Jan 07, 2021

How to Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits

If something happens and you have an injury or illness that makes it practically impossible for you to work you’re probably going to be more than a little worried about how you’re going to pay for your living expenses like your rent or mortgage, food, utilities, and other basics. If you have worked in the past and paid taxes but you can’t work now because of an injury or illness and you expect that you won’t be able to work for at least 12 months you can file a claim to receive Social Security disability benefits. Social Security disability benefits don’t have to be used for medical expenses only, although you can use them for treatment costs that aren’t covered by your insurance. They can be used for anything that you need without restrictions.

Qualifying for Social Security Disability Benefits

There are hundreds of physical and mental illnesses that qualify someone to receive disability benefits. They are all listed in the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book, which you can look through online. Every condition that is listed also has a very specific set of requirements that must be met in order for you to be approved to receive disability benefits for that condition. You will also need to provide plenty of medical evidence showing that you meet those requirements.

For example, if you’ve experienced vision loss that’s so severe you can no longer work you can qualify for disability benefits if you meet one of these requirements:

  • Loss of central visual acuity – this listing covers loss in your central field of vision and requires you see no better than 20/200 in your better eye.
  • Contraction of the visual field in the better eye– you can qualify under this listing if you have a shrinking field of vision. Your doctor must measure your vision with specific tests and must record what you’re able to see when you’re focusing on a fixed point. This listing requires reports of your visual field, which is the distance in all directions from the fixed point on which you’re focused. That diameter must be no greater than 20 to 30 degrees. In other words, your visual field must be very narrow.
  • Loss of visual efficiency, or visual impairment – this listing covers issues that cause blurry or unfocused vision or an absence of vision (total blindness). To qualify, you must have vision in your better eye that is no greater than 20/200 when wearing corrective lenses.

You will need to submit the results of your eye tests as well as notes from an eye doctor in order to be eligible for disability benefits.

Filing A Claim

You can file a claim for Social Security disability benefits online and you can submit your medical records with your claim through the Social Security Administration’s website. But, if you have trouble using the computer or if you have questions about how to properly fill out the claim form or what documentation you need you can get help at your local Social Security Administration branch office. Just make an appointment and bring all of your medical records with you. They will help you fill out and file your claim.

 

Resources:

Social Security Disability Claim: https://www.disabilitybenefitscenter.org/glossary/social-security-disability-claim

Blue Book: https://www.disabilitybenefitscenter.org/blue-book

Apply Online: https://secure.ssa.gov/iClaim/dib

Local SSA Office: https://www.disabilitybenefitscenter.org/state-social-security-disability

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