Helping Injured Workers Since 1981

Qualifying For Social Security Benefits In Ohio

Applying for Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income benefits can be complicated if you are unfamiliar with the process. The vast majority of applications are denied on the first try, so if your application has been denied, you are not alone. We can answer your questions and explain what is required to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.

At Robert J. Dodd Jr., Co., L.P.A., our legal team is led by attorney Maureen Dodd, who practiced law with her father until his death in January 2021. With more than 25 years of experience, Maureen Dodd carries on her father’s legacy to help people with disabilities throughout Ohio.

For a free consultation, please call us at 740-693-1208 or send us an email. We have convenient office locations in New Lexington, Zanesville, Marietta and The Plains, and we serve clients in all the surrounding areas.

Types Of Social Security Disability Benefits

There are two types of disability programs available through the Social Security Administration (SSA). The most common programs are Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The requirements for qualifying for these two programs are similar but different. Please see our overview of the differences between SSDI and SSI to learn more.

  • In order to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance, you must have worked at a job and paid Social Security taxes to earn Social Security credits. While you are working, you can earn up to four Social Security credits per year. In order to qualify for SSDI, you need to have 40 credits, 20 of which must be earned in the last 10 years. See our overview of the Basics of SSDI to learn more.
  • Supplemental Security Income is available for those applicants who meet the disability requirements but have not earned enough work credits and have limited assets and resources.

The Definition Of Disability For Social Security Benefits

For either type of disability benefits, the SSA will consider whether your disability is a qualifying disability. After evaluating your work history to determine whether you have enough credits to qualify for SSDI. Then SSA will evaluate your current work activity. In order to qualify for SSDI or SSI you must have been off work or expected to be off work for twelve months or longer. Your medical condition must also meet the SSA’s definition of “disability.”

The Social Security Administration has  a strict definition of disability.  SSA will contact your treating sources to get information regarding your current medical conditions such as when your condition(s) began, how your condition(s) affect your ability to perform work related activities, results from diagnostic testing you have undergone, your current course of treatment and prognosis.

How Does The SSA Determine If Your Disability Is A Qualifying Disability?

If your work qualifies you for disability benefits and your condition meets the strict definition of disability, the SSA will assess your qualifications by answering the following questions:

The  SSA follows what is called a “sequential evaluation” to determine if you qualify for disability benefits:

Step 1: Are you working?

You cannot participate, engage or work in substantial gainful activity (SGA) as a result of your medical condition. Effective January 2023, the SGA amount if $1,470. Therefore, if you are currently working and earning more than $1,470 per month, you are engaged in SGA and do not qualify for SSDI or SSI benefits.

Step 2: Do you have a severe impairment?

  • The work that you previously used to engage in is no longer possible because of your medical condition/impairments, you cannot make an adjustment to other work as a direct result of your medical condition and
  • Your medical condition has already lasted for at least a year, or is expected to last for at least a year, or is expected to result in your death.

Step 3: Do you have a “Listings” level impairment?

The Social Security Administration has set forth categories of physical and mental impairments and in the event that your impairments are found to meet or equal one or more of the requirements set forth in the “Listings”, a finding will be made that you are disabled.

Step 4: Are you able to do your past work?

If you are physically and mentally able to perform your past relevant work (generally the work you performed in the past 15 years) within your restrictions, a finding will be made that you are not disabled.

Step 5: Can you do any other work?

SSA will consider your past relevant work in light of your age and education and make a determination whether you are capable of any other work in the national economy in light of any physical and mental limitations you may have. If you are incapable of performing other available jobs in the national economy, SSA will determine you meet the definition of disabled.

At Robert J. Dodd Jr., Co., L.P.A. we can assist with the application process, gathering medical records to support your application or filing an appeal when your application has been denied.

Free Consultation | We Handle Disability Claims On A Contingency-Fee Basis

At Robert J. Dodd Jr., Co., L.P.A., we understand that the application for Social Security Disability benefits is complicated and often frustrating. We offer a free consultation so that we can answer any questions you may have and tell you more about how we can help you with your case. Call us at 740-693-1208 or send us an email to schedule your free consultation today. We represent clients throughout Perry, Muskingum, Washington and Athens counties and the surrounding areas.