How to Apply for Disability When You are Told You Can’t Apply for Disability

fa00147122bc77994a9e0470bfa633e7
Robin Mead

Quite a lot of people believe they cannot apply for Social Security disability.

Sometimes this is true, sometimes (often) it is not.

You may think this because of something someone told you, or something Social Security told you, or something you saw written on a Social Security statement, or even because you tried applying and got denied.

No matter what the reason is that you think this…. there is still a chance it is not true.

Please take a look at every option on this page, before giving up hope.

SSI and SSDI

🌺 Before you read this page it is very important to know that SSI and SSDI are two different programs. If you don’t know the difference, nothing on this page will make one bit of sense.

🌺 The first part of this page is how to qualify for SSDI, even when someone told you that you can’t. The second part is how to qualify for SSI, even when someone told you that you can’t. Please read both parts.

What to Do If You Think You Are Not Eligible for SSDI

If you got the impression you are not eligible for SSDI, don’t give up hope. You have a lot more options:

🌺 Check the Facts

Sometimes people think they can’t apply because of myths and misinformation. Such as: You can’t apply because you haven’t been sick for 12 months (wrong!), You can’t apply because you are working (wrong!). You can’t apply because you are young (most definitely wrong!) Or you can’t apply because you don’t have the right diagnosis (wrong again!). Check out how to tell if you can apply.

🌺 Learn the Difference Between SSI and SSDI

SSI an SSDI are two different programs. If you are poor, you can always apply for SSI. Ignore everything else you see and everything else you are told. Ignore work credits, ignore work history, ignore date last insured, and even ignore the notices from Social Security telling you that you are not eligible for disability. Once again, if you are poor you can always apply for SSI. It is difficult to figure out how poor one needs to be, but as a general rule, most people who are eligible for food stamps are also eligible for SSI.

🌺 Correct Your Record

You can check your earnings record. Make sure all your work is appearing there. If anything is missing and you add it in now, you may become eligible!! The chart on this website will show you how close you are to qualifying. Correcting errors can be difficult, if you run into problems you may wish to contact your congressperson, or try one of these sentences: What to Say When Someone Tells You “No” or “Not Possible” or “You Don’t Qualify”

🌺 Get Extra Credit

You need a certain amount of work credits to qualify SSDI. Sometimes someone is only one credit away. Or just half a credit. In these situations, many lawyers recommend to wait until you have earned more credits and then apply. Sometimes a small job working at home a few hours per week can be enough to make the difference. Learn How to Get Extra Credit

🌺 Go Back in Time

Work credits expire. If you had enough credits but they expired, you may be able to be approved disability if you can show that you became disabled before the expiration date. This is called your Date Last Insured. Learn how to go back in time.

🌺 Make Sure Your Date Last Insured is Correct

Usually your Date Last Insured will be correct, but every now and then a mistake can get made. After you find out what Social Security has listed as your Date Last Insured, you can do your own calculations to see if you think they are correct. Correcting errors can be difficult, if you run into problems you may wish to contact your congressperson, or try one of these sentences: What to Say When Someone Tells You “No” or “Not Possible” or “You Don’t Qualify”

🌺 Reopen an Old Case

Here’s a different way to go back in time. If you ever applied before, you may be able to get your old case reopened. Learn more. If your case was a hearing denial, you won’t be able to get your case re-opened until you get to another hearing. If your case was denied earlier and you just never appealed, it may be able to be opened earlier. Keep asking, and keep making the request. Try showing a good reason why it should be re-opened (for example, if you were too sick to return the appeal forms) and try asking more than one person. Some people will re-open an old case easily with no problems, other people will say no to this request no matter what.

🌺 Be a Widow

If you are disabled, you can collect widow’s benefits earlier than most people. Benefits can begin at age 50 if you are disabled (age 60 if you are not). To qualify for the early benefits, you still have to apply for disability and go through the full application like everyone else.

🌺 Be an ex-Widow

If you were previously married for at least ten years and then got divorced, you may still be able to do the widow thing mentioned above.

🌺 Get Sick Young

If you were under the age of 22 when you first became disabled, you may be eligible for disability based on your parent’s work history. Learn more about Disabled Adult Children. (Hint: If you are now significantly older than 22 it may be more difficult to pull this off).

 

🌺 Double Check if You Get a Denial

If you applied recently and then got a letter or saw something online that said denied or ineligible, don’t freak out.  Sometimes they are just writing to say that you can’t get SSI but you can still get SSDI. Sometimes they are saying the same thing the other way around. Sometimes the online account says weird things and then updates in a few days.

🌺 Submit or Amend Past Tax Returns

If you have tax returns from past years that you have not yet submitted to the IRS, you may want to get those in so that they will be included in your earnings. Also, a few times I have met people who discovered mistakes in their past tax returns and amended the returns, then corrected their earnings records. Not easy, but not impossible. For example, I met one woman who was running a small business and her accountant had incorrectly attributed half the business income to her husband. She was able to go back and correct her past tax returns to make them accurate.

🌺 Get Turned Down in Writing 

This sounds crazy but it is actually true. Many people never apply. They call or visit Social Security. They get told something and then they go home and give up. Never give up just because someone told you something. Learn the policies yourself, apply, and make sure they give you an answer in writing. Here’s How Sage Got Approved by Ignoring Everything He Was Told

🌺 Appeal the SSDI Decision

If you are told you do not have enough work credits to be eligible for SSDI, and you believe this is not true, it is possible a mistake was made. First, submit an application to apply for disability. Second, they will mail you the decision in writing. Third, you can appeal. Ask Social Security to give you a copy of the form that you need to fill out appeal. You do not need a lawyer. A lawyer is nice but you probably won’t find one who will help with this. You can do it yourself. If you run into problems and believe Social Security is not correctly following their policies, contact your congressperson for help.

What to Do If You Think You Are Not Eligible for SSI

If you got the impression you are not eligible for SSI, ask yourself this question: Am I poor? Or will I soon be poor?

If the answer is “no” then whoever you are talking to is correct. You cannot get on SSI if you are not poor.  Scroll to the bottom of this page to see a few more options.

If the answer is “yes”, go out and apply for SSI. If you run into problems, here are your options:

🌺 Check the Facts

Sometimes people think they can’t apply because of myths and misinformation. Such as: You can’t apply because you haven’t been sick for 12 months (wrong!), You can’t apply because you are working (wrong!). You can’t apply because you are young (most definitely wrong!) Or you can’t apply because you don’t have the right diagnosis (wrong again!). Check out how to tell if you can apply.

🌺 Learn the Regs

If you have an inheritance, retirement plan or other money that is keeping you from qualifying for SSI, you have a variety of options. For example, Social Security policies will allow you to buy a house, buy a car, spend the money, or put the money in a trust for yourself. Policies that Make SSI Stop or Start

🌺 Follow the Regs 

If you are poor, but you are told you cannot apply for SSI, something has gone wrong! It may be something really simple. Like maybe your bank account is just $1 too high. Or maybe you have too many cars. Check out Ten Common Reasons SSI Might be Denied

🌺 If You Got Divorced

If you were turned down in the past, but since then you have gotten divorced, you may now qualify to apply for SSI. If you and your spouse still live together, Social Security may continue to consider you married — this is called “holding out as married.” If living separately, child support is allowed and will not affect the parent’s SSI if it is used for only the child’s share of rent and expenses.

🌺 Separate Living

If you are living separately from your spouse, Social Security will not count your spouse’s income when determining SSI. According to the policy, separations that are intended to be temporary do not count (for example, living apart because of a job does not count as separation). According to these regulations, the spouses do not need to be legally separated, but may need to show proof that they are living separately and no longer functioning as a married couple.

🌺 Get Turned Down in Writing 

This sounds crazy but it is actually true. Many people never apply. They call or visit Social Security. They get told something and then they go home and give up. Never give up just because someone told you something. Learn the policies yourself, apply, and make sure they give you an answer in writing. Here’s How Sage Got Approved by Ignoring Everything He Was Told

🌺 Appeal the SSI Decision

If you are told that you have too much money to be eligible for SSI, and you believe this is not true, it is possible a mistake was made. First, request an SSI interview where they will ask you financial questions and process your application. Second, they will mail you the decision in writing. Once again, always get a decision in writing. Never accept no for an answer over the phone. Third, you can appeal. Ask Social Security to give you a copy of the form that you need to fill out to appeal. You do not need a lawyer. A lawyer is nice but you probably won’t find one who will help with this. You can do it yourself. If you run into problems and believe Social Security is not correctly following their policies, contact your congressperson for help.

More Options!

🌺 Your Employer

If you are currently employed, or you were recently employed, check with your employer to see if they offer long term or short term disability insurance. This can give you a different (sometimes better) type of disability to apply for.

🌺 Government Employees

Some government employees do not pay into Social Security and are not eligible for Social Security. Instead they pay into a different system run by their employer. If this is your situation, please contact your current or former employer and ask how to apply for disability through their system

🌺 State Disability

NY, NJ, RI, CA and HI offer short term disability through the state for up to one year.

Out of Options?

Although it is uncommon, we do occasionally here from a reader who is truly not eligible to apply for anything. This can happen when:

  • You are married and
  • Your spouse has good income and
  • You never worked or you stopped working a long time ago (usually 5+ years) and
  • You were diagnosed recently and do not have good medical records from the past

Sometimes these people really are eligible if they explore all the steps above, but every now and then, someone just is not.

It may be helpful to keep in mind that Social Security is not the only kind of help you can apply for. There are many other programs that you can apply for even if you are not on Social Security.

Updated Sept 2017. 🌺

3 thoughts on “How to Apply for Disability When You are Told You Can’t Apply for Disability”

  1. I keep trying to go back to work but I just can’t make it work. I’ve always wanted to make my own money since the kids got older but I just stay so sick. Thank you for figuring out my work credits. I can’t say enough how much your help mean to me!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s