Question: I have an 18-year-old granddaughter who had a disabling accident during her junior year of high school which paralyzed her right side. It looks very unlikely that she will be able to work in the near future. She did not work for a long enough period of time under Social Security to apply for disability benefits. Is there another program which can help her?

Answer: The Social Security Administration (SSA) runs a needs-based program called Supplemental Security Income (SSI) that is paid for by the general tax revenue. It can aid someone who has become disabled and hasn’t paid enough Social Security taxes to qualify for normal disability benefits from Social Security, such as your granddaughter.  In order to qualify for SSI, a person has to be disabled and have limited resources and income. You should also be aware that if her parents receive benefits from Social Security or are deceased, she may be eligible to receive Disabled Adult Child (DAC) benefits from the SSA.

Question: I have been a worker at a loading dock for my entire life. However, I suffer from recurring back problems that have become so severe that I am no longer able to lift heavy boxes. Will I be able to apply for Social Security disability benefits?

Answer: Yes. You are qualified for disability benefits for any impairment or combination of disabling conditions if they are found to be too severe for you to be able to perform any substantial work for a period of at least one year, or if the conditions are expected result in death. However, you should know that for Social Security, your disability is required to be so severe that it prevents you from being able to perform any kind of work you are suited to. If there is any other work you are able to do, your claim may be denied.
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