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Are you eligible for benefits?

If you've never suffered a disability rendering you unable to work, you might be surprised to learn just how complicated the system can be now that you have a legitimate need to request benefits. The Social Security Administration oversees two of the federal government's largest programs aimed at providing financial assistance to those with disabilities. No matter which program in which you're enrolled, however, there are certain eligibility requirements you must meet before you can get the financial help you need.

Basically, if you've worked long enough and paid enough into the system, you've become an insured member of the Social Security Disability Insurance program. This is one means for obtaining financial assistance when a disability crisis has caused your Ohio family to suffer.

Knowing what to expect

As is often the case with government programs, you will have to fill out applications, answer questions and navigate your way through a very complex process before the SSA determines whether you're eligible to collect benefits. It may help expedite the process if you know what they're looking for ahead of time. The following are some of the key requirements for physical disability benefits:

  • Severe disability: A sprained ankle or even a broken leg may not be severe enough to qualify you for SSD benefits. Eligibility requirements state your disability must render you completely unable to perform all duties associated with your work. There must be an expectation that your state of inability will endure (or, has already endured) for at least one whole year. You also meet this requirement if you're facing a fatal prognosis.
  • Work Credits: There are several requirements related to how long you worked, how much you earned and how much you paid into the system. These requirements vary according to your age at the time you became disabled.
  • Listed conditions: Even if you believe your condition is severe enough to meet requirements for eligibility, your particular condition must be included on the list of approved impairments provided by the Social Security Administration. If not, you will then need to undergo further, special assessment.
  • Unable to do other work: Although fulfilling the above requirements sets you well on your way to an approval for benefits, you must also prove you are unable to perform any and all other types of work besides that which you used to do.

Some say the older you are the better your chances of gaining eligibility for SSD benefits. However, you can be quite young and suffer permanent disability. That is why the SSA issues decisions on a case-by-case basis. If your disability is psychological, not physical, you may wish to inquire about the specifications for eligibility related to your particular condition. It is typically wise to submit an application as soon after you have become disabled as possible.

You might have to wait a month or so before you receive your first check after your approval. Of course, if several months go by and you have not yet received payment, it might be a sign something has gone awry with your claim. The rejection of many initial claims is relatively frequent. However, you are able to appeal your case, which is often easier to do (and has greater chances of being successful) when you seek assistance from an attorney who has SSD experience.

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