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Are You Eligible for Any Disability Benefits?

The first thing people wonder when they become sick, injured or disabled is whether or not they will qualify for disability. First, ask yourself if this is temporary. If yes, for how long? Is the disability the result of an injury and how long will it take to heal. Or perhaps you have a medical condition that certifies you as being permanently disabled. The answer to these questions are a good way to decide when and if you should file for social security disability.

What Is Your Date of Last Insured? 

Many people mistakenly believe they automatically qualify for government benefits if sick, injured or disabled. According to experienced social security lawyers illinois residents that stop “contributing” to social security, after about five years, are no longer “insured.” This only applies to disability coverage, not retirement funds.

In order to receive full disability benefits, a person must have worked a minimum of 20 quarters, out of the last 40 quarters. That’s approximately 5 years out of the last 10. You must have contributed either via W-2 deductions, through an employer or paid SSA taxes via a 1099.

To qualify, you will either have to file within your “DLI” date last insured, or prove that you were disabled before the expiration of your DLI. There are a few gray areas about this topic, and thus, you should consult a social security attorney to help you figure out these qualifiers.

Are You Filing for SSDI or SSI Benefits?

The type of qualifiers mentioned above are under the social security disability (SSDI) benefits, but there are two programs. There is also a another program called SSI or supplemental security income. It doesn’t pay much and the Social Security Administration refers to it as Title 16 benefits. Claimants who have not paid into the social security program long enough to accrue adequate quarters for insured status can apply for SSI. But do you qualify for this program?

Qualifying for the SSI program boils down to your current financial situation. If you don’t make much money, you can file for the benefits. Things get more complicated if you’re married and your spouse makes more money above the income limit, or has assets considered excessive. It’s complex, but that doesn’t mean you should not consider filing for Title 16 benefits.

Is This a Permanent or Temporary Disability?

No matter what type of disability you are applying for, you must determine if it’s temporary or permanent. The time consideration is important because if you are applying for SSDI, the rules require you to demonstrate that the disability will last or is expected to last more than 12 months. Keep in mind the clock to receive disability benefits begins not when you initially became disabled, but when you stopped working. This date is referred to as the Onset date. Sometimes that onset date can be when you became sick AND stopped working. For example, you had a car accident on December 10th, and you stopped going to work after that date. That is your onset date.

Now you probably think that if you file that very same week after becoming injured, you’ll start receiving benefits immediately, but you would be wrong. That is never the case. Getting approved for benefits can be tricky, and less than 40 percent of applicants are approved each year. It could take up to two years, many denial letters, and several appeals before the Social Security Administration awards you any benefits. There are various methods and steps you can follow that will increase your chances of being approved for benefits, but the one thing every prospective SSDI or SSI claimant should do before filing is consult an experienced attorney that knows the ins and outs of disability benefits.

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