Social Security Disability Requirements

Social Security Disability requirements for work and disability Benefits

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program offers financial help to Americans who have become disabled and are no longer able to work. The Social Security Administration (SSA) is strict in implementing eligibility requirements for all applicants. This is based upon specific work and disability qualifications. The applicant must have worked long enough and recently enough and must have a disabling condition. This condition must have lasted or is expected to last for at least 12 months to qualify. We will go into further detail on the two primary SSDI Social Security Disability requirements for eligibility: work and disability.

"Recent Work" and "Duration of Work" Requirements

The work, or earnings, requirements for Social Security disability benefits are determined by several factors. There are based on the applicant's age when disabled, recent work and duration of work. The applicant must have worked recently enough, prior to his or her disability, to qualify. The following "recent work" requirements apply:

  • If an applicant was disabled before the age of 24, he or she must have had one-and-a-half years of work within the three-year period prior to disability.
  • If an applicant was disabled from age 24 through 30, they must have worked for half the time between turning 21 and the age of his or her disability. For example, if the applicant was disabled at 25, he or she would need to have two years of work to qualify.
  • If an applicant is aged 31 years or older, he or she must have had five years of work out of the 10-year period prior to his or her disability.

In addition to meeting recent work requirements, the applicant must meet "duration of work" requirements, which range from 1.5 years for applicants younger than 28 to 9.5 years for applicants aged 60 years or older.

Disability Requirements

If an applicant meets work requirements, the SSA will send the application to the local Disability Determination Services office, where five issues will be reviewed to determine disability qualification:

  • The applicant must not be working and earning a certain amount of money to qualify.
  • Applicant must be suffering from a "severe" medical condition that has a significant impact on ability to work and perform normal tasks.
  • The applicant must have a condition that is listed in the List of Impairments or must otherwise have a qualifying disability that is as severe as a condition included in the List.
  • If the applicant does not meet the social security disability requirements in step 3, he or she must be unable to perform the work previously performed.
  • In addition to being unable to perform the work he or she once performed, the applicant must be unable to participate in any other type of gainful employment.

Click here for more information on disability requirements.

What happens if my claim is denied?

If the SSA decides that you do not meet eligibility requirements and denies your claim, you can appeal this decision. This happens in approximately two out of three cases. An appeal must be filed within 60 days of receiving a written notice that a claim has been denied. There are four levels of appeals: reconsideration, hearing, Appeals Council review and Federal Court review. The letter sent from the SSA regarding a denied application will include information on how to file an appeal.

An attorney can ensure your claim is filed properly. Ensuring it includes all pertinent information and evidence needed by the SSA to make an accurate determination of your eligibility. An attorney can also provide essential guidance and representation if a claim is denied and appeal is required. Find out how Napoli Shkolnik PLLC can help you fulfill the social security disability requirements of your claim by contacting our office today.