If you cannot work due to an injury or illness that results in a significant impairment, you may want to obtain Social Security benefits. But this can be an intimidating pursuit. Filing paperwork and dealing with a government agency may be daunting, but it is easier when you have the right help.
Most people do not even know where to start when it comes to applying for disability benefits, so you are not alone. Here are the first steps to take as you get ready to apply.
Determine if you match the requirements
A good place to start is reviewing how the Social Security Administration determines whether you qualify. In order to get benefits, the SSA must decide your condition is severe enough to prevent you from working and earning your own income. Review the requirements. If you feel like your situation qualifies you for benefits, it is time for the next step.
Talk to your physician
Let your doctor know you want to apply for disability benefits. Request all medical documents and records that may help you in filing your claim. Gathering as much medical documentation as possible will improve your chances of getting approved. SSA claim examiners look for proof of consistent and recent medical care for your specific condition.
In addition to medical records, talk to your doctor about writing a letter that details your medical condition and how he or she believes it will impact you moving forward. This type of written statement not only establishes the existence of your condition but also its severity and how it impairs your abilities.
Limit your income
If you have too much income, the SSA may deny your claim. In order to qualify for benefits, you cannot partake in what the SSA deems "substantial gainful activity." In 2019, the income cap is $1,220 for nonblind individuals and $2,040 for statutorily blind individuals.