Applying for disability benefits can be a daunting process. To be eligible to apply, you must fulfill all of the requirements laid out by SSA (Social Security Administration), including having a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or result in death.
While there is no guarantee that you will be approved or “signs that you will be approved for disability,” there is a way to make your application stronger by including all necessary documentation. At Jorgensen Law, we understand the complexity of the application process and will work with you to ensure that your application is as strong as possible.
Whether you need assistance with your initial application or appeal or need a professional to attend a hearing with you, our experienced lawyers are here to help you.
To be approved for disability, be sure that you have the documentation and qualifications of most, if not all, of these six (6) items to strengthen your case to be approved for disability.
#1 Sign That You Will Be Approved for Disability: Meeting Work Credit Requirements
When applying for Social Security Administration (SSA) benefits, meeting the work credit requirement is one of the first steps. Work credits are earned when you work in a job that pays social security taxes. For every $1,650 earned in covered earnings, you receive one (1) credit, with a maximum of four (4) credits earned per year at $6,560 in covered earnings.
The number of work credits needed to be eligible for disability benefits is determined by a recent work test and a duration work test. Here are the requirements based on age:
- Under 24 years old: Must have six (6) work credits earned in a three (3) year period.
- Between 24 and 31 years old: Must have full (4) work credits from at least half of the years between the age of 21 and the year the disability began.
- 31 or older: Must have at least twenty (20) work credits from the ten (10) year period before the year the disability began.
It is important to note that if you do not have enough work credits, you will not be eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI). However, you can still apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
#2: Strong Medical Evidence
When applying for SSDI, one of the most common reasons for denial is insufficient medical evidence. This means that applicants failed to provide enough information about their medical condition to the SSA. To determine if an applicant is eligible for benefits, the SSA uses a guide called the Blue Book, which lists medical conditions and symptoms that qualify individuals for SSDI.
To strengthen your case and increase your chances of approval, it’s important to submit comprehensive medical records and reports. This includes:
- your medical history
- diagnostic reports
- X-rays and CT scans
- description of treatments
- and prescription drug receipts.
It’s also essential that every medical report is accompanied by a signed document from your physician, confirming the accuracy of every diagnostic test.
By submitting all the required medical evidence, you can demonstrate the severity of your condition and how it affects your ability to work. This will provide the SSA with the necessary information to evaluate your eligibility for SSDI benefits.
#3: Meeting the SSA’s Listed Impairment Criteria
If you have a medical condition that meets the criteria outlined in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Blue Book, it could be an indication that you are eligible for disability benefits. However, if your condition does not meet the listed impairment criteria, you may still be able to qualify for benefits through a medical-vocational allowance and by completing a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) form after undergoing tests conducted by your doctor.
It’s important to note that even if your disability is listed in the SSA Blue Book, it does not guarantee automatic approval. During your hearing, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will carefully evaluate your case and may provide you with a bench decision, indicating whether or not you are approved for disability benefits.
To increase your chances of being approved for benefits, it’s recommended to have a medical expert confirm that you meet a Blue Book listing, a vocational specialist assess that you cannot return to work or perform any other jobs with your disability, and consider hiring a Social Security Disability Attorney to assist with your case.
If you’re unsure about your eligibility for disability benefits, Jorgensen Law offers a free initial consultation to discuss your case and provide guidance. Don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance!
#4: Earning Below SGA Limits
According to SSA rules, individuals who are capable of performing “Substantial Gainful Activity” (SGA) are not eligible to receive disability benefits. For 2023, the monthly SGA limit is $1,470 for non-blind individuals and $2,460 for the statutorily blind.
If an individual earns more than the monthly SGA limit, they are ineligible to receive disability benefits. However, if they have earned enough work credits and their income falls below the SGA limit, they may be eligible for disability benefits.
#5: Age as an Eligibility Factor
Your eligibility for disability benefits may increase as you approach retirement age. Age is an important factor the Social Security Administration (SSA) considers when determining your ability to work and eligibility for benefits. The SSA recognizes that as individuals age, they may become “less trainable” and have difficulty learning new skills or adjusting to new work environments. This is especially true for individuals who are 50 years or older, making their SSDI claim stronger than if they were younger.
#6: Inability to Perform Past Work
If you are unable to perform your past work, your chances of being approved for SSDI significantly increase. The SSA requires disability applicants to provide proof that they have not worked for the past twelve (12) months. To strengthen this aspect of your application, it is important to have documentation from your employer verifying that you have not worked over the past year, as well as copies of your paycheck stubs and bank statements.
Signs that you will be approved for Social Security Disability
Since most disability claims are denied, hiring a social security attorney will greatly increase your changes of receiving benefits. Our attorneys specialize in helping people receive disability benefits from the SSA and are very familiar with the process.
A claim can take months to process, and an attorney can help quicken the process through consistent contact with the SSA. If your claim is denied, your attorney can help you submit a reconsideration appeal.