Who qualifies for disability benefits?

On Behalf of | Jul 15, 2022 | Social Security Disability Benefits |

Social Security Disability benefits can be a true financial lifeline for those who suffer from an injury or medical condition that renders them unable to work. However, the monthly benefits provided by this program are not automatically given out to all who apply. Far from it. Instead, you have to apply to the Social Security Administration in an attempt to recover the benefits that you think you deserve.

Who qualifies for disability benefits?

Assessing disability eligibility requirements

Depending on your circumstances, there are a number of things that you must prove in order to demonstrate that you qualify for disability benefits. Generally speaking, the SSA requires you to show that you have a severe medical condition that has either lasted for a year or is expected to last for a year or longer. You may also qualify for benefits if your condition is expected to result in death.

In addition to showing the extent of your medical condition, you’ll also have to prove how it affects your ability to work. This means presenting evidence that illustrates how your condition prevents you from completing the work that you did prior to the onset of your condition, and how your illness or injury limits you from moving on to other forms of work.

The SSA has a list of qualifying disabilities, each with its own requirements that must be met before disability benefits will be paid out.

Work requirements

Although much of the focus in a disability claim is on the extent and severity of your medical condition, there are other requirements that have to be met. Among them is the work requirement. Here, the government calculates the number of work credits you have, with each credit amounting to $1,510 in earnings. In order to qualify for disability benefits, most people have to show that they’ve earned at least 40 work credits, with half of those credits being earned in the last 10 years. However, the specific number of work credits that you need depends, in part, on your age.

Compassionate allowances

Some medical conditions are so severe that they are automatically considered disabling, which means that sufferers can expedite the claims process and recover the benefits that they need in a quicker fashion. So, for people who suffer from certain types of cancer, for example, benefits can be paid out upon submission of evidence of the diagnosis.

Children with disabilities

Children who suffer from certain medical conditions can also qualify for benefits. These children have to be able to show that their condition creates marked and severe functional limitations, and the condition has to last for a year or expect to last for a year or is expected to result in death.

Proving your disability claim

Remember, when you seek disability benefits the onus is on you to prove that you meet the government’s definition of “disabled” and that you meet all other requirements. That might sound simple enough, but the truth of the matter is that many initial disability claims are denied due to inadequate medical evidence.

That’s why you need to be as thoroughly prepared as possible as you begin to navigate your case. An attorney who is experienced in this area of the law can help you avoid the common pitfalls that many disabled individuals fall into when proceeding through this process, which can position you well for success.