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Mark J. Palmiere Attorney at Law

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Read our informative blogs on social security disability.

Who Is Eligible for Social Security Disability?

Disability benefits are provided to Americans under two of the largest federal benefits programs, Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income. These are two different programs available to different groups of people. Although both programs are administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA), they must be applied for according to their unique guidelines and procedures.

According to the SSA, only people who are disabled as defined under the Social Security Act may qualify for either program. The definition of disabled under this act is exhibiting the disability to engage and interact in profitable activity from the cause of a medically found mental or physical impairment, that has remained ongoing for a period of at least 12 months or that is likely to end in a fatality. This definition serves to underscore the importance of medical data and documentation that clarifies and substantiates your disability condition(s) as evidenced by reports, lab tests and results, clinic and hospital visits, medications and their dosages, and evidence of any treatments undertaken by a doctor or other healthcare professional. Other essential information to include in your application is a summary of your work history and the type of work you performed while on the job. The crucial factor in the application or any appeals procedure following a denial is proving your disability to the SSA.

Requirements for SSDI

Besides being disabled under the SSA's definition, Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are available based on a work history during which you paid Social Security taxes for a period long enough and recently enough to allow you to qualify. Basically, benefit work credits are accrued based on what you earned at work throughout any given year. The total number of work credits you can earn in a year is four; these quarterly credits are based on an amount that changes from year to year according to the National Average Wage Index. For example, quarterly earnings of $1,220 in 2015 earned one work credit. For 2016, the quarterly amount was raised to $1,260.

Furthermore, your age when you became disabled is another relevant factor that will determine how many work credits you need to qualify. In general, 40 credits are needed, 20 of which you accrued within the last 10 years of employment ending with the year your physical or mental disability occurred or began.

Eligibility for SSI

Supplementary Security Income is a disability program available to those aged 65 or above, as well as the blind and the disabled. These are generally individuals who have never been employed or who do not have a work history long enough to qualify for SSDI. This program requires that the disabled person has very little in the way of financial resources or other income.

As a Rochester Social Security Disability attorney, I have one mission: to provide you with highly experienced and skilled legal assistance aimed at helping you obtain disability benefits. My firm is dedicated to offering complete and effective legal care. By contacting me for representation in your disability claim, you can rest assured that your case will be personally handled by me throughout the entire process.

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