What standard of disability is necessary to receive Social Security Disability Benefits?
August 7, 2019
You have to be disabled, or expect to be disabled, for a continuous 12 month period. Generally, if you return to work before 12 months, you are not eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits. If you are still working, you are not eligible or Social Security Disability Benefits. You do not have to wait until the end of the 12 month period to apply, so long as your disability is expected to last 12 months.
It is not enough if you are only disabled from returning to your previous employment. To satisfy the Social Security requirements, you must be disabled to the point where you cannot do ANY work found in the national economy. The ONLY thing that matters to Social Security is whether you are physically and mentally capable of performing some form of employment.
This is a very tough standard. However, we have been able to obtain benefits for people of all ages and with many different disabling conditions.
If another agency – your employer, the Veterans Administration, your private disability insurance company, a pension program, or Workers’ Compensation – have found you disabled, this is not binding on Social Security. These can however, be introduced as evidence.
Social Security, unlike Workers’ Compensation, must consider all of your physical and mental impairments. This would include conditions such as diabetes, uncontrolled high blood pressure, sleep apnea, psoriasis, fibromyalgia, arthritis, anxiety and depression. In order for us to fully help you, you must advise us of every condition or ailment which you have. Social Security must consider every aspect of your condition individually and in combination with the others. A ruptured disc may not be enough for disability, but a ruptured disc plus arthritis or depression might well be enough.
It cannot be stressed too much that you must be totally honest about your disabilities. We understand that often, it is very difficult to accept and talk about the fact that you have become disabled, and that there has been a drastic change in your lifestyle. We know that it is difficult to talk about the things that you cannot do anymore. It is difficult to talk about being depressed. We understand this. However, since Social Security must consider all aspects of your disability, it is absolutely essential that you be totally honest with us. If you can wash dishes or take out the garbage, but afterward you are in worse pain or have to rest, it is important that you do not talk about the activity without also talking about the consequences of doing that activity. If you cannot read, do not understand what you read, or cannot write, please do not hide this from us. We must know this in order to help you.
If you believe you should apply for Social Security Disability, you may contact our office online or call (412) 338-1153.