Frequently Asked Questions About Social Security Disability
Q. What are the basic rules to apply for Social Security Disability benefits?
A. The basic requirements are as follows:
- You are not working due to a severe, medically-documented impairment;
- You previously worked for a sufficient number of quarters to be insured under this program (see www.ssa.gov and go to Disability Benefits for details);
- You file your application within 5 years of the date you last paid into the SS system;
- Your condition prevents you from doing work that is like your prior work, in terms of its physical and mental requirements;
- Your condition is extremely severe and matches one of the “Listed Impairments” in the Regulations; or
- If you are a younger worker (under age 50), you are physically or mentally incapable of any kind of substantial gainful employment, no matter how simple it may be;
- If you are an older skilled worker, your condition limits you to work that your skills are not applicable to, and if you are older than 55 with a history of unskilled work, your condition limits you to sedentary work.
Q. What do I do if it has been more than 5 years since I last worked?
A. You may have to apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.
Q. I live with my spouse who is employed, and I am medically disabled, but it has been more than 5 years since I last worked. Can I apply for SSD or SSI?
A. Probably not. Your spouse’s income will be deemed to you, and if that income exceeds the SSI amount, you will not be eligible. In 2014, the SSI amount is $721/month (plus NJ State Suplement brings it to $752.25).
Q. How do I file my application?
A. You can file an SSD application online through the Social Security Administration website (www.ssa.gov). However, to file an application for SSI you must go to the local Social Security office in person.
To make an appointment or speak to an attorney about Social Security Disability applications and benefits, call 732-382-6070 or contact us online.