Many people in Houston are aware of the Social Security Disability Insurance benefits program, but they do not know much about how to apply for benefits or prove the facts necessary to support the claim. The basic factual elements of an SSDI claim depend upon the language of the Social Security Administration regulations that govern the program.
A person is eligible for SSDI benefit if he or she is completely unable to work for a period of 12 months or more. The test sounds simple, but it involves a number of sub-issues that require substantial evidence. A disability is defined as the total inability, by reason of an illness or injury, to be gainfully employed. The illness or injury must be permanent, that is, it must be expected to last at least one year or to result in death.
“Total disability” means the inability to engage in any “substantial gainful activity.” For purposes of SSDI benefits, substantial gainful activity is the ability to earn at least $1090 per month. In other words, the claimant must prove that he or she is unable to earn at least $1090 per month.
The first step in proving the existence of a medical condition that satisfies the SSA definition of total disability is the gathering of the claimant’s medical records. In addition to the observations and opinions of medical providers, the claimant must provide evidence of the disability. This evidence can include the claimant’s work records and the observations of other persons, either co-workers or friends.
The SSA attempts to make the SSDI application process as easy as possible, but a lawyer who is knowledgeable about the claims process and the types of evidence that the SSA will find convincing can provide invaluable assistance. Also, a lawyer with SSDI experience can help appeal an adverse decision.