Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits are available for a young adult in Pittsburgh if he or she meets certain criteria. Young adults, defined as persons who are over the age of 18, do not fall under the rules used for children or for older adults.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has developed special rules to evaluate young adults who apply for SSD benefits. This is necessary because young adults, unlike children under the age of 18, have had the opportunity to work but have not had enough time to accumulate as many work credits as older adults.
What are work credits?
In order to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you must have earned enough work credits before your condition prevented you from working. You earn up to four credits every year that you work in an eligible job that pays into the Social Security system. You must earn at least $1,300 for each work credit. Some types of jobs, like farm work, domestic work, and work for a church or related organization, have different rules since they do not pay into the Social Security system.
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What are the work credit rules for young people from the age of 18 to 23 years?
If you are between the ages of 18 and 23, you need at least six credits earned during the three-year period before you became disabled. You have to satisfy both the time requirement and the amount earned requirement.
By way of example, Alex became disabled when he was 23 years old. He had worked for six months when he was 20 and earned $12,000. He also worked from the time he turned 21 until he was 23, earning $18,000 one year and $21,000 the next. All these jobs paid into the Social Security system. Alex earned a total of 10 work credits during the three years before he became disabled, so he satisfies the work credits requirement.
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What are the work credit rules for people from the age of 24 to 30?
If you became disabled between the age of 24 and 30, you will need to have worked about half of the time between the age of 21 and the age at which you became disabled.
For example, Barb worked as a bank loan officer from the age of 23 until she was 29, when she became disabled. Her job paid into the Social Security system. She earned over $40,000 every year. Those six years of work earned enough work credits to satisfy the requirement for SSDI.
Are there any other requirements in addition to work credits?
In order to be eligible for SSDI benefits, a person must be completely disabled. To satisfy that requirement, your medical condition must render you unable to do any type of work.
There are also income limitations to SSDI eligibility. The 2017 SSDI income limit is $1,170 per month. If you are making more than $ 1,170 per month, you are not eligible for SSDI benefits. SSDI is intended to help people who are not able to work to support themselves because of their disability. If you are earning more than this monthly income limit, the SSA will determine that you are supporting yourself.
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What kinds of medical conditions qualify for SSDI?
The SSA uses their Blue Book, also called the Listing of Impairments, to evaluate medical conditions for purposes of disability. These medical conditions may include:
- Disorders of the musculoskeletal system;
- Special senses and speech disorders;
- Respiratory disorders;
- Cardiovascular disorders;
- Digestive disorders;
- Genitourinary disorders;
- Hematological disorders;
- Disorders of the skin;
- Endocrine disorders;
- Congenital disorders that affect multiple body systems;
- Neurological disorders;
- Mental disorders;
- Cancer; and
- Immune system disorders.
The Blue Book contains detailed requirements for the conditions it deems to be severe enough to qualify as disabling. The SSA requires certain test results or other objective parameters to prove the severity of your condition. These parameters are highly technical and are written in complex medical terminology.
What if my condition is not in the Blue Book?
It is still possible to qualify for benefits if you can prove that you have a medical condition that is so severe it prevents you from working. You would have to provide medical records, laboratory and other test results, doctor reports, surgical records, x-rays, or whatever objective measures are pertinent to your situation.
What if I do not have enough work credits but I cannot work due to a medical condition?
There is a safety net that was designed to keep disabled people from being destitute. If you have a medical condition that prevents you from being able to do any kind of work, you have low income, and a low dollar amount of assets, you might qualify to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.
How can a young adult in Pittsburgh get help with an SSD claim?
At Berger and Green, our disability lawyers will help you with your claim. We have helped many young people in Pittsburgh get benefits, even when they were denied when they first filed their claim. When you are disabled, you are going through a stressful time, both medically and financially. We will fight to get you the disability benefits you deserve. Call us today at 412-661-1400 for your free consultation.