Being unable to work and support yourself because of a disability can be devastating. Fortunately, Social Security Disability Insurance benefits can provide an invaluable lifeline for people just like you. Securing SSDI benefits can be challenging, though.
As part of the process, you will have to prove your disability to the Social Security Administration — the SSA. As someone who is living through the daily ups and downs of your disability, it can feel frustrating to have to prove it to someone else. However, it is a necessary part of securing the benefits you need, so it is important to be as prepared as possible.
Understanding the SSA’s disability definition
The SSA has a fairly narrow view of disability. It will not give benefits to anyone that it believes is either temporarily or only partially disabled. Instead, you must meet the following criteria:
- Your disability must prevent you from doing the same work you did prior to your disability.
- Your disability must prevent you from performing other types of work.
- Your disability is expected to last at least a year or eventually cause your death.
Meeting this definition means that you cannot engage in any type of substantial gainful activity for profit or employment. The SSA places a cap on how much you can earn per month while still receiving SSDI benefits. If you earn more than the cap, the SSA might decide that you are no longer disabled and cut off your benefits.
Even if you meet the definition for disabled, the SSA might still deny you if you did not provide enough evidence to prove your disability. One of the most common reasons for denials is simply not providing enough medical evidence. You can improve your chances of approval by providing sufficient medical records that date back to the time you claim your disability started.
You can also provide evidence that shows how you have tried to handle the symptoms of your disability. For example, you can show that you did your best to comply with your treatment plan, like taking your medications and going to therapy sessions.
SSDI benefits can be life changing. However, proving your disability is not always easy, especially if it is debilitating enough to prevent you from working. There are steps that you can take to improve your chances of securing benefits though, including gathering important medical records, providing evidence of treatment compliance and seeking help when necessary.