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Eligibility Requirements for Social Security Disability Benefits

Published on February 2nd, 2017

Has your ability to work been sidelined due to a serious illness or injury? If so, your solution may lie in the receipt of Social Security disability benefits. If you believe this could be the answer you are looking for, you must meet these eligibility requirements for this helpful program.

Eligibility Requirements for Social Security Disability Benefits

Work Requirements

To be eligible for disability benefits, you must have enough work credits to qualify. Work credits are earned based on your yearly income. Earn up to four credits annually. The earnings you need for one credit changes every year. In 2016, the amount necessary to earn one credit was $1,260. Generally, you must work enough to have earned 40 credits to be eligible to collect disability benefits. You must earn 20 of those credits within 10 years prior to becoming disabled.

What is a disability?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) only pays for a complete disability. Further, the agency is stringent with its definition of the term “disability”. To be considered disabled and eligible for benefits, you must meet the following qualifications:

– You can no longer have done the work you did before
– The SSA decides that you are unable to adjust to other work because of your medical condition
– Your disability has lasted or is expected to last at least one full year or will result in your death

The Decision Process

The SSA has a series of five questions it asks to those who apply for disability benefits. The answers to these questions most often determine the SSA’s decision.

– Are you working?
– If you earned more than $1,130 a month in 2016, you most likely will not be considered disabled.
– Is your condition severe?
– The condition that is causing your disability must interfere with your work-related activities.
– Is your condition found in the list of disabling conditions?
– The SSA has a comprehensive list of conditions that automatically qualify for benefits. If your condition is on this list, you will undoubtedly receive disability benefits. If your condition is not on the list, the SSA will still take your case into consideration.
– Can you do the work you did previously?
– If you can still perform the tasks of your job, your claim will not be accepted.
– Can you do any other type of work?
– If you can no longer do the job you used to do, the SSA will determine if there is other work you can adjust to with your current condition. If you can make a living doing some other type of work, your claim will be denied.

Special Circumstances

If you fall into one of the following categories, you may be eligible for disability benefits:

– You have blindness or low vision
– You are the worker’s widow or widower
– You need benefits for a disabled child
– You are a wounded warrior or veteran

If you have questions regarding disability eligibility or would like assistance applying for benefits, contact the law office of Daniel Berger today. We are here to help you.


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