Whether you have cancer or a spiral fracture to your femur that will require multiple surgeries, you are probably acutely aware of how debilitating your medical condition is. However, you may not fully understand the standards that the Social Security Administration (SSA) applies to benefits requests.
You may have heard the miss that every applicant for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits faces rejection at first and has to appeal to get SSDI coverage. While a significant number of applicants do have to appeal to get benefits, it is not true that everyone faces a denial at first.
Applicants with particularly severe medical conditions may be able to qualify right away when they apply. How can you determine if your condition meets the criteria for SSDI benefits?
Learn the standards held by the SSA
The simplest way to decipher whether or not you are likely to get benefits is to learn about the criteria for qualifying. As you likely already know, you do need to have enough of a work history to get benefits.
Typically, you will have had to work for 10 years or longer to have enough credits to qualify for full benefits, although younger applicants can qualify with a shorter work history. The length of time you have had the condition and how long it will last is also an important factor. You need to show that your symptoms will persist for at least 12 months or be permanent to qualify for benefits.
Additionally, your medical issue must be seriously debilitating. The SSA maintains a list of qualifying conditions but also evaluates each application on an individual basis. The more medical documentation you have showing that your condition limits your function and prevents you from working, the better your chances of a quick approval when you apply.
Details matter when applying for SSDI
Those who apply and get rejected can collect additional medical record apps to improve their chances of a successful appeal. The severity, not the name of the condition, matters most. Some people scour the extensive list of disabilities maintained by the SSA and despair because their condition is not on the list. Others develop a sense of entitlement because their condition is on the list provided by the SSA.
It is not the specific diagnosis that will help you get benefits but rather the symptoms it produces and how much it affects your ability to work or to live on your own without support. Even those with rare conditions or with an unusually severe form of a typically minor medical issue can qualify for SSDI benefits.
Learning more about the rules that apply can help you feel confident about making an SSDI benefits claim.