If you are injured and can no longer perform the duties of your current occupation, you face a number of difficult choices. One of the most important decisions you will need to make is whether or not to attempt to continue in the workforce, to apply for SSDI benefits, or in some instances, to take social security retirement or early retirement benefits.

If You Apply for SSDI Benefits, Will You Be Approved?

If you are considering leaving the workforce and applying for SSDI benefits, you should first consider whether you are going to be good candidate for approval. A number of considerations factor into this analysis and a Wisconsin SSDI attorney at Hawks Quindel can offer you a free consult to evaluate the strength of your case.

SSDI Benefit Applications Are Evaluated on Age, Education, and Work History

Most social security cases are evaluated based on your age, education, and your previous work experience. Starting with your previous work experience, Social Security will consider the work you have performed during the past 15 years. If there are any jobs you worked previously that you can now perform, you will not be found disabled. For example, if you are working in an occupation which requires heavy lifting, such as construction work, and you become unable to do heavy lifting, you may not necessary be disabled. If you were a receptionist for 5 years before working construction and you are still able to perform the job functions of a receptionist position, you are likely not eligible for SSDI or SSI benefits.

If you are able unable to work in any of your past work, you still may not be disabled in the eyes of Social Security. Social Security’s administrative law judges will consider your age and education next when determining whether you are disabled. Social Security generally expects younger workers (everyone under 50) can find work at the sedentary level (essentially a desk job) so long as they are physically able to perform such work. As such, a younger worker will not be found disabled unless their work restrictions cause them to be unable to work most sedentary duty jobs.

However, as the applicant becomes older, Social Security’s expectations change. A worker who is between 50 and 54, will generally be found disabled by Social Security if they are limited to sedentary work. Finally, for workers who are 55 or older, Social Security will typically find the worker to be disabled if they cannot perform the physical demands of light duty work. So, a worker 55 or above who cannot lift 20 pounds or frequently lift 10 pounds, will generally be found disabled.

Other factors such the ability to communicate in English, literacy, and the impact of psychological impairments are also considered by Social Security as well. A physically capable worker whose psychological symptoms render him or her unable to perform in any work environment will generally be approved if they apply for SSDI benefits.

Waiting for SSDI Approval

Beyond how the Social Security Administration will view your claim, there are a number of practical considerations to be made as well. Unless you are receiving income from a source other than work, such as a long term disability insurance policy, worker’s compensation insurance, early Social Security Retirement benefits, investment income, etc., you will be without income during the period you wait for Social Security’s decision. In most cases, this period can last more than a year. Many potentially eligible claimants are not able to withstand the financial blow while awaiting a decision, so they may need to choose a different strategy instead of applying for SSDI benefits. Again, an experienced SSDI attorney can help you identify and weigh your options.

This post likely raises more questions than it answers for most injured workers considering an SSDI benefits application. If you would like to discuss your claim with one of Hawks Quindel’s Wisconsin Social Security Disability Attorneys, please call (608) 257-0040 to discuss your claim.

Family & Divorce

Labor Law

Social Security

Employee Benefits

Wage & Hour

Worker's Compensation

Disability Benefits

Duty Disability

David Zoeller