What are Social Security Disability Requirements in Colorado?
The requirements for disability in any state descend from the definition of disability used by the Social Security Administration. That definition states that a person must have a medically determinable impairment (mental or physical) that is severe enough to last at least one year and prevent a person from working and receiving earnings at a level that SSA considers substantial and gainful (To see the income limit for earnings that you must be under in order to receive disability, view SGA earnings limit).
When you apply for disability in Colorado or elsewhere, a disability examiner will receive your application and order your medical records. They will look for evidence of diagnosed conditions, but they will also look for evidence of physical and mental limitations. This is to determine if you can return to your past work. If you cannot do this, they will determine if you are able to do some form of other work. If you cannot do your past work, or other work based on your education, skills, age, and residual functional capacity, you will have met the requirements for disability.
Most individuals who receive a disability award will do so on the basis of several conditions that they list on their application. However, in some cases, a person will be approved for disability based on a single condition in the Social Security list of medical impairments, or conditions.
In either situation, if your case is at the hearing level, you should consider representation in order to present the strongest argument that meet the requirements for disability, either that you have a listed impairment, or that you are unable to do past or other work.
Most people who are considering filing a disability application in Colorado (or any state as both SSDI and SSI are federal) are aware that Social Security Disability programs require a medical determination. However, they may be unaware that both Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability have non-medical requirements as well.
In Colorado or any other state for that matter, you must be insured for Social Security Disability to be eligible for benefits. Your insured status is gained through the work you performed prior to becoming disabled. Your payroll taxes are very much like insurance premiums. If you stop working, you are usually insured for disability for about five years.
If you are filing for SSI disability, you are filing for a need based disability program. You will have to meet income and resource limits to be eligible for disability benefits. You will have periodic reviews to determine if you are still meeting these requirements.
Both SSD and SSI have non-medical requirements with regard to work activity and eligibility. If you file or become entitled to SSD or SSI, you should make sure you are aware of the non-medical requirements that could affect your eligibility.
About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.
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