How Do I Qualify for Disability?

donsloan Disability Qualifications

One of the most common questions we receive has to do with whether an individual qualifies for disability.

It’s a broad question with no specific answer, but here’s a quick summary of common elements in a successful application according to the Social Security Administration:

To qualify for Social Security disability benefits, you must

  • first have worked in jobs covered by Social Security. Then you must
  • have a medical condition that meets Social Security’s definition of disability.
  • In general, they pay monthly benefits to people who are unable to work for a year or more because of  a disability.

‘Benefits usually continue until you are able to work again on a regular basis. There are also a number of special rules, called “work incentives,” that provide continued benefits and health care coverage to help you make the transition back to work.

“If you are receiving Social Security disability benefits when you reach full retirement age, your disability benefits automatically convert to retirement benefits, but the amount remains the same.

How Much Work Do You Need?

“In addition to meeting our definition of disability, you must have worked long enough — and recently enough — under Social Security to qualify for disability benefits.

“Social Security work credits are based on your total yearly wages or self-employment income. You can earn up to four credits each year.

“The amount needed for a work credit changes from year to year. In 2020, for example, you earn one credit for each $1,410 in wages or self-employment income. When you’ve earned $5,640, you’ve earned your four credits for the year.

“The number of work credits you need to qualify for disability benefits depends on your age when you become disabled. Generally, you need 40 credits, 20 of which were earned in the last 10 years ending with the year you become disabled. However, younger workers may qualify with fewer credits.”

For a little more on the subject, visit the official Social Security Administration website.