Proving Eligibility for Disability Welfare Benefits

Published: 14th October 2008
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A disability at any age can be difficult for anybody. Losing the ability to be able to support yourself is never easy. Aside from the emotional distress this brings you, there is the more obvious economic impact on your life. Questions such as where you would the means to support your daily needs are compounded by other health-related concerns, especially since most if not all disabilities require medical attention or regular therapy. Being able to claim disability welfare benefits would take a big load off the shoulders of people who really need them.

The Social Security Administration pays disability benefits through two programs; the Social Security disability insurance and the Supplemental Security Income.

Qualifying for disability welfare benefits is the more difficult part of the process. Disability benefits can be claimed whether you are young or old, there are a few key factors to consider when filing for this sort of benefit.

Disability by Federal Definition

To be eligible for disability welfare benefits, the person concerned should be qualified as "disabled" under the very strict federal definition of the word. A person is considered disabled if he/she has a physical or mental condition that prevents him/her from working. This disability should be expected to last for at least a year or something that might result to the person's death. It is important to note that the Social Security Administration does not support people with short-term or partial disability.

The SSA has medical experts that go over disability claims and determines if the claims can be approved according to a list of mental and physical conditions. There is even a different list of impairments for children and adults.

Meeting Earnings Requirement

Aside from meeting the required federal definition for "disability", a member must also have passed the earnings test:

• The "recent work" test is based on the age of the member at the time he/she became disabled

• The "duration of work" test, which determines if a member has worked long enough in a job or jobs that are under the SSA

Certain family members of workers with a disability may also receive some benefits from the Social Security Administration. Here are a few instances where this may be applicable:

• The member's wife - provided that he/she is 62 or older

• The member's wife (at any age) - if he/she is taking care of your child who is disabled or younger than 16

• The member's unmarried child - must be under 18 or (if in elementary or high school full time) 19 years old

• The member's unmarried disabled child - the disability should have started before the age 22, and it should meet the federal definition of "disability"

In some cases, a divorced spouse may also be entitled to some disability benefits provided that he/she:

• Has been married to the member for at least 10 years

• Is currently not married

• Is at least 62 years old

Take note that disability welfare benefits paid to a divorced spouse does not affect or reduce the benefits the member or his/her children will receive.

Sometimes claims for disability welfare benefits may be rejected by the Social Security Administration. If this happens to you, do not immediately lose hope. Oftentimes the medical proof you present may just not fit the very stringent definition of "disability". This decision is open to be contested and appealed.

However, before you make an appeal, determine first if you really do qualify for disability welfare benefits. You do have the right to be represented by a lawyer. It is best if you seek legal advice regarding the matter so you can determine if you really are entitled to disability benefits and be advised about what you can do to be able to make a claim.

To help you pursue your welfare benefits and other social security claims, you can consult with our skilled social security attorneys. You can visit our website to avail of our free case evaluation.

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