Social Security is a Federal program that provides financial benefits to retired or disabled individuals. This program was set up by the Federal Government and is required for all workers earning an income. The purpose of the program is to provide financial assistance for an individual when they reach retirement age or if they become disabled prior to retirement age.
While both programs are managed through the Social Security Administration, they are significantly different in terms of their technical and medical requirements. Social Security Retirement is an age based program which you can elect to begin receiving as early as age 62.
The Social Security Disability Insurance coverage is just like how the name sounds. It is an insurance program run by the Federal Government meant to provide you financial assistance if you find yourself in a situation where you are unable to work due to a medical condition. This program is similar to car insurance in that you pay a premium and have disability coverage for a certain time period. You pay your “premium” by working and paying taxes into the Social Security system. To qualify for this insurance, you must have worked long enough and contributed enough in taxes to have this disability coverage.
Unlike the retirement program, Disability is not an automatic election. To qualify for these benefits you must meet both the technical and medical aspects of the program. As mentioned above, to meet the technical requirements of the program, you must have worked long enough and paid enough in taxes to have disability coverage. SSDI requires that an individual have worked and paid FICA taxes for the past 5 out of 10 years. As with any type of car insurance, your Social Security Disability insurance Coverage only lasts for five years after you stopped working and paying taxes into the program. This means if you stopped working and paying taxes in 2008 than you would need to prove your disability began prior to the expiration of your insurance coverage which would be in 2013 (five years after you stopped paying taxes).
If you are covered by the Disability Insurance program, the next step is to prove your medical eligibility. Meaning, your medical conditions must meet Social Security’s definition of disability. Social Security Disability is defined as inability to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA) by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s), which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months. Because of the 12 month durational requirement that is built into the Social Security Disability definition, you can tell this program is not meant to be a short term type of benefit. If you believe you will only be out of work for a short period of time, less than 12 months, then there is no point applying for the program. Social Security is very strict on the 12 month durational requirement.
To show you are unable to engage in substantial gainful activity due to a medically determinable impairment, you must show you are unable to not only perform your past relevant work as well as being unable to perform any other jobs in the national economy. One exception to this rule is if your medical condition meets a Social Security listing. These Listings are impairments which SSA has determined are so severe that automatically qualify you for benefits.
Much of the frustration involved in applying for Social Security Disability benefits can be avoided by seeking a Social Security Disability lawyer in Florida to look over your case and provide knowledgeable legal advice. At LaBovick, LaBovick & Diaz, we provide free evaluations at any stage in the process. Within minutes we can tell if you have a legitimate shot at obtaining Social Security Disability benefits.