When your job provides critical income for yourself and your family, facing a debilitating illness or injury that prevents you from working can be disconcerting. Whether your condition is directly due to job-related circumstances or random, it can devastate your finances when it leaves you unable to sustain employment.
However, it may be possible to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance coverage if you meet various criteria.
Your condition is debilitating
The Pennsylvania Bureau of Disability Determination will work with the Social Security Administration to assess your candidacy for federal benefits. This involves ascertaining if your condition is long-term and prevents you from sustaining meaningful employment. The SSA provides a listing of qualifying conditions and requires an in-depth medical evaluation for applicants with conditions not appearing on its list.
You have a significant work history
The Social Security Administration makes disability payments from a pool of taxes it collects from the working population. Your final benefit amount is proportional to how many work years you complete. For example, if you are relatively young when your disability starts, you will not accrue the same number of work years as someone whose disability occurs later in a career. Therefore, rather than penalizing younger workers with short work histories, the SSA scales benefit payments to reflect the proportion of the total number of years someone works before a disability manifests.
You can provide substantial medical documentation
Approval for Social Security disability benefits hinges upon evidence in your medical records substantiating your condition and its onset, identifying the medical team treating you, and confirming your doctors’ prognosis/descriptions of your limitations.
The Social Security Administration can provide essential benefits to someone who can no longer work due to debilitating injuries and conditions. However, qualifying is not a speedy process.