Defining ‘Disabled’ for Social Security Benefit Eligibility
Do you think you might be disabled? To receive benefits, your disability must fit within a specific definition set out by the Social Security Administration. That agency defines a disability as the “inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity 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.”
In other words, you must have been diagnosed with a condition that will significantly alter your ability to work and carry on a “normal” life.
Common Types of Disabilities That Qualify Someone for Benefits
The Social Security Administration offers an impairment listing manual. The “blue book” outlines the physical and mental disabilities that might qualify you for benefits. Those conditions include:
- Musculoskeletal problems
- Cardiovascular conditions
- Vision or hearing loss
- Respiratory illnesses
- Neurological disorders
- Mental illness
- Immune system diseases
What if your disability is not one of those common types of disabilities? That doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t get benefits. Social Security has the ability look at your condition and determine if it may be considered “medically equivalent” to one of the conditions on their list. You might qualify for benefits if your condition limits your ability to function and perform everyday tasks.
Can You Receive SSI and SSDI? Can You Collect from Social Security and the VA?
The SSI and SSDI disability programs are funded in different ways. So many people ask if they can get both SSI and SSDI benefits at the same time. The answer? It depends.
Keep in mind that SSI is a needs-based program with income restrictions. Suppose you are receiving SSDI benefits. To also qualify for SSI, the amount of SSDI money you received would have to be below a certain threshold. In many cases, if you’ve worked long enough to qualify for SSDI payments, your income and assets threshold is often not low enough to also qualify for SSI.
If you are receiving VA benefits, can you also claim Social Security benefits? You may be able to claim both benefits.
VA disability benefits are not income-based. If you are currently receiving VA benefits, you might also be able to claim SSDI benefits. As for the income-based SSI benefits, if you are a disabled veteran and in the needs-based VA pension program, you might be able to claim your VA pension as well as SSI benefits.
Applying for more than one benefit can be a difficult and frustrating process. You may be approved for one benefit, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll easily be approved for the other.
Your best course of action? Reach out to the Jackson Social Security benefits attorney at Derek L. Hall, PC.