The Social Security system was enacted to provide a safety net for individuals who could no longer work. Though many of the recipients of Social Security are people who have retired from gainful employment, Social Security disability benefits are also available to people who cannot earn a living because of a disability or illness.
To collect Social Security disability payments, you must demonstrate that you have a condition that meets the legal definition of a disability. The requirements are threefold:
- The impairment must be physical or mental (you cannot collect for emotional trauma or disability)—Under Social Security Administration rules, a condition must be “medically determinable.” The burden of proof is always on the applicant for benefits. Typically, the determination of whether this test has been met is based on medical records, statements from licensed physicians or documentation from hospitals or care facilities.
- The disability must make it impossible for you to engage in any “substantial gainful work.”—the Social Security Administration will first look at whether your injury prevents you from doing the job you had before your disability. If it does, SSA will then assess whether you can perform any other type of substantial gainful employment, based on your age, education, training and work experience.
- Your disability must have lasted or be expected to last a minimum of 12 months; or must be expected to lead to your death—While your disability must last at least 12 months, you won’t have to wait that long to apply for benefits. Furthermore, if you start receiving benefits, but recover before 12 months has elapsed, you won’t have to pay the money received back.
Contact Our Office
For a free initial consultation, contact our office online or call us at 973-993-8787. We have office locations in Morristown and Newton, but will visit you in your home or the hospital, if necessary.
We take all Social Security disability claims on a contingency basis. You will not incur legal fees unless attorney Popper recovers compensation for your losses.