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Am I eligible for Social Security Disability benefits?

Social Security Disability benefits have been established throughout the United States, including Michigan, to aid residents unable to work due to a long-term disability. Disabilities include any physical or mental condition that prohibits a worker from his or her current position or to perform substantial work with other forms of employment, as well.

In order to be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, the worker must first prove his or her disability. This can be done through a diagnosis by a physician and will likely include a report of symptoms, laboratory findings and clinical signs consistent with the diagnosis. According to the Social Security Administration, or SSA, the applicant must prove that he or she is unable to perform "substantial gainful activity."

"Substantial gainful activity", as defined by the SSA, refers to employment for profit, either part-time or full-time. The severity of the disability will be considered, including the psychological and physical conditions of the worker, basic activities such as standing, walking, sitting, reaching, as well as social interactions, such as communications skills, the ability to use proper judgment and the ability to interact with coworkers and supervisors. The SSA will take the worker's personal situation into consideration when making a determination. They will look at the worker's age, education, daily activities and work history.

To apply for Social Security Disability Benefits, you must fill out the required forms and questionnaires, show medical evidence of your disability and submit the information to the SSA. If you have difficulty understanding the necessary requirements or procedures, it may be in your best interest to speak with a legal professional familiar with Social Security Disability benefits to make certain your paperwork is filled out properly and to ensure that you have a strong case.

Source: FindLaw, "Are You Eligible for Social Security Disability?," accessed March 17, 2015

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