Eligibility for Social Security Disability Benefits in Alabama
Learning whether you qualify
Understanding Social Security disability eligibility in Alabama can be difficult, but it is essential to presenting a convincing claim to the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA is very strict about who can receive disability benefits and if your application does not offer proof that you meet these strict requirements, you may not obtain the benefits you deserve even if you are truly disabled. At Byron A. Lassiter & Associates, P.C., we work hard to get you the benefits you deserve by helping you understand how to obtain your benefits and guiding you through all levels of appeal if your benefits are denied.
SSI eligibility in Alabama
To be eligible for SSI benefits, you must meet certain residency and other requirements and be either age 65 or older, blind or disabled, as well as having limited income and resources. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has strict definitions of these requirements:
- Central vision of 20/200 or less in your better eye even with glasses, contact lenses or other corrective lenses
- Limited field of view in your better eye that is less than a 20-degree angle in diameter
Disability is also strictly defined by the SSA. If you are 18 years old or older, your SSI eligibility in Alabama depends on whether you have a physical or mental disability that can be diagnosed, as well as if you meet other requirements:
- Your disability prevents you from substantial gainful activity, or making your living
- Your disability is expected to result in death or has lasted or is expected to last for 12 months or more
Not all disabilities meet the requirements for Social Security disability eligibility in Alabama. To learn more about which disabilities qualify, please see our page on Eligible Disabilities.
SSDI eligibility in Alabama
To be eligible for monthly Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you must first have worked in jobs covered by Social Security and have earned enough credits. SSDI eligibility in Alabama is also based on whether you have a medical condition that meets the SSA’s definition for disability. For most people, the definition of disability for SSDI benefits is the same as for SSI benefits. To learn more about the requirements for Social Security disability benefits, please see our page on SSDI Requirements.
Qualifying Disabilities: Adult Listing of Impairments
The first thing to think about when considering eligibility for Social Security disability benefits is whether your disability is found in the adulting listing of impairments, also known as the Social Security Blue Book. If you have a condition that is listed within the Blue Book, then the Social Security Administration will automatically find that you are disabled. This is because all of the listings within the Blue Book are considered severe enough that the SSA believes they automatically preclude a person from engaging in substantial gainful activity.
While having a condition that is listed in the Blue Book (and being able to prove that you have it) may automatically qualify you as disabled, you can still qualify for disability benefits even if your condition is not within the adult listing of impairments.
How the SSA Decides if You Are Disabled
If you have a condition that is not listed within the adult listing of impairments, then the Social Security Administration will make a determination about your disability by asking four questions:
- Are you working? The first thing that the SSA will want to know about you is whether or not you are working. While working itself will not automatically disqualify you from receiving SSA benefits, you will be disqualified if you make more than a certain amount of money per month. This is because in order to receive disability benefits, you can’t be engaging in what’s called “substantial gainful activity,” or SGA.
- Is your disability/condition severe? The second thing that the Social Security Administration will consider when deciding whether or not you meet the eligibility requirements for disability insurance is whether or not your condition is severe. The SSA concludes that a condition is severe when:
- It causes marked functional impairment that limits your ability to do basic work-related activities; and
- It has lasted or is expected to last for at least 12 months or result in death.
If the SSA determines that your condition is severe, then it will ask two more questions before deciding that you meet the criteria for “disabled.”
- Can you do the work you did previously? Just because you’re not working doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re not able to work. For example, the SSA may determine that your condition does prevent you from performing certain types of work, but you’re actually able to do the same job that you did prior to suffering your disability. If you are able to do the work that you were able to do before your disability, then the SSA will conclude that you don’t have a qualifying disability.
- Can you do other work? Finally, the last question that the SSA will ask is whether or not you can adjust to other work. If you can perform other work and earn enough doing other work to support yourself, you won’t be considered disabled in the eyes of the SSA.
Contact an experienced disability attorney for personal assistance
At Byron A. Lassiter & Associates, P.C., we strive to help you understand your rights to benefits and obtain the benefits you have earned and deserve. Through well-thought-out appeals, we are able to help clients throughout Alabama. If you have additional questions about Social Security disability or want personalized help, please feel free to contact us online or by toll free phone at 800.544.3568.