If you are applying for disability, the Social Security Administration is the government body that decides whether or not you will be approved. During the initial application, only 35% of the claims they receive are approved for disability. This statistic comes straight from the SSA and shows us just how difficult it is to be approved for disability on the first try. At times, claims are unsuccessful even when applicants have an excellent disability lawyer. Thankfully, there is a silver lining: a lot more claims are approved after a hearing with the Administration Law Judge. Overall, if you go through the entire appeals process, your chances of approval jump to over 50%. If you are looking for signs that you will be approved for disability, this article is for you.
According to the SSA, you are disabled only if your injuries, illnesses, or conditions make it impossible for you to work. This means that you are unable to work in your previous job and also cannot undertake a new position. To determine this, SSA requests information about your past work, education, training, and age. Then, they use a five-step process when looking at your disability application.
As you are readings this, it is probably becoming clear that applying for disability is a serious undertaking. For some of you, speaking with a disability attorney might be helpful in determining whether or not you will be approved for disability. If this is not an option for you or if you want to do some personal research beforehand, here are the five signs that you will be approved for disability.
Sign #1: You earn less than the monthly substantial gainful activity salary.
A substantial gainful activity (SGA) is defined by the SSA as a form of employment that pays enough wages for the worker to cover normal living expenses each month. This amount is $1,260 a month for non-blind individuals and $2,110 for blind individuals. This amount can change each year and it shows the administration how much you can work. These numbers are extremely important because the SGA is one of the main factors the administration looks at when deciding if you should be approved for disability.
Of course, low income does not always mean that the applicant is unable to work. So, the SSA evaluates the work environment as well. This goes the other way too. Those claimants who have a higher income can argue that there are other circumstances that should be taken into account. For example, if they work irregular hours, get special assistance or equipment, or work at a job that is suited unconventionally well to their disability. These facts will show that if the job was not so accommodating, the applicant would be paid much less. If you can meet this requirement, it’s a sign that you might be approved for disability.
Sign #2: You cannot work at your previous jobs.
Even if you are earning less than the SGA amount, your application has to prove that you cannot work at your previous jobs to be approved for disability. Because of this, SSA asks you for information about your past employment. They look at your relevant work history: job descriptions, demands of past employment, difficulties you experienced, how your condition affected your performance. Your previous relevant work can be great evidence for getting you approved for disability benefits.
If you are older than 31 years, the SSA expects you to have 20 job credits in the past 15 years. You can earn job credits by paying Social Security taxes through your wages. In 2020, $1,410 of earnings gets you one credit, up to the maximum of four credits per year. The credits you earn remain on your Social Security record even if you change jobs or have no earnings for a while. You can work around this requirement if you are a younger claimant. This requirement applies to the Social Security Disability Insurance, so you may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income if you do not have enough credits.
As we know, SSA will look at your age, abilities, and education. If the administration can see that you can’t go back to the job you used to perform and cannot work at other positions that would pay you a living wage, this is the second sign that you will be approved for disability.
Sign #3: You worked recently and paid enough social security taxes.
One of the major requirements for qualifying is that you paid enough money in taxes to the Social Security Administration. This is tallied up in credits and you can earn up to four credits per year of employment. When you apply for disability, they expect you to have 40 tax credits. They also expect that you collected 20 work credits in the 10 years before your application. This, like the SGA depends on your age. The younger you are, the most likely you can qualify with fewer credits. And also similar to SGA, this requirement can be avoided if you are applying for Supplemental Security Income. So, if you have paid enough taxes and worked recently enough, this can be a sign that you will be approved.
Sign #4: You have day-to-day difficulties and sufficient medical evidence.
If you are trying to get approved for disability, medical evidence is probably the most important factor. This is what the administration uses to see if you really are disabled and if the evidence is not sufficient, you will most likely be denied. According to the SSA, “your condition must significantly limit your ability to do basic work such as lifting, standing, walking, sitting, and remembering – for at least 12 months. If it does not, we will find that you are not disabled.”
When the SSA looks at your claim, they want to know how you are affected by your condition in everyday life. Your medical evidence should show how you are inconvenienced in your mobility, personal hygiene, cooking, hobbies, dressing, and social interactions.
When choosing medical evidence, make sure it is relevant to your case. If you can show that your medical condition keeps you from living a functioning, healthy life, this is a sign that you will be approved for disability. So, before applying for disability, we suggest you schedule an appointment with a doctor and speak with them about what limitations you have. Tell your doctor about your difficulties and restrictions. They will be able to assist you in showing these limitations in your application.
When you are preparing the medical evidence, you should also take a look at the SSA’s list of impairments. There is no guarantee that you’ll be granted the benefits. However, if you have sufficient medical evidence about an impairment from their list that shows how you are affected in your day-to-day-life, then you can take this as a fourth sign that you will be approved for disability.
Sign #5: You are a legal US resident.
The fifth sign for your approval is your residence status. Social Security benefits are restricted to U.S. citizens and legal residents who contribute to Social Security taxes.
Sign #6: You are of advanced age.
If you are over 50 years old and applying for social security benefits, the SSA considers you as an individual of advanced age. People who are older fall into a different category and sometimes they have a better chance at getting approved for disability. This is because claimants who are of advanced age have less restrictive work limits when it comes to disability insurance. Even if you can still do some sedentary or light work after the age of 50, the SSA can still consider you as disabled. However, if you meet the other conditions mentioned above, it can only improve your chances of getting approved.
Of course, no one can guarantee you a positive result. Some claimants might turn to disability attorneys for help. A disability attorney is someone who will file the application for you, keep the paperwork organized and help you with the appeals process if it becomes necessary.
If speaking to a professional is not possible, then we hope that this article can provide you with sufficient information. Now that you’ve read it, you should have a better idea of whether or not you will be approved for disability. The process can be long and daunting but if you’ve done enough research and prepared your claim sufficiently, your chances of being approved will be much better.
- 5 Signs That You Will Be Approved for Disability, Victor Malca Law P.A., https://victormalcalaw.com/approved-for-disability/
- Disability Benefits – How You Qualify, Social Security Administration, https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/disability/qualify.html
- What Are Signs You Will be Approved for Disability, Collins Price Attorneys, https://www.collinsprice.com/what-are-signs-you-will-be-approved-for-disability/
- 5 Best Ways to Know if You’ll Qualify for Disability, Disability Benefits Help, https://www.disability-benefits-help.org/top-5/best-ways-to-qualify