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By Jim Adler May 11, 2016

Many Americans face daunting disabilities early in life — before reaching retirement age. When disabilities prevent you from working, but you aren’t old enough to receive Social Security retirement benefits, you may need Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI.

But needing and getting are two different things. Do you qualify for disability insurance?

Work History is Important

The answer involves a number of factors, including your personal work history.

f you have been employed and have paid federal taxes from your paycheck in your lifetime, that means you have paid money into the Social Security Administration (SSA). Then you can qualify for disability payments from the fund you helped grow.

But to get SSDI payments, you must be disabled and unable to work. By contrast, if you’re doing any work that constitutes substantial gainful activity (SGA) and are earning enough money for a legitimate income, you will not qualify for SSDI, even if you suffer an illness or injury.

Such an illness or injury must be a mental or physical impairment that is serious enough to make you disabled and unable to work for a living — as determined by the SSA.

You Must Have a Qualifying Disability

But what constitutes a disability that enables you to get disability insurance? To receive SSDI benefits, you must have a qualifying disability in the eyes of the SSA.

Such qualifying disabilities are designated in a long list from the SSA. These include many categories, including impairments of the respiratory system (lung disorders), the cardiovascular system (heart disorders), the musculoskeletal system (bone disorders) and the digestive system (stomach and intestinal disorders).

Each of these categories and many other categories have long lists of impairments which may qualify you for SSDI.

You must be able to prove you suffer a specific disability on these lists in order to receive benefits. However, even if your disability is not on the lists, you still may be able to make a successful claim. Consult an SSDI lawyer with Jim Adler & Associates for help.

And remember: Just because your physician declares you are disabled does not mean you qualify for disability insurance. The crucial determination of disability is that of the Social Security Administration. It has its own criteria for disabilities, and you must satisfy those.

Your Age is a Factor

Your age also is an important factor when it comes to qualifying for disability insurance.

First, you cannot be 66 or older, which means you qualify for Social Security retirement benefits.

Americans who worked during their lifetime and paid federal taxes into Social Security can start getting back that money upon reaching retirement age.

But you can’t receive such retirement benefits along with disability benefits. Once you reach retirement age, you only can receive retirement benefits, even if you’re disabled. (Retirement benefits may pay more than disability benefits, anyway.)

If you’re under retirement age, age still can be a factor.

For instance, the SSA will grant disability benefits to those who, due to a disability, no longer can perform work to which they were accustomed. And if you’re 50 or older, you may have a better prospect of establishing with the SSA that this is the case. A younger person may be deemed more adaptable.

A person of any age who still can perform substantial gainful activity (SGA) and earn a legitimate income probably will not qualify for disability insurance.

Get a Disability Lawyer

Want to know more? Get a disability lawyer from Jim Adler & Associates, and get knowledgeable, experienced help for your claim.

Your financial well-being is too important to leave to chance. Contact us today for your free case review.

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