Attorney David J. King


How can you know if you are eligible for disability benefits?

If you are unable to work because of a medical condition, mental or physical, you understand how hard that can be for you and your family. In addition to the struggles you face each day to simply deal with your disability and navigate your limitations, you may also face financial struggles as well. This is why you may want to file for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration.

The SSA holds a strict definition of disability. This means that even if you believe you have a genuine disabling medical condition and cannot work because of it, the SSA may not think the same thing. It’s not easy to navigate the claims and appeals process, and this is why you may want to start simply by learning more about eligibility requirements.

Who qualifies for benefits? 

Not everyone who has a serious medical condition qualifies for disability benefits. There are strict requirements, and even with the appropriate documentation, many initial claims come back denied. According to the SSA, a disability is something that keeps you from working for more than just a temporary or short amount of time. In order to qualify for these benefits, you must have a disability that will last for at least 12 months or likely result in death.

The SSA will also look at your ability to work. Qualified applicants must be unable to continue with their former employment and work in other capacities. If you can sustain substantial gainful activity, the SSA will likely not approve you for disability benefits.

Types of disabilities

There are different types of disabling medical conditions. Some applicants may have a severe injury that keeps them from working, while others may have a medical condition, such as a chronic illness, that prevents them from work. Others may be eligible for benefits because of a severe mental impairment. The SSA looks carefully at all documentation includes and determines whether an applicant has a genuine disability.

If you do not qualify initially or the SSA says you do not have a condition that meets their strict standard of disability, you have options. It may be possible to try again by asking for a reconsideration of your claim or moving forward with other steps in the appeals process.

Help from the beginning

You do not have to pursue disability benefits on your own. Working with an experienced South Dakota attorney from the very beginning of the claims process can help you avoid setbacks and mistakes that can keep you from getting the financial support you need in a timely manner.