Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI) are a wage replacement income for those who have previously worked and meet certain medical requirements.
If you work long enough at a job which is covered under the provisions of the Social Security Act and become disabled, you are probably eligible for Social Security Disability benefits.
According to the Social Security Administration, a "disability" can be physical or emotional, or some combination of both. To be entitled to benefits, you must have a disability severe enough to keep you from working in any regular paying job for at least 12 consecutive months. To be more specific, the test for eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits is not whether you can go back to a job you have lost. Neither is it whether you have been able to find a job recently. The test is whether you are physically and emotionally capable of doing a job consistently that is generally available in the national economy.
Furthermore, to obtain Social Security Disability benefits, you must have a doctor state that you are disabled. Your doctor's opinion should be supported by clinical findings and/or laboratory findings. Unfortunately, many genuinely disabling conditions are difficult to diagnose by objective testing. In cases like that, it is up to your attorney to present your doctor's reports properly and to convince the government that you deserve your Social Security Disability benefits.
For those who are disabled but have not worked long enough, benefits may be available through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. The medical requirements for SSI disability benefits are the same as those for SSDI. However, unlike SSDI, SSI eligibility is also based on need. In order to be eligible for the full SSI disability benefit, an individual must meet certain guidelines that define acceptable income and assets.
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