Understanding the basics of Social Security disability benefits

Social Security disability benefits are available to disabled individuals who are unable to work because of a physical or mental medical condition. Navigating eligibility requirements, the application process, and the appeals process can be complex to understand. The process of applying for Social Security disability benefits can be daunting but they are oftentimes badly-needed benefits.

To be considered disabled, the applicant for disability benefits must suffer from a physical or mental medical condition that prevents them from working and is expected to last greater than 12 months or result in death. In addition, applicants must have sufficient work history to qualify for disability benefits. In circumstances when a disabled individual does not have the necessary work history to qualify for benefits, additional options, such as Supplemental Security Income, may be available to them.

Certain medical impairments are listed by the Social Security Administration, however, it is possible to apply if the applicant suffers from a physical or mental medical condition not on the list. It is important to provide adequate medical evidence of the applicant's disability but disabled individuals should also try not to be too discouraged if their application for disability benefits is initially denied because most initial applications are. As a result, disabled individuals applying for disability benefits should also be familiar with the appeals process when an application for benefits has been denied.

There is a lot to know about the process of applying for Social Security disability benefits. From understanding how to qualify, the application process and the 4 stages of the appeals process, disabled individuals and their families should be familiar with the different disability benefits options available, how to qualify for them and how to obtain benefits when needed.

Source: Socialsecurity.findlaw.com, "Social Security Disability Explained," Accessed Feb. 1, 2017

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