Michigan ranks among the top 10 states in the nation for disability services, according to a recent report. An organization known as United Cerebral Palsy issued the report on May 5, 2013, ranking Michigan eighth in terms of services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
According to the Social Security Administration, there were 342,481 people receiving Social Security Disability benefits in Michigan as of 2009. This represents approximately one out of every 20 people living in Michigan, according to the SSA.
Qualifying for disability benefits
Social Security Disability benefits are provided through the SSA to individuals who are unable to work because of their disabilities, whether mental or physical. However, in order to qualify for benefits, an applicant must demonstrate that he or she meets the strict eligibility requirements established by the SSA.
For purposes of determining eligibility for benefits, the SSA defines “disability” in relatively rigid terms. To qualify for disability benefits, a person must be able to prove that all of the following three conditions are met:
- Because of a medical condition, the person can no longer do the work that he or she did before
- Because of a medical condition, the person cannot adjust to another line of work
- The medical condition has lasted for at least one year, or is expected to last for at least one year, or is expected to lead to the person’s death
Certain medical conditions are considered so severe that people diagnosed with them automatically qualify as disabled. People affected by these conditions may be eligible for a streamlined application process known as a Compassionate Allowance, which often allows benefits to be paid out much more quickly than through the standard application process. Medical conditions that may qualify an individual for a Compassionate Allowance include certain cancers, neurological disorders and mental illnesses, among others.
Credits earned through work
Along with meeting the SSA’s definition of “disabled,” a person seeking disability benefits must also accrue a certain number of credits before becoming eligible for benefits. These credits accrue automatically as a result of working at jobs covered by Social Security.
A worker may earn up to four credits each year, based on his or her income. The amount of income required for each credit varies from year to year. In 2013, for example, a worker receives one credit for every $1,160 earned. Thus, a person must earn at least $4,640 at a qualifying job in 2013 in order to accrue the maximum of four credits for the year. The number of credits required to receive disability benefits depends on a person’s age at the time he or she becomes disabled.
Contact a lawyer for help
If you or a family member is unable to work because of a mental or physical disability, you may be eligible to receive benefits through the Social Security Administration. An attorney with experience securing benefits for disabled individuals can help you determine whether you are likely to qualify and will guide you through the application process to ensure that your application is accurate and complete.
If you have had a previous application for benefits denied, an attorney may also be able to file an appeal on your behalf to give you another chance at securing the benefits you need. Contact a Social Security Disability lawyer in your area for more information.