What Qualifies Me For Social Security Disability?

Did you have an accident at work? Did a sudden illness strike you? Is this new medical condition keeping you from doing the job that has supported you and your family for most of your adult life? If so, then you might be considering applying for Social Security Disability insurance (SSDI). However, there are some things you need to know before you apply…

How Do I Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is the gatekeeper to government disability benefits, and a strict gatekeeper it is. Getting your disability benefits approved can be very hard, and if you are not careful, you could wind up stuck on a very long waiting list. So how do you avoid this? One of the best ways is knowing SSA’s requirements and making sure you can prove that you meet them.

The Requirements

  • Do You Have a Disability? In order to get benefits, you must have a medical condition that prevents you from working. This condition can be physical or mental, but it must keep you from working for at least a year or end in your death. So being laid up for a few months doesn’t mean you qualify. This condition must also prevent you from doing other work that your work experience could qualify you for.
  • Have You Worked Enough? The SSA also requires that you must have worked for a certain period of time to qualify for benefits. So, if you were 22 years old, then you would need to have worked at least 1.5 years. If you were 44, then you would need around 5.5 years. SSA usually uses work-credits to calculate if you meet this requirement, and it has a handy chart that can help you determine if you have enough work credits for your age group.
  • Do You Have Documentation? The most important part of qualifying for disability benefits is having the records to prove your claim. This means you will need documentation from your doctor that both confirms your condition, and proves it is disabling. Having work records may help too, but those medical records will be the most important.

Even with these requirements are fulfilled, your initial application may still be rejected. If that happens you will be forced to enter the reconsideration process, which can result in even longer wait times. That’s when knowing how the SSA operates can come in handy the most. Stick with our Tulsa disability attorneys—and our blog—to learn more about how SSA evaluators look at your case. You can also check out our Facebook and Twitter for updates on the latest developments in SSDI.


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