A career can take a real toll on your body, particularly if you do manual labor. Years of lifting, pulling, pushing and twisting don’t just put you at risk for an acute injury. You may also suffer from long-term wear and tear that, over time, has a real impact.
As these physical problems add up, many workers face a difficult prospect. They are no longer able to do their job, so turn to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD) for help. But this is not always as straightforward as many people think. Here are three things these workers should know about the SSD process.
1. Check the basic eligibility requirements
Not everybody is eligible to get SSD benefits. The Social Security Administration has some basic requirements you have to meet. These involve your work history and the number of Social Security work credits you have acquired, and the time period in which you gained them. Before applying it’s important to be sure you can clear this hurdle.
2. Your skills and job prospects matter
To receive SSD benefits, you have to show the Social Security Administration you meet the agency’s definition of disabled. Part of this is demonstrating that your health condition prevents you from working – either in your current job or any other job, even one in a new industry.
One of the things they look at is transferable skills. These are specialized skills that make it likely an applicant will be able to transfer to a different, lighter job of equal or lesser skill. Jobs that usually have transferable skills include:
- Auto repair mechanics
- Heavy equipment operators
- Master carpenters
There are also some industries and jobs with skills that “do not generally transfer to other work,” the agency says. That includes:
- Specialized truck driving
- Agriculture and farming
For example, if you have driven trucks most of your life, this means it may be easier to show you cannot do another type of work. On the other hand, if you were a mechanic or carpenter, you may have to put in some extra effort to show your job transfer prospects are very limited.
3. You can appeal a denial
If you apply for SSD benefits and are denied, you can usually appeal. Filing an appeal is not necessarily easy. There is a lot of paperwork to do, specific deadlines you must hit, and requirements for a successful appeal.
Essentially, you have to prove to the Social Security Administration they wrongly denied your application. This can be a lot to handle on your own, especially if you are also dealing with your medical situation and life’s many other needs. With experienced legal support, you can give yourself the best chance to change their mind.