Social Security Disability Qualifications

Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits are available to eligible workers whose disability prevents them from maintaining gainful employment, and whose disability is expected to last at least one year or until death. In order to qualify for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration, one must meet a number of specific criteria. A Social Security disability lawyer can help you determine whether you qualify for SSD benefits and can help you file the appropriate documentation to prove your claim.

Do I Qualify for Disability Benefits?

Eligibility for SSD benefits is based on one’s work history, current ability to work, and the nature of the disability. When determining qualification for disability benefits, there are several criteria evaluated by the Social Security Administration (SSA):

  • Does the applicant have a disability or medical condition that prevents him or her from gainful employment?
  • Does the applicant have a disability or medical condition that meets the SSA definition of disability? (Learn more about the SSA definition of disability in Anthony Castelli’s article here).
  • Is the disability anticipated to last at least one year or until the death of the applicant?
  • Does the disability prevent the applicant not only from returning his or her previous employment, but also from engaging in all other types of work?
  • Has the applicant worked long enough and recently enough under Social Security, providing enough contribution through payroll FICA taxes, to qualify for Social Security Disability?

Work credits for Social Security are accumulated through the amount of wages earned. This amount varies, but according to the SSA, in 2011, each $1,120 of income equals one work credit. Generally, to qualify for SSD benefits, one must have earned 40 credits, at least 20 of which were earned in the last 10 years.

any ability to work must be extremely limited. If an SSD applicant is able to work at a job that earns $1,000 or more per month, he or she will not likely qualify for disability benefits.

If you think you may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, contact an experienced disability lawyer who can evaluate your case and help you determine your eligibility. If you qualify for SSD benefits, your Social Security lawyer can help you complete the necessary forms, paperwork, and documentation, and will represent you in any disability hearings or administrative court proceedings. Contact a DC disability lawyer or Maryland disability lawyer for more information.