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A look at how to apply for Social Security disability benefits

It can be extremely important for disabled individuals to be able to obtain the disability benefits they need. Close to 9 million disabled Americans received Social Security disability (SSD) benefits for at least part of 2015, however, some disabled individuals may not receive badly needed benefits because of the complexity of the application process which is why it is helpful to understand the application process and who qualifies for SSD benefits.

Despite seemingly high numbers of individuals receiving SSD benefits, a significant number of applications are denied each year. It is reported that the majority of applications are denied for medical reasons associated with a lack of documentation for the disability being claimed or technical errors related to the work history of the applicant. According to Social Security Administration standards for SSD benefits, to qualify for disability insurance benefits, the applicant must have a medical condition that is either physical or mental that is expected to last for at least a year or result in death.

In addition, the applicant must generally be unable to work because of the medical condition and the applicant must have sufficient work history to qualify for benefits. Different earnings test requirements are used to take into account the amount of time worked and the age of the applicant to evaluate recent work while also taking into account the length of time worked to ensure the applicant has enough Social Security credits to receive benefits.

Because the process of applying for SSD benefits can be complex and time-consuming, it is helpful to have thorough knowledge of the application process and a plan for applying. Disabled individuals who are unable to work because of their disability oftentimes rely on disability benefits which is why it is important for them to understand the application process.

Source: The Motley Fool, "Can I Get Social Security Disability Benefits?" April 16, 2016

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