Many claimants think they can only obtain disability benefits if they are permanently disabled.
One issue that often confuses clients is that the program known as "disability" is really made up two different programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
It can be difficult to get your disability application approved if you're claiming you can no longer work due to fibromyalgia, a condition with no known cause, that can be extremely difficult to treat.
In the process of filing for social security disability benefits, claimants are asked to fill out many forms. Some are simple, like a release of information that requires just a signature and witness. Others, like a Work History Report form [SSA-3369-BK] and Function Report-Adult form [SSA-3373-BK] are much more extensive and require a lot of thought and effort for each claimant.
The grid rules, or "medical vocational guidelines" are used in cases involving claimants over age 50.
The Cooperative Disability Investigations Unit (CDIU) investigates disability claims under Social Security Administrations Title II and Title XVI programs. The primary mission is to resolve questions of fraud on suspicious claims flagged by State disability examiners before they are paid. The CDI Unit also provides reports to disability examiners during continuing disability reviews (CDRs) of claims that are already being paid.
In deciding whether an applicant meets the qualifications for disability benefits, Social Security Administration will apply a five-step process known as sequential evaluation. The final step in the process considers vocational factors (age, education, and past work experience) along with the claimant's residual functional capacity, to see if the individual can make an adjustment to other work. Where enough vocational factors are favorably present, the medical-vocational guidelines ("grid rules") at Appendix 2 to 20 CFR 404.1569 should warrant disability for individuals who have reached a certain age bracket. Essentially, the rules lean toward a finding of disability for elder claimants with limited education and/or no transferable skills.
Each disability case follows a 5 step process set out by the federal government. The first step is to determine if a person is working at SGA (substantial gainful activity). Generally, in order to be eligible for disability there needs to be a 12-month period in your application period in which you were not making SGA. Substantial gainful activity changes with the year but for 2015 it was $1090. Therefore, there needs to be a 12-month period in which a person consistently made less than $1090 every month. There are some circumstances where making more than SGA can be explained legally, however, they are on a case by case basis.
If you are eligible for both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and workers' compensation benefits, you do not have to choose between the benefits. If you qualify, you can receive both types of benefits. However, your SSDI benefits may be reduced, depending on your previous income and the amount of benefits you receive.
Our Minneapolis Social Security disability law blog often discusses the types of challenges working Minnesotans face when they become disabled because of a serious injury, illness or other medical condition. However, there are also thousands of families in Minnesota who face similar challenges when caring for children who are disabled.