It can be difficult to locate funding for different things throughout our life. You may be trying to further yourself and seeking federal grants to attend college or trying to locate affordable housing.

When you suffer from a disability, finding income is even more difficult. There are 38 million households in the United States that use more than 30% of their income for housing.

If you have a disability and are wondering what qualifies you for Social Security income, read on for the disability facts on this government benefit.

Social Security Disability: The Basics

Obtaining Social Security disability income (SSDI) means you have to undergo a stringent process. Social Security looks at your medical impairment and works history to make a determination on whether or not you meet their standards for disability.

The first qualification is your work history. You must have been working for 25% of all the years after you obtained age 21. You must also have been working in at least five (5) of the last ten (10) years prior to the onset of your disability.

This is different from Social Security Income (SSI) which provides financial assistance to older persons and those with disabilities regardless of their age. The determination for SSI is based on age, disability, and limited income. SSI recipients generally qualify for Medicaid immediately, whereas an SSDI recipient will not qualify for Medicaid until twenty-four (24) months after they begin receiving SSDI payments.

Social Security Blue Book

The Social Security Blue Book is the resource guide to finding all the necessary documentation and information when filing. This includes:

  • W-2 and tax forms
  • Date and place of birth
  • Marriage and Divorce records
  • Names and Birthdates for any children who have a disability, are under 18 up to age 19 and still attending secondary school full time
  • S. Military Service
  • Employer information for the current year and past 2 years
  • Self-employment information for the current year and prior years
  • Direct deposit information
  • Alternate contact person information
  • List of your medical conditions
  • Full information on all doctors, healthcare professionals, clinics, and hospitals
  • Additional medical records
  • Job history
  • Education and training

Make sure when completing your application you include all documentation they request.

Proving Medical Disability Facts

Make sure you include your medical records that show both the diagnosis of your condition and also the severity and impact it has on your ability to perform your work and general activities. This includes medical evaluations, lifetime prognosis, psychological evaluations, DMA6 forms, and EIPs.

Social Security considers you to have a disability if you:

1) You are no longer able to do the work you were doing before the disability

2) Social Security makes a determination that you do not have the ability to perform different work because of your medical condition(s) and

3) Your disability has been ongoing for at least twelve (12) months, the expectation is it will last for a minimum of twelve (12) months or will last until you die.

You must have a condition that significantly limits your ability to perform basic work, including standing, walking, sitting, lifting, and remembering things for a minimum of twelve (12) months. If you do not meet those standards then you do not meet the disability criteria.

Social Security has a listing of impairments that they use in determining disabilities.

H2 HEADER:  Compassionate Allowance

One of the things you will want to check is if your disability qualifies for a Compassionate Allowance. These conditions include some cancers, adult brain disorders, and other disorders that affect children.

The conditions under this category are pre-determined by Social Security to be medically eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD) without having to prove the severity of your condition. One example is Down Syndrome. If you have this condition, you will receive your acceptance or denial letter in less than a month.

ABLE Accounts

Using ABLE accounts will allow you to pass the means-testing requirement for Social Security Income (SSI). This process means you are not allowed to have more than $2,000 in resources or assets to receive SSI. If you have an ABLE account rather than a standard savings account, you will be able to save up to $15,000 every year without violating the $2,000 regulation.

What Not Do When Applying for Disability Social Security

While there are many things you must do to increase your chance of receiving a favorable response to your claim, there are a few things that may jeopardize your claim.

Do not apply too early if you or a person you are assisting is 17 years old. At that age, Social Security will regard them as a minor. When applying for a minor the parent’s household income is a factor. Wait until the child turns 18 before filing an application for disability income.

Social Security considers child support income. The only time child support is not deemed income is if it is directed into a Supplemental Needs Trust under a separation agreement.

Do not depend on Social Security to obtain your medical records. When you provide Social Security with your medical records you are controlling the narrative of your claim. You will likely be required to sign a Release of Information (ROI) by Social Security, and they may also file requests directly, but the more documentation you provide the better your chance of approval.

At the same time, you do not want to provide a stack of old, outdated records that have no bearing on your disability. Providing current medical records that include an accurate assessment of your disability is important.

Do not give up. There are various appeal processes that you may utilize to receive approval. The important thing is not to let the appeal timeframe lapse because then you will need to begin all over again at the first step in the process.  Further, when you receive approval your backpay will go back to the onset of your disability, so do not give up.

How to Apply for Disability Facts

Adults with a disability may apply for SSI benefits online. If you are applying for a child under the age of 18, or are a non-disabled senior over age 65 you must apply at your local Social Security Office or call 1-800-772-1213 Monday-Friday between 7 am to 7 pm.

You may apply for Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) online at any age or call the phone number listed above. The average time from filing your application to receiving a response on whether or not you are approved is 3-5 months.

Stay Informed

The disability facts can seem overwhelming, but the best thing you can do is stay informed on all processes and benefits available to you.

Resource Finder USA helps Americans obtain access to millions of dollars that are available through various government agencies. They review the information and make it available to their clients. If you have any questions feel free to contact us at [email protected]

You are also welcome to check our blog for additional information.  We have a wide assortment of resources available to our members.