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How to qualify for Social Security disability benefits

If you are injured and the injuries are so severe you cannot work, you can apply for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. The process is a complicated affair, and it is best that a person who decides to go this route seek the advice of an experienced legal professional.

Qualifying for SSDI is a four-step process, with the first step being determining if you have worked enough to qualify for benefits. The Social Security Administration determines eligibility based on the total number of credits you have. For each year that you work you can earn up to four credits a year. To earn a credit, you have to meet wage guidelines. For example, in 2014, every $1,200 earned equaled one credit. So, if you earned $4,800 during the year, you would have earned the maximum four credits you could receive. To qualify for SSDI, you have to have at least 40 credits, with at least 20 credits earned in the last 10 years.

Along with meeting the eligibility requirements, you must also meet the Social Security Administration's definition of having a disability. According to the SSA, a disability is a condition in which:

-- You can no longer work in the job you worked previously

-- You are not eligible for retraining for another position because of your disability

-- You are expected to be disabled for at least a year or the condition is fatal.

Your disability also has to be on the recognized disability list that the Social Security Administration uses to determine eligibility. It is important to realize that unlike other agencies or organizations, the SSA does not recognize partial or temporary disability when rendering a decision about benefits. You are either able to work again or you are not. This is one reason why the process to get benefits can be daunting.

Minnesota residents who are contemplating seeking SSDI should do so if they feel they will never be able to work at an optimal level. Before embarking on the process, a person should make sure all qualifications are met before making the attempt. If a person runs into a block, such as the Social Security Administration denying the claim, speaking to a legal professional can help even out the playing field.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Disability Planner: How You Qualify For Social Security Disability Benefits" Aug. 18, 2014

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In Minnesota, we handle Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claims. Throughout the nation, we handle SSDI applications and appeals for people from Ohio to Kansas, North Dakota to Texas and everywhere in between.


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