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Three Important Rules Governing Social Security Disability Claims

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Being left without the ability to earn a living due to a medically determinable impairment can be challenging. Those who have sustained an injury or developed an illness that prevents them from working can find it difficult to generate enough cash to make ends meet.

Social Security Disability benefits are available to offer assistance to individuals in these situations. It's important that you clearly understand the rules governing disability claims if you hope to successfully file for benefits in the future.

1. You must seek treatment.

Any medical issue that you are using as the basis for your inability to work must be diagnosed by a qualified medical professional. The government wants to ensure that you are not leaving serious conditions untreated as a way to get out of returning to work.

You must undergo full treatment and follow all of your doctor's advice prior to filing a disability benefits claim. Seeking treatment will show the administrative judge overseeing your claim that you have pursued every avenue available in an attempt to return to work but that your illness or injury has made gainful employment impossible.

2. Your illness or injury must have lasting effects.

Ongoing disability benefits are not available to individuals who suffer from a short-term illness or injury. There are specific programs in place to provide temporary assistance for those who will be able to return to work following treatment.

If it becomes clear that your illness or injury will prevent you from working for an extended period of time, then you may qualify for long-term disability benefits. An experienced attorney will be able to help you determine if your projected recovery time falls within the parameters set forth by the government when you file a disability claim.

3. You must not return to work.

The judge overseeing your disability claim will evaluate any attempts that you have made to re-enter the workforce. Many people try to return to work following an illness or injury, only to discover that they are no longer able to successfully fulfill their job duties.

Unsuccessful work attempts occur when you return to work, but are forced to leave the workforce again in less than six months. Any steady employment lasting longer than six months will result in the reset of your disability date to the most recent date you left the workforce.

A social security attorney can help you determine your disability date based on any successful or unsuccessful work attempts so that you can file your disability claim in a timely manner.