Disability is something most people do not like to think about. But the chances that you will become disabled probably are greater than you realize. Studies show that a 20-year-old worker has a 3 in 10 chance of becoming disabled before reaching full retirement age.
The Social Security Administration pays benefits to people who cannot work because they have a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or result in death. Federal law requires this very strict definition of disability. While some programs give money to people with partial disability or short-term disability, Social Security does not.
In general, to get disability benefits, you must meet two different earnings tests:
1. A “recent work” test based on your age at the time you became disabled; and
2. A “duration of work” test to show that you worked long enough under Social Security.
Certain blind workers have to meet only the “duration of work” test.
You should apply for disability benefits as soon as you become disabled. It can take a long time to process an application for disability benefits (three to five months). Do not hesitate to contact this law office for assistance with preparing your application.
The information we will need to help you includes:
- Your Social Security number;
- Your birth certificate;
- Names, addresses and phone numbers of the doctors, caseworkers, hospitals and clinics that took care of you;
- and dates of your visits;
- Names and dosage of all the medicine you take;
- Medical records from your doctors, therapists, hospitals, clinics and caseworkers that you already have in your possession;
- Laboratory and test results;
- A summary of where you worked and the kind of work you did;
- A copy of your most recent W-2 Form (Wage and Tax Statement) or, if you are self-employed, your federal tax return for the past year.
Do not delay applying for benefits if you cannot get all of this information together quickly. We will help you get it.