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The Flint Journal “Ask the Attorney” Column


Q. My doctors have all recognized that I can’t work because I have severe congestive heart failure. When I applied for Social Security Disability, I was denied and told I do not have enough credits. What does that mean? What should I do? (June 2014)

A. The federal government established the Social Security Disability Insurance Benefit program in the 1950s. By engaging in work and paying Social Security taxes on those earnings, workers earn credits towards not only Social Security Retirement but also Social Security Disability. A disabled person must have worked enough in their lifetime and recently enough in their lifetime before becoming disabled in order to qualify for benefits. If you have been out of the workforce long before becoming disabled or have not been paying Social Security taxes on your earnings, you may not have enough credits to apply. This is an extremely important reason why workers want to be sure that their employers pay into the Social Security system. There is a backup federal program called SSI or Supplemental Security Income that pays modest benefits to disabled persons who have limited income and resources, regardless of credits or prior earnings. It may be of value to you to review your medical and work history with an experienced Social Security Disability attorney to determine if your earnings record is correct, whether you can prove you were disabled before your “Date Last Insured,” as well as to see if there are other benefits you may be eligible to receive. Feel free to contact us regarding your disability law and benefit questions.

–Attorney Robert J. MacDonald