Social Security retirement and disability benefits were created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Social Security Act became law in 1935. The initial intent of the legislation was to create a mandatory retirement and disability insurance program. The program is funded by tax contributions from workers and employers.

Everyone should be aware of their Social Security status. You can quickly get an estimate of your retirement benefits by visiting the Social Security Administration website. Other important information can also be found at the website.

In a very simplistic sense, applying for Social Security Disability benefits is merely asking Social Security to grant you benefits before your retirement age. For many decades, the full-benefit retirement age was set at age 65 with early retirement benefits available at age 62. However, beginning with people born in 1938 or later, that age gradually increases until it reaches 67 for people born after 1959.

To receive Social Security Disability benefits, an individual has to be “unable to engage in any substantially gainful activity.” This is Social Security jargon meaning unable to work in any job. The Social Security Administration’s Disability Benefits brochure provides some background on the process.

An applicant needs to have been disabled as a result of a physical or mental impairment that has lasted or is expected to last for at least 12 months. An average Social Security Disability applicant needs to have a sufficient amount of work credits. The number of work credits you need to qualify for disability benefits depends on your age when you become disabled. Generally, you need 40 credits, 20 of which were earned in the last 10 years ending with the year you become disabled. An application for disability benefits is most winnable if filed within five years of the last date you actively worked.

The rules for Social Security Disability are very specific. If you are considering applying for benefits, it would be best to first speak with an attorney. Dischell Bartle Dooley partner Jon Young assists individuals with all stages of the Social Security Disability application process and litigation, if that follows.  Jon is a member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR).

Contact Jon at 215-362-2474 or at jyoung@dischellbartle.com for a free consultation.