Social Security Disability is an insurance program available for all workers in West Virginia who have qualified through their work history and Social Security tax payroll deductions. While not all state residents can qualify per their contributions to the system, most individuals will qualify when they have a verifiable medical condition or combined conditions that keep them from maintaining substantive gainful employment. It is important for all workers who can qualify to understand how their work history impacts any claim for Social Security Disability, as the Social Security Administration operates two very different programs.
Accumulating Social Security tax credits
All workers in West Virginia who work for an employer that deducts Social Security and Medicare taxes from their earnings can typically earn four credits per year. The number of earnings necessary for eligibility can change each year, but the amount is nominal. In order to qualify for SSD, workers must have earned 40 credits over their entire work history with 20 of those credits being accumulated during the last five years before the SSA determines the applicant became disabled. The amount is currently set at $1,470 in wages per quarterly credit.
Qualifying medical conditions
Merely being diagnosed with a medical condition is not necessarily enough disability to qualify for SSD benefits. Approval is often based on a totality of medical issues that can impact each other rendering the claimant unable to hold substantive gainful employment, also known as SGE in the SSA system. Most cases are won through the appeals process after a hearing with an SSA administrative law judge. However, the agency does maintain a list of permanent pre-approved conditions that could qualify a claim for fast-track approval.
In addition to work history qualification, the SSA has an additional set of qualification rules that determine eligibility. Applicants who are under 50 years of age can be designated for retraining in some cases. The agency recognizes that age discrimination can be a major problem for workers over 50 years of age who are seeking new employment in an area where they have no experience. This particular element of claim approval is typically a major reason why it takes so long for the approval of those who qualify through their work history.