You may be looking to apply for Social Security Disability benefits in Iowa. For you to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, there are two requirements you must meet:
1. You must be considered disabled according to the Social Security Administration’s definition.
2. You must have worked long enough and recently enough to qualify for SSDI benefits.
Let’s discuss what this means for Iowans who are seeking disability benefits.
Being Considered Disabled According to the Social Security Administration
The way the SSA defines disabled is likely different than you or your doctor define it. The SSA says in order to be considered disabled, you must have a severe medical impairment – or impairments – that prevent you from a) doing the type of work you used to do and b) prevents you from doing any other type of work.
Social Security Disability benefits are intended for individuals who cannot work because of disability. That means you should not be participating in what the SSA calls “substantial gainful activity.” Generally, if you earn more than $1,350 in 2022, you will not meet the SSA’s definition of disabled.
To be considered disabled, you also need to have a severe medical impairment, supported by medical evidence like test results and other medical records. The SSA keeps a list of certain severe conditions that automatically qualify a person as disabled. Even if you don’t qualify for one of these “listed conditions,” you may still be able to receive disability benefits.
If your condition is not listed in Social Security Law, the SSA will look at whether you can perform any type of work. The SSA will identify your limitations and then compare these restrictions to a list of physical and mental requirements of jobs you’ve had in the past 15 years. If they find you are unable to perform these types of jobs, they will move next to see if you can adjust to any other type of work.
There is no limit to the jobs that the SSA will consider at this point. However, they will keep your age, your education level, your past work experience, and any skills you have in mind when making this determination.
As you can see, it’s a complex decision as to whether Social Security will find you disabled.
Working Long Enough and Recently Enough for Disability Benefits
You also need to determine if you have worked long enough and recently enough to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.
SSDI benefits are like an insurance policy. You pay in a portion of your salary – in the form of taxes – to the Social Security Administration each month. That money helps fund the Social Security Disability program.
If at some point in your life you become disabled, you can then collect money from the disability program, similar to how a person collects money from an insurance policy after a car accident. Social Security Law says that you can only get disability benefits if:
1. You have paid enough money into the system while you were working
2. At least some of that work was performed recently.
To know if you have worked long enough to qualify, a good rule of thumb to follow is “Have you worked a total of 10 full years in your lifetime?” If you are younger than 31, you may be able to qualify with fewer years of work.
To know if you have worked recently enough, a good rule of thumb to follow is “Have you worked within the last 5 years prior to becoming disabled?”
If you have answered yes to both of these questions, you very likely meet this requirement. However, the easiest way to determine if you qualify is to review your Social Security Statement. To do this, you can either contact the SSA and request they send you a copy, or go online to review your statement on the SSA website.
Even if you meet both of these requirements, it can be difficult to get the benefits you deserve. An experienced Iowa Social Security Disability attorney can help you through the appeals process.If you have been denied disability benefits and would like a free, no-obligation case evaluation, call RSH Legal today at 1-800-433-0283.