When you apply for social security disability or SSI disability benefits you must meet certain criteria put forth by the Social Security Administration (SSA) before your claim can even be considered. There are both medical and non-medical requirements among the numerous Social Security disability qualifications. Foremost, you must be able to prove to the Social Security Administration that you are "permanently disabled," or suffering from a condition, either physical or mental, that has lasted, or is expected to continue for more than 12 consecutive months. The time guideline is crucial to your claim so it is important that you keep all pertinent medical records and other paperwork well organized and up to date. You do not want any confusion or questioning about the extent of your disability.
Social Security Administration's Blue Book
The social security administration's impairment listing manual, called the blue book, lists a number of impairments, both physical and mental, that will qualify an individual for social security disability benefits.
In some cases you do not even have to have one of the impairments that is listed in the blue book to potentially be awarded disability benefits. Anything from this list or similar to this list may qualify you as being disabled.
Even though suffering from a chronic condition, the SSA will need to decide if your disabling condition prevents you from achieving any type of "substantial gainful activity." You simply can't claim that you are unable to perform the duties of your previous employment. You also have to prove that it impossible to find a new line of work due to age, education, or impairment.
Interestingly, you can technically still be working and receive Social Security disability benefits if you are below the substantial gainful activity (aka SGA) level which is currently $1000 per month before taxes. In the case of a blind individual the SGA level is $1,640 In the case of a blind individual the SGA level is $1,640.
To Qualify for Disability Payments Sufficient Social Security Work Credits Are Required
Even though you may meet the SSA's definition of disability, there are non-medical requirements for Social Security disability benefits as well. You still need to have sufficient Social Security work credits in order to qualify for disability payments since Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is funded by the Social Security tax fund.
Social Security work credits are based on your total yearly wages or self-employment income where you have contributed to the Social Security tax fund. You can earn up to four credits each year. A calendar year is divided into quarters: January thru March; April thru June; July thru September; and October thru December. While working and paying taxes you receive four credits per year. Basically, an individual needs to have paid Social Security taxes on his or her wages long enough to qualify for benefits. With a fairly consistent work history, and having worked a minimum of five of the ten years previous to the onset of disability, you will qualify. The work credit requirement can be somewhat less for younger applicants.
If you become disabled in the quarter you turn 24 or before, then you would need one and half years of work within the three-year period before you were disabled. If you become disabled in the quarters between age 24 and 30, you would need to have worked half the time since the quarter you turned 21 until the time you were disabled. If you become disabled at 31 or later, you would need to have worked five out of 10 years, ending with the quarter you became disabled.
Other Helpful Information
- Qualifying Social Security Disability Benefits
To qualify for Social Security disability benefits, you must not only have worked in jobs covered by Social Security, but also have a medical condition that meets Social Security's definition of disability.
To learn more about qualifying for Social Security Disability Benefits go to: Social Security Disability Qualification Requirements
The Process of Filing for Disability is Not Simple.
If you need some guidance, contacting a social security disability lawyer could be helpful. Understanding how the Social Security Disability system works and how it relates to medical impairments can make the difference between success and failure in applying for and receiving social security disability benefits.
The requirements for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are different from the Social Security disability qualifications.
For SSI you must either be
- 65 or older
- a child that is blind or disabled
and have limited resources and income. It is possible to be eligible for Social Security disability and SSI at the same time.
Income consists of wages, pensions , and Social Security disability benefits. If you are married, part of your spouse's income is used in determining qualification. Part of your parent's income in case you are younger than 18 and part of your sponsors income if you are a sponsored "no citizen" will also be considered. The income that SSI does not count is
- The first $20 a month of most income you receive;
- The first $65 a month you earn from working and half the amount over $65;
- Food stamps
- Shelter you receive from private nonprofit organizations; and
- Most home energy assistance.
In addition, some scholarships and wages are not counted for students. Items used in assisting a disabled worker that were paid for are not counted, as well as work expenses for the blind. Some training costs are also not counted for the blind or disabled.
Resources consist of real estate, bank accounts, cash, stocks and bonds. You may be eligible for SSI if your resources equal no more than $2,000 and no more than $3,000 for a couple. Resources that do not count are
- The home you live in and the land it is on;
- Life insurance policies with a face value of $1,500 or less;
- Your car (usually);
- Burial plots for you and members of your immediate family; and
- Up to $1,500 in burial funds for you and up to $1,500 in burial funds for your spouse.
If you feel that you meet the Social Security disability qualifications, or the requirements for SSI you should speak to a Social Security disability lawyer who will help you navigate the Social Security disability application process.
The content of this website is provided for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice