How do I know whether I qualify for Social Security Disability?
Generally speaking, those who qualify for Social Security Disability will have worked at a qualifying job for a certain number of years and have a medical condition that qualifies as a “disability” under Social Security rules. The “disability” will have to be one that renders the recipient unable to work for a year or more. Benefits will continue until the recipient is able to work again on a regular basis. What actually qualifies as the appropriate amount of work and what qualifies as a “disability” can get tricky.
As far as the work requirement goes — you must have worked for a certain period of time to qualify for benefits. Social Security counts the amount of work you have done and how recently you have done it to compute the benefits you are entitled to. Generally, recipients will need 40 “credits” to qualify, 20 of which were earned in the past 10 years. Each “credit” corresponds to a value of earnings. Such values change over the years. For example, in 2015, $1220 of earnings counted as 1 credit.
The trickier part is determining what qualifies as a disability. Social Security Disability recipients must have a total disability, not a partial or temporary one. Social Security will determine if the disability prevents you from being able to work and whether such inability will last for a year or longer. Social Security will also determine whether the disability prevents you from adjusting to other types of work. The method that Social Security uses is a bit complicated. They maintain a list of conditions that qualify as total disabilities. If the recipient has one of these conditions, they qualify. If not, Social Security will attempt to relate the recipient’s condition to one of those on the list. If they are similar enough, the recipient will qualify.
If you are having trouble qualifying for Social Security Disability, or interacting with the Social Security Administration, you should retain an experienced advocate from the Seelig Law Offices. Serving clients in the greater New York City metropolitan area, we can be reached at: 212-766-0600.