Back in 2002 I became sick, rheumatoid arthritis, and became unable to work. I was denied temporary disability, hired a lawyer and he won my case and getting a $21000 payout for me. By then I had left the USA as not working I couldn't stay. Fast forward to 2018. I was in an auto accident that left me with several herniated discs. Doctor states I most likely will not be able to work and may qualify for permanent disability. I have not worked since 2002 but have 38 credits I believe. Would I need a lawyer to claim permanent disability? I assume I would get SSI? Can I pay into the system to get the credits required previous to filing?
You have a number of things going on here...depending on your circumstances. The first thing I would do would be to contact SSA at 1800-772-1213. I would ask how many credits you have. If you have not worked since 2002, if you had enough credits back then, you would likely have to prove you were unable to work by at least 2007. 2007 is likely your date of last insured status if you had enough credits back then. If you were only able to prove you became disabled after 2007 (assuming 2007 was your date of last insured)-you would not qualify for disability benefits (SSDI). If you had 38 credits back then, you likely have far less now...and it would be unlikely you would be able to work, even at a part-time basis now to earn enough credits to qualify for SSDI benefits. These would be questions I would first ask SSA on its 800 number.
The other program you may be eligible for is SSI. These benefits are for those individuals who have not worked enough or recently enough to file for SSDI benefits. Not only would you have to prove you are currently disabled, but you also have to show you have little to no income or assets. For an individual, this means having less than $2,000 in the bank.
Let me know if you have further questions once you have found out more information from SSA.
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