How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

Filing for Disability Online, Work Credits, and late appeals

"I filed for disability online (only got through the first part) and was sent a letter saying I don't qualify based on not enough work credits. I have a condition where I can no longer work, drive, walk for long periods of time, stand for more than 15 mins at a time, etc. What do I file for then? I'm 30 yrs old and unable to work or leave the house alone. I'm at a loss. I did get a hold of a disability lawyer but when I see him, the rejection letter will be at day 57."

Your situation is a good example of why I am not in favor of filing for disability online. A large percentage of individuals who apply for disability will have an SSDI (Social Security Disability insurance) claim. However, many will find that their claim is for title 16 SSI disability benefits only, or is concurrent, meaning that a claim is taken in both the SSDI and SSI categories. Here's the problem with that: the Social Security Administration does not allow an actual SSI disability application to be filed online. Meaning you don't get a protected filing date.

If you begin the process online and it turns out that your claim will be for SSI only, or will be a concurrent claim, you will have to speak with a CR, or claims representative at a Social Security office...which basically defeats much of the reasoning for trying to use the online process in the first place. My position is that it is usually best to speak with a claims representative at a social security office, either in person or over the phone from the very start.

As to work credits, SSDI, or Social Security Disability, is based on insured status. Meaning that if you haven't worked long enough to be insured, or your insured status has lapsed (i.e. you have a DLI, or date last insured, that is in the past) because you haven't work enough recently, then you will only be apply to apply for SSI. However, you can only apply for SSI if you meet the non-medical requirements for SSI. SSI is need based. Because it is, not just your income but your family income (meaning yours and income from a spouse) can be used to determine if you are above the allowable limits. Additionally, unlike SSDI which is not concerned in the least with assets, SSI has an asset limit, or resource limit.

If you are not insured for SSDI because of insufficient work credits, a claim will be taken in the SSI program. From what you've said, I am assuming that one was not taken and so I have to wonder if an evaluation of your income and/or assets puts you over the SSI limits.

If you will be at day 57 by the time you see a disability lawyer, you would ordinarily want to consider sending in your disability appeal on your own to avoid missing the filing deadline. This is what I have usually told people over the phone when they were seeking disability representation but were butting up against the deadline. However, it sounds as though you have received a technical denial, one that does not involve any type of case processing. Technical denials occur when a person does not qualify for disability based on non-medical criteria alone, such as assets or earned income. It sounds as though the best approach will be to confer with the lawyer to get a better handle on your situation. Good luck with your case.

Essential Questions

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These pages provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

My Social Security Disability SSI appeal status
Disability back pay, how it works
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Qualifying requirements for disability
Decision on disability case, are you eligible for a disability award
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Forms to appeal a Social Security Disability denial
Permanent disability benefits
How to qualify for disability with depression
If Social Security sends you to a psychiatrist
Disability denied twice
How to claim disability
How many times will Social Security deny you?
Applying for Disability with high blood pressure
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For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.