It is not enough to be injured. The injured worker or individual must also prove that they are disabled if they want to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Even if it is a life-changing injury like blindness or amputation that prevents the worker from loading trucks or caring for the elderly in a nursing home, it may still take time and effort to prove disability.
Qualifying for disability benefits
The Social Security Administration defines disability using the following guidelines:
- Unable to perform work done before the injury.
- Unable to perform other jobs due to injury.
- The injuries involve at least a year of recovery.
- The injuries will subsequently lead to death.
The SSA determines if the worker or individual cannot engage in gainful employment. So, the SSA will not classify them as disabled if they get a new job where their injury does not impair their ability to earn enough to support themselves. The amount typically paid goes up each year.
Medical history provides proof
Not providing enough proof of injury is a common reason for denying an SSDI or SSI claim. The claimant can help their case by providing all applicable medical information back to the time of the disability. While this is straightforward if the injuries are in the SSA’s Blue Book, a disability’s onset date may be more difficult to prove when it’s a mental health disability claim. Nonetheless, the claimant can still turn to employers and even family to help define the disability and how it impacted the claimant’s ability to earn a living.
Claimants can also help themselves by collecting other evidence. It can include detailed personal journal entries about the status of the injuries measured by performing daily activities or specific tasks. It can also involve people who witness the disability regularly who can also provide context about the nature of the disability.
Claimants can then organize all their information as convincing proof. If they have difficulty doing this or if the SSA denied the claim, which is common, it may be necessary to work with an attorney who handles SSDI and SSI claims.