Are you eligible for Social Security disability benefits in Indiana? Check your situation against these five requirements to see if you may qualify:
- Does your condition prevent you from working?
- Is your condition severe?
- Is your condition on the listing of impairments?
- Are you unable to do previous work?
- Are you unable to do any other work?
If the answer is “yes”, you probably do qualify for disability benefits.
As always, every case is different, and no list of requirements is definitive for Social Security disability eligibility. If you have questions about applying for disability, speak with an Indiana disability attorney or your local Social Security office.
1. Does Your Condition Prevent You from Working?
The first requirement for Social Security disability benefits has to do with your inability to work. Social Security will look at two things:
- Whether or not you’re working
- How much you’re working
Substantial Gainful Activity
Disability benefits exist for those who are unable to work due to their disabling condition(s). To measure a person’s ability to work, Social Security uses a metric known as substantial gainful activity (SGA).
To qualify as SGA, your work must require significant physical and/or mental activities (“substantial”). You must also work for pay (“gainful”).
Social Security defines SGA by an amount of gross monthly income (minus any impairment-related work expenses).
In 2019, SGA is $1,220 a month ($2,040 a month for those who are statutorily blind).
Part-Time or Full-Time
Even if your work doesn’t qualify as SGA, Social Security will still take a look at how much you’re working.
There’s no standard amount for how many hours you can work and still qualify for Social Security disability benefits. However, it’s a good idea to think about what your hours say about your condition.
If you’re working full-time, for example, then it will be difficult to argue that your disability prevents you from working.
2. Is Your Condition Severe?
The second requirement to qualify for Social Security disability is to prove that your condition is “severe.”
Social Security defines a severe condition as one that limits “your ability to do basic work such as lifting, standing, walking, sitting, and remembering — for at least 12 months.”
A severe disability limits your ability to function on a daily basis. It should prohibit you from basic work duties.
Such duties may include:
- Carrying out simple instructions
- Dealing with or responding to usual work situations
- Remembering details
An Enduring Disability
Keep in mind that your disability must also last (or be expected to last) at least 12 months.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, for example, then you may not qualify for Social Security disability if your injuries will heal in a matter of months.
Pregnancy also typically will not qualify as a severe disabling condition for this reason.
If your disability will likely not last 12 months, then you may want to pursue short-term or long-term disability benefits through your employer or private insurance.
3. Is Your Condition on the Listing of Impairments?
The third requirement to get approved for Social Security disability is to show your condition is on the listing of impairments.
Social Security maintains a list of conditions it already considers severe enough to prevent people from working. This is known as the listing of impairments, or Social Security’s blue book.
Just because your condition is on the listing of impairments doesn’t mean you’ll automatically get approved for disability benefits. Each condition listed has certain criteria that individuals must meet.
For example, asthma is on the listing of impairments. However, every person with asthma doesn’t automatically get approved for benefits.
Instead, individuals must meet the criteria listed for asthma, including things like “complications requiring three hospitalizations within a 12-month period and at least 30 days apart.”
What If My Condition Isn’t on the Listing of Impairments?
If your condition isn’t on the listing of impairments, you can still qualify for disability benefits.
Social Security will have to determine whether your condition is as severe as those on the listing. Your medical records will be vital to Social Security’s evaluation process.
An Indiana disability attorney can help you gather the evidence to prove the severity of your condition, even if it’s not on the listing of impairments.
4. Are You Unable to Do Previous Work?
The fourth requirement for Social Security disability benefits is to prove you cannot do work you’ve done previously.
Social Security will take a look at your work history for two reasons:
- To determine that you actually paid into the Social Security system through payroll taxes and can withdraw disability insurance benefits (DIB)
- To see if your disabling conditions prevent you from performing work you’ve already done before
The reason Social Security looks at your previous jobs first is because you’re most qualified for jobs in which you already have training and/or education.
An Indiana disability attorney can help prepare your case to prove that you’re no longer able to work any of your previous jobs.
5. Are You Unable to Do Any Other Work?
The last requirement for disability benefits is to prove that you cannot do any other work because of your disability.
Even if you’ve never trained for a certain job, you have to prove that you wouldn’t be able to do it because of your condition(s).
For this requirement, Social Security will take into account “your medical conditions and your age, education, past work experience, and any transferable skills you may have.”
Let’s say you’ve been a truck driver your entire life. For this requirement, you’ll have to prove that you can’t do a factory job or a desk job. You’ll have to prove that your disabilities prevent you from being a greeter at a grocery store.
This may seem like an impossible task. However, Indiana disability attorneys know how to make the argument in favor of their clients. Speak with a disability lawyer today to figure out how to show Social Security you meet this final requirement.
Help from an Indiana Social Security Disability Lawyer
With strict requirements for Social Security disability benefits, you’ll want strong legal representation on your side.
Disability lawyers can collect medical evidence to prove your disability. They can also help you meet Social Security’s strict filing deadlines.
Call Hensley Legal Group today at (317) 472-3333, or contact us online for a free conversation about your disability claim. You can also download our free ebook, Eight Mistakes to Avoid When Filing for Disability Benefits, for more information.