Qualifying For Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability Benefits in Muskegon

A Muskegon SSDI Attorney Guiding You

In order to receive Social Security disability benefits, a claimant must be able to prove numerous factors about their mental or physical health condition.

A claimant needs to prove:

  • The condition is serious enough to significantly impact their ability to work.
  • The condition prevents them from earning enough money for their work to be considered a “substantial gainful activity.”
  • The condition must last (or be projected to last) at least one full year.

To be eligible, a claimant must also have worked and paid into Social Security. In 2018, if your net earnings were $5,280 or more, you received the yearly maximum of 4 credits. No one needs more than 40 credits to qualify, and you may need less.

Alternatively, the claimant may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which involves meeting low income and asset guidelines.

The Decision-Making Process

Making a claim with Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or SSI can be a long process. Retaining a knowledgeable SSDI lawyer in Muskegon can make the process much easier and more efficient.

The main steps for the process are outlined here:

  • Social Security receives a disability claim. This can happen over the phone or at a local Social Security office.
  • A disability interview is conducted. Appropriate paperwork is completed, and the claim is entered into Social Security’s system.
  • The case is assigned to an examiner with Michigan Disability Determination Services (DDS).
  • The examiner will make a medical determination for the case by contacting the claimant’s care providers and collecting medical records. This process can take several weeks or even months.

What Do DDS Examiners Look for in a Disability Claim?

In consultation with mental and medical consultants assigned by DDS, the examiner determines the following:

  • Whether or not the claimant can perform other kinds of work.
  • Whether or not the claimant can return to their past work.
  • The claimant’s physical or mental limitations which exist due to their condition.
  • The nature and requirements of the claimant’s past work.
  • Whether the claimant’s symptoms/test results meet the requirements of a disability listing.

If the examiner finds that you cannot perform your past work or some other type of other work, you will be eligible to receive SSDI or SSI benefits.

Can You Claim Disability and Still Work?

It depends. If the work you are doing is considered a substantial gainful activity (SGA), then you cannot also receive disability benefits. If you work and make less than a certain amount, then you are able to work. If you make more than the specified amount, then you would lose your benefits.

Contact Nolan & Shafer PLC at (231) 403-0040 for a free claim evaluation with our Muskegon SSDI attorney. We serve clients in Grand Rapids and the surrounding areas.


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