Martin and his brother, Louie, both suffer from arthritis. Both are unable to work to support themselves. However, only Louie receives Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, although they both applied. Why does Louis get SSDI and Martin doesn’t? Let’s look at how the Social Security Administration makes this kind of decision.
General Requirements Needed to Get SSDI Benefits
When someone applies for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, the first factor involves work credits. Applicants need a certain number of work credits to be eligible for benefits, typically at least 40. However, the number required is based on the applicant’s age. For example, someone age 24 or younger may qualify for SSDI benefits with only 6 credits. An applicant who is 50 years old will need 28 credits.
If you have enough work credits, the next step is to determine if you are disabled. The Social Security Administration defines disability 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.”
In other words, you must be unable to work for a physical or mental condition that will either cause your death or which has lasted or may last for a year. Your condition must also be listed on the Social Security Administration’s list of impairments, and arthritis is on the list.
In Martin and Louie’s case, Martin is 40 and Louis is 48. Both have enough work credits to qualify for benefits. The reason Martin has not qualified may have to do with the severity of his symptoms.
Arthritis Must Be Severe
People of all ages may have arthritis. In fact, there are more than 100 different kinds of arthritis. Although arthritis is the leading cause of disability in America, not everyone with arthritis will be considered disabled. The pain, swelling, and limited range of motion associated with arthritis can be mild or severe. Also, certain types of arthritis are more debilitating than others.
For example, Louie has rheumatoid arthritis. As a chronic inflammatory disorder, Louie’s arthritis is now affecting his heart, lungs, and blood vessels. Martin has mild osteoarthritis and only suffers from pain and swelling in his joints. His pain can be more easily managed, so he is still able to work. The severity of Louie’s rheumatoid arthritis qualified him to receive SSDI benefits.
Learn More About Arthritis and SSDI Benefits
The attorneys at The Law Offices of Martin Taller have more than 50 years’ experience in the legal field. Much of their work involves Social Security disability cases. For a free consultation, call us at 714-385-8100. Though our office is located in Anaheim, we assist clients throughout Southern California.