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What Constitutes a Disability and How Do You Claim One?

Admin - January 13, 2021 - 0 comments

Did you sustain an injury at work? Are you dealing with a long-term mental or physical affliction that has crippled your life?

If so, you may qualify for disability benefits.

What constitutes a disability? Legally, a disability entails a physical or emotional condition that restricts your ability to perform important tasks.

If you have a disability, you may qualify for social security assistance. If you’re a disabled veteran, you may qualify for VA assistance. 

This article will show you different ways of claiming disability. Let’s explore.

ADA Disability 

ADA stands for the Americans with Disability Act. It protects Americans with disabilities in the workforce.

An employer cannot fire you and must make reasonable accommodations in the workplace. Employers also cannot retaliate against you in any way. Moreover, they cannot probe into the nature of your disability or force you to undergo a medical examination.

To receive ADA protections, you must have a significant impairment that impedes your daily life, such as the inability to: 

  • Speak
  • Hear
  • See
  • Work 
  • Learn
  • Breathe

The ADA covers mental impairment as well. That said, a disability alone won’t entitle you to ADA protections. You must meet two core standards:

  1. You must be qualified for the job (i.e. education, certification, experience, licensure, etc.).
  2. You must perform job duties with or without reasonable accommodations. 

If you believe you’re undergoing discrimination, you can file a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Additionally, contact a lawyer for further guidance. 

VA Disability

VA disability covers physical and mental ailments as well. The VA will also cover mental afflictions such as PTSD, anxiety, and depression. To be eligible for VA compensation, you must fall into the following categories:

  • You participated in active or inactive training
  • You suffered from a sickness or injury while serving
  • You had a condition beforehand, but serving made the condition worse
  • You developed a condition after serving

Conversely, the VA won’t cover conditions such as substance abuse problems, impulse control issues, developmental disabilities, and personality disorders. Nevertheless, veterans should still file a claim if they think their condition stemmed from their military service. 

Social Security Disability Income (SSDI)

You don’t have to be in the VA to receive compensation for your disability. If you have a long-term physical or mental ailment, you may qualify for disability income. The disability must impact your ability to engage in major activities. 

A qualified disability may result in impending death. In other cases, the disability will last longer than six months. You’re also qualified if you’ve contended with the disability for six months or longer. 

If you have a permanent or severe disability, you can receive disability income for life. You’ll file at a local Social Security office, or you can use a state agency. 

Social security payments can vary, but most recipients usually receive between $800 and $1,800 a month. If you have other income sources, however, you could receive lower payouts.

Social Security Disability vs SSI

SSI stands for supplemental security income and is for applicants who are unable to work. SSDI applies to disabled workers who have enough work credits to qualify.

These are workers who have contributed to social security over the years via FICA. Conversely, SSI is based on need alone, and you don’t need work credits. SSI is also a means-tested program.  

Means-tested refers to a process in which applicants must go through a qualification process to receive benefits. People receiving SSI can also receive Medicaid or food stamp benefits. 

As of 2021, here are the maximum benefits for SSI recipients:

  • Individuals: $794/mo.
  • Individuals with spouses: $1,191/mo.
  • Essential People: $397/mo.

The main qualifications for SSI include limited income and assets worth less than $2,000. 

Claiming Disability

Whether you’re applying for SSDI or SSI, go to the official security website to begin the application process. You can also call or visit a local social security field office to apply in person. Before applying, obtain the Adult Disability Checklist.

It will tell you how to create a social security account and what type of information you’ll need. You’ll need the following documents to apply:

  • Proof of U.S. citizenship
  • W-2 documents of self-employment tax returns from the previous year
  • Paystubs, settlement agreements, or award letters showcasing workers’ comp benefits (if applicable)
  • Medical documents in form of a doctor’s certification, medical reports, medical records, or test results
  • Military discharge paperwork (if you served before 1968)

Overall, the application will inquire about your job history, marriage, and medical information. You’ll include this information on the Disability Benefit Application. Then, you’ll complete a medical release form. 

After completing the application, you’ll go through a review process. Authorities will contact you if they need additional information.

They’ll also convey if anyone in your family is eligible to receive benefits under your application. Plus, they’ll convey if you’re entitled to benefits under someone else’s account. Finally, you’ll wait in the mail for a decision.

The Importance of Legal Representation

Regardless of what type of disability you’re claiming, you should have a lawyer by your side. Choose a lawyer who is familiar with disability benefits.

Whether you’re applying for retirement or social security benefits, you could face unjust denials or additional hurdles. If you need legal representation, check out this service

What Constitutes a Disability Overall?

If you’re wondering, “What constitutes a disability?”, it entails any physical or mental affliction that hampers your ability to engage in routine tasks. A disability can inhibit your ability to perform essential tasks in the workplace.

Therefore, employers must provide reasonable accommodations so you can do your job. The disabled have three primary options when it comes to income assistance: VA disability, SSDI, or SSI. Regardless of the program, you must provide medical documentation showcasing your disability.  Interested in reading more? Read more on our blog to gain insight into other topics. 

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