements that overlap and some that differ.

Qualifying for SS disability in Denver often requires persistence, even for those who clearly meet the eligibility criteria. The Social Security Administration applies standards in a strict manner, making it important for applicants to ensure that they present enough evidence to demonstrate that they meet qualifications. A seasoned SSDI lawyer could help you with the application process to ensure that you qualify for the benefits you deserve.

Social Security Disability Programs

Individuals with disabilities may receive benefits through either the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program or the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. Qualifying for disability status in Denver is similar for both programs.

However, the programs are funded differently. The funding and purpose of each program dictate the other qualifications. SSDI is an insurance program paid for by employee payroll taxes through the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). Workers would pay enough Social Security taxes to receive benefits for themselves or their families.

SSI, by contrast, is a welfare-type program designed to help those with limited means who are prevented from working due to age or disability. Eligibility is based on need as well as disability.

Disability Qualifications in General

To qualify for Social Security disability benefits in Denver, an applicant must be suffering from a long-term condition that is expected to last at least one year or to result in death. The medical condition causing the disability must also be of sufficient duration.

In addition, the Social Security Administration must be satisfied that the disabling condition is serious enough to prevent the applicant from working. Specifically, the applicant would be unable to perform previous employment tasks and be unable to adjust to a different kind of work due to the medical condition.

Five Step Disability Decision Process

The Social Security Administration uses a five-step process to determine whether an applicant qualifies for SS disability benefits. First, the agency considers whether the applicant is working at the time of applying for benefits. If the applicant earns more than a certain amount, then that would usually disqualify the worker from receiving benefits. The amount may be adjusted annually. For 2019, the monthly benchmark is $1,220.

Next, the agency questions whether the condition is “severe,” meaning that it interferes with common work-related activities such as standing, walking, sitting, lifting, and concentrating. If not, the applicant may not be considered disabled. If it does, that finding alone is not enough to qualify. The agency also considers whether the applicant’s medical condition either appears on the official list of qualifying conditions or whether it is as serious as one of the conditions on the list.

Finally, the agency looks at an applicant’s work potential. They consider whether the disability prevents the applicant from holding the same type of job held previously. They then review options for other types of work that could be performed given the applicant’s education, experience, age, and skills.

Other Qualifying Factors

If an applicant is seeking SSDI benefits and meets the qualifying standards, it may also be necessary to fulfill the work requirements. The amount of work credit needed depends on the applicant’s age at the time of the disability.

Workers aged 62 and older need at least 40 work credits, and most workers acquire four credits per year. The requirement is roughly equivalent to ten years of work. At least half of those credits must be earned in the ten years prior to the onset of the disability.

Applicants seeking SSI benefits must either be disabled or have reached the age of 65, and have limited income and resources. The Social Security Administration considers earned income, including food and housing assistance from family members.

Assistance Demonstrating Social Security Disability Qualifications

Qualifying for SS disability in Denver involves many stages. Applicants should be prepared to submit a wide variety of records and to seek additional documentation if requested. Since the process of demonstrating disability qualifications is complex, applicants often seek assistance. For more information, contact an experienced Social Security disability attorney.

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