Who Qualifies For SSDI Benefits?

Recently, Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, the president of the Charles Schwab Foundation, had an interesting question and answer column on Huffington Post where she discussed Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) qualifications.

One reader wrote to Schwab-Pomerantz describing how he or she recently suffered a severe injury that would prevent him or her from working for several years, asking about SSDI.

Schwab-Pomerantz then described the SSDI system, and the rules and regulations regarding benefit qualifications, noting how most applicants are denied (during the third quarter of 2015, less than 32 percent of initial applications were approved).

“[W]hile it appears that you do meet a couple of the qualifications — you’re under your full retirement age and you have a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year — the application and screening process is generally arduous and slow,” Schwab-Pomerantz noted to the reader.

To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must:

  • Be younger than your full retirement age (FRA)
  • Have accrued Social Security work credits to pass earning tests
  • Prove that your medical condition is severe (limits your work function, could result in death)
  • Meet income requirements (in 2015, you could not earn more than $1,090 per month)

An Attorney Can Help You Through the SSDI Process

As the author noted, the SSDI process can be complicated, especially if your initial application is denied, which most are. If you plan to appeal a decision, it may be in your best interest to work with an attorney, who can help you document evidence required for a successful claim.

This can include evidence of medical records and documentation from your healthcare providers. If you have questions about SSDI eligibility requirements, you can visit our Social Security FAQ page.


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