If you have a long-term or permanent impairment that prevents you from working, you have the right to file a disability claim with the Social Security Administration for monthly benefits. Millions of people file applications for Social Security Disability benefits every year. Unfortunately, many valid applications are denied or delayed due to simple misunderstandings and preventable errors.
If you plan to file a claim for benefits or need help with a denied claim, the North Carolina Social Security Disability lawyers of Poisson, Poisson & Bower, PLLC can help you navigate the system and seek the full payments you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case and get answers to your questions.
How Does Social Security Define Disability?
To be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, you must be disabled. The Social Security Administration (SSA) defines “disabled” as a person who:
- Is unable to perform any “substantial gainful activity” because of a physical or mental impairment
- Has a mental or physical impairment that is expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months or result in death
When the SSA determines whether you can perform substantial gainful activity, its first step will typically be to evaluate your ability to do your most recent job or any other jobs you have held within the past 15 years. If you are incapable of working in any of your previous roles, the SSA will judge whether you may be able to perform other types of work given your limitations, age, skill set, and education.
In some cases, you may satisfy the SSA’s definition of disability if your impairment meets the criteria outlined in the administration’s Listing of Impairments. This document contains dozens of conditions, including arthritis, kidney disease, and depression. However, your condition must be particularly severe to qualify for approval based on the criteria described in the listing.
What Kinds of Social Security Benefits Are There?
There are two main categories of benefits that our Social Security Disability attorneys at Poisson, Poisson & Bower, PLLC assist clients with:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) – These benefits come from payroll contributions. So they are available to people who worked for a certain minimum number of years while contributing to the Social Security trust fund.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) – These benefits, on the other hand, are available based on financial need rather than work or earnings history.
Regardless of whether you seek SSDI or SSI benefits, you must establish that you are disabled, or medically eligible, to receive benefits.
The SSA also administers other types of benefits programs, including:
- Retirement benefits, which are available after you have worked a qualifying job for at least 10 years before you retire once you reach age 62
- Dependents benefits, which are available to spouses and dependent children of retired or disabled workers who qualify for benefits
- Survivor benefits, which are available to surviving spouses and dependents of deceased retired or disabled workers who qualified for benefits