SSDI Eligibility: How Do I Know if I Qualify?

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program provides monthly benefits for disabled Americans who are no longer able to work. These benefits help millions of people, but getting them can be difficult. This post outlines some of the basics of SSDI eligibility, and how the Social Security Administration makes its decisions.

Basics of SSDI Eligibility

Below is a list of some of the most important factors in Social Security disability claims.

  • Work Experience

In order to qualify for disability benefits, you must have worked, earned money, and paid Social Security taxes for a significant amount of time. This work history and income earns you “credits” towards future benefits. In general, you need 40 credits to meet SSDI eligibility requirements.

  • Definition of Disability

To qualify for benefits, your disability must meet Social Security guidelines. The SSDI program only covers disabilities that totally prevent individuals from working and earning money themselves.

In order to receive disability benefits, you cannot be able to return to work you previously did. You also will need to demonstrate that your disability prevents you from taking any other jobs, and that it has lasted (or will last) over one year or is expected to be terminal.

  • How They Decide

The SSA uses a 5-step eligibility process to determine if you qualify for benefits.

  1. Are you working and earning money?
    • If you are working and earning more than $1,130 per month, you will not qualify for disability benefits.
  2. Is your condition severe?
    • Your disability must be severe enough to prevent you from working.
  3. Is your condition listed by the SSA?
    • The Social Security Administration maintains a list of qualifying conditions. While you may still qualify if your condition is unlisted, listed conditions may have a better chance of success.
  4. Can you do the work you did before?
    • Your cannot be able to return to jobs you did before the onset of your disability.
  5. Can you do any other type of work?
    • The SSA will consider your disability, age, education, work experience, and skills to determine if you can adjust to a different area of work.

Do You Need Disability Benefits? Call Us Today!

Here at Summit Disability Law Group, we specialize in helping people win their Social Security disability cases. We offer free copies of our book, The Utah Social Security Disability Handbook, to help you better understand your case. Order yours today by clicking on the title above!

Please contact us today if you have any questions or want to file a disability claim. We look forward to representing you and securing you the disability benefits you deserve.


Image courtesy of the U.S. Government. The image is in the public domain.