A disability attorney is important in helping applicants for disability benefits understand each and every technical, legal, and medical term encountered during the application process. In this blog I will define and explain the term disability” as it is used by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
The SSA administers two programs that provide benefits based on disability. The first is the Social Security disability insurance program authorized by Title II of the Social Security Act, and the second is the supplemental security income (SSI) program authorized by Title XVI of the Social Security Act.
Individuals are “insured” under the Social Security Act based upon their contributions to the Social Security trust fund in the form of the Social Security tax on their wages and earnings. Title II provides for payment of disability benefits to these “insured” individuals and their certain disabled dependents. Obtaining insured status is a complex topic. In general, there is a two part test: one must pay in 40 quarters over his or her life, and pay in 20 of the last 40 quarters. In short, for most, you have to pay in 10 year’s worth, and pay in 5 of the last 10 years. Again, this is complex, and is often the topic of an hour log seminar at national training seminars.
Title XVI provides for payments of SSI to disabled individuals who have limited income and resources (think those that did not pay enough in to be “insured”, yet are disabled and relatively poor).
The Social Security Act and SSA administrative regulations prescribe rules for determining whether an individual is “disabled” under the Social Security Act. SSA’s definition and criteria for determining disability may differ from those applied in other public and private disability programs.
Disability is defined as the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months. This definition is the same for all individuals applying for disability benefits under Title II, and for adults applying under Title XVI.
As for children, Title XVI provides that a child under age 18 will be considered disabled if he or she has a medically determinable physical or mental impairment or combination of impairments that causes marked and severe functional limitations, and that can be expected to cause death or that has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months. In my experience, children’s cases are harder to win than an adult.
Retaining the services of a qualified Kentucky Social Security Disability attorney can provide valuable assistance to any claimant apply for disability benefits. Contact Sullivan Law Office today. We offer free consultations, so you have absolutely nothing to lose! We look forward to hearing from you. Call 888-587-0228 or visit us online.