Eligibility Requirements for Social Security Disability

Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits are designed to provide financial support to Americans with disabilities or blindness who are unable to work or who fall below the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) income threshold. But the SSA has its own definition of disability, and not everyone qualifies for SSD benefits under the agency’s qualifications. Before your claim can be approved, you must meet the SSA’s work history requirements and provide sufficient medical evidence to prove the severity of your medical condition.

Eligibility requirements for Social Security Disability can be confusing, but you don’t have to wait in line at your local Social Security office to find out if you qualify for compensation. At Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin, our Social Security lawyers handle SSD cases across the United States and are here to answer your questions.

Basic Eligibility Requirements for SSD Benefits

The SSA considers the following factors to determine your eligibility for SSD benefits:

  • Your Age
    You must be younger than full retirement age—between ages 65-67 depending on birth year—to be eligible for SSD benefits. Disabled workers of full retirement age can begin receiving Social Security retirement benefits.
  • Your Work History
    You must earn a certain number of “work credits” to qualify for SSD benefits. The exact number of credits you need is based on your age, how long you’ve been working, and how recently you worked before becoming disabled.
  • Your Income
    Your medical condition must prevent you from engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA)—or from meeting monthly income limits set by the SSA and federal regulators. SGA amounts are adjusted yearly and depend on the nature of your disability, with separate income limits set for blind and non-blind individuals.
  • Your Disability
    You can only receive SSD benefits for a total disability that is expected to last for at least one year or result in death. The SSA does not pay partial or short-term disability benefits.

If you have questions about your SSD eligibility, consider working with one of our well-versed attorneys.

Who Does the SSA Consider Disabled?

To qualify for SSD benefits, you must suffer from a disease, illness, or medical condition expected to last one year or result in death. Your condition must also be considered “severe,” meaning it interferes with basic work-related activities, such as:

  • Walking
  • Sitting
  • Lifting
  • Carrying
  • Remembering instructions

If you’re suffering from a condition found on the SSA’s Listing of Impairments, your disability is automatically considered severe, thereby qualifying you for SSD benefits. If your condition is not found in the SSA’s Listing of Impairments, you may still qualify if you meet certain other eligibility criteria for SSD benefits. 

Ask Our Team about Eligibility Requirements for SSD Benefits 

Meeting the SSA’s eligibility requirements for Social Security Disability can be a complex process, and claims can be denied based on how you calculate your income, what medical evidence you provide, and how you establish the alleged onset date of your disability.

At Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin, we believe everyone should have access to experienced Social Security Disability lawyers, regardless of their ability to pay. That’s why we offer a promise that you won’t owe us anything unless we get benefits for you. No matter where you are in the claims process, we can help. So don’t wait. Contact us today.


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