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How Can Education Impact My SSDI or SSI claim?

Written by Ankin Law Office

Social Security Disability benefits are available to those persons who are unable to engage in work due to a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or result in death.  When the Social Security Administration (SSA) reviews a social security disability application, it will review certain information regarding your medical condition, your employment history, and whether you are able to engage any kind of gainful employment.

What many applicants do not realize, however, is that their education level may impact their ability to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.  The higher an applicant’s education level, the more jobs the SSA considers to be available to the applicant.

Social Security Disability Requirements

In order to be eligible to receive SSDI benefits, a person must meet the following requirements:

  • Have a physical or mental medical condition that prevents him or her from engaging in “substantial gainful activity” and is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death;
  • Be under the age of 65; and
  • Have earned enough “workcredits.”

There are no limitations on the disabled person’s income or resources.

Supplemental Security Income

In order to receive SSI, a person must demonstrate that he or she meets the definition of “disability” and satisfy certain financial requirements.

  • Income Limitations.  You must have limited income, with the specific amount set by your geographic location.  Generally, income includes money that you earn from employment, as well as Social Security benefits, pensions, alimony, child support, interest and room and board provided to you on a regular basis. Social Security laws do, however, exclude certain income when determining whether or a not an applicant is eligible for supplemental security income, including some work expenses for blind or disabled persons.
  • Asset Limitations.  SSI laws limit the amount of assets you may own to $2,000 (or $3000 in the case of a married couple if both receive SSI).  Certain property is generally excluded when determining the value of your assets.

How the SSA Assesses Ability to Engage in Gainful Employment

Once an individual is found to have a qualifying medical condition, there are three key factors that the SSA will assess when determining whether to grant or deny disability benefits: (1) age; (2) education; and (3) prior work experience.  This does not necessarily mean that an applicant with a college education will be ineligible for SSDI or SSI benefits, but it does mean that you may have a more difficult time making your case to the SSA judge.

The experienced Chicago lawyers for social security disability at Ankin Law Offices, LLC have the skill and knowledge necessary to help you pursue your application for SSDI or SSI benefits and we can help you navigate any potential issues that arise due to your education level.  Contact one of the Chicago lawyers for social security disability at Ankin Law Offices to schedule a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you pursue your social security disability claim.

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