Who is eligible for Social Security Disability?

| Jul 21, 2020 | Social Security Disability

The Social Security Administration (SSA) oversees the distribution of benefits to American citizens in need. Whether temporarily unable to work due to an injury or afflicted with a disability since birth, the SSA helps those people maintain their quality of life.

The benefits administered by the SSA include Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). An individual’s application must prove an inability to work to qualify.

The SSD application process

Before receiving social security benefits, an individual must apply through their state’s website. A short questionnaire will ask about past work and the applicant’s disabilities. These survey questions evaluate one’s need, the quality of life they maintain and how much work one can perform. The SSA credit system determines benefit eligibility, awarding up to four credits per year. Most applicants need 40 earned credits to qualify.

The SSA definition of “disability” differs slightly from other programs. To determine whether an applicant has a disability, the SSA considers three criteria:

  • The applicant is unable to do work done before
  • The applicant cannot adjust to other jobs
  • The disability has lasted one year, will last one year or will result in death

If the applicant has enough credits and satisfies the above criteria, the SSA asks five more questions:

  1. Is the applicant working? Those making more than $1,260 are not eligible to receive benefits.
  2. Is their condition “severe”? Qualifying conditions significantly limit an applicant’s ability to do basic work like sitting, standing, walking, and lifting for at least 12 months.
  3. Is the condition on the list of disabling conditions? Unlisted conditions undergo special review.
  4. Can the applicant work their previous job? Those who can work a previous job will not receive benefits.
  5. Can the applicant perform other work? Those who can work another job may not receive benefits.

A lawyer can provide more information

Those who think they qualify for SSD can bring their questions to a local lawyer. An attorney familiar with Texas SSD can help with the application, secure medical references and file appeals.

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