Ask Lee Free

Michigan Social Security Disability Law

November 24, 2010

By: Eric Steinberg

I am often asked by clients about Social Security Disability, specifically what is social security disability (SSD), how does somebody qualify.

To start Social Security Disability is a benefit received from the Social Security Administration by disabled workers, and in some cases, their dependents, that are similar to old-age benefits received by retired workers.

Typically, the benefit is a monthly check sent by the federal government. The amount of the check depends on a number of factors, including your work history, the number of dependents, and previous income.

Social Security Disability is different than Supplemental Security Income (SSI).  SSI pays benefits to disabled adults children who have limited income, resources and work history.  To be eligible for SSI, you must either be 65 or older, blind or disabled.  If you are disabled, to qualify the government will look at how much income and resources (real estate, bank accounts, cash, stocks and bonds) you own.

How do I qualify for SSD? 

To quality for Social Security Disability benefits, you must have worked for a certain amount of time and earned a certain amount of work credits to become eligible.  You earn credits based on how long you’ve worked and how much you earned income.  Generally, you need 40 credits, 20 of which were earned in the last 10 years ending with the year you become disabled.

In addition, you must meet the federal government’s definition of disability. Disability is defined as being unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity because of a medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to last for a continuous period of at least12 months, or be expected to result in death.

Inability to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA) means that if you work, you do not earn more than a certain amount of money. This amount changes every year. If you have an impairment that meets the requirements for disability, you won’t qualify for SSD if you earn more than the SGA level.

How does the government decide a claim?

When determining a social security disability claim, the federal government evaluates a specific set of criteria.   This criterion includes (1) if you are engaged in substantial gainful activity (SGA), (2) the severity of your injuries and impairments and their effect on your ability to function mentally or physically, (3) prior work, (4) age, (5) education and (6) work experience.

Obviously, the government will look at the severity of your conditions.  The government does this by looking at your medical records and medical history.  Generally, the government will look to see if your condition is found in a list of disabling conditions, called the Listing of Impairments.  If your condition is on the list, this will be helpful in gaining approval for benefits.  However, the government will also look at work you did previously, your age and education.

How much in benefits can I get?

The amount of money a beneficiary can receive in SSD payments per month varies.  Use this benefit calculator as a way to figure out what benefits you may be entitled to.

This is just a brief overview of the Social Security Disability system.  Please contact our office and Michigan Social Security Disability lawyersabout your ability to quality for Social Security Disability benefits.

Recent Blogs & News