Friday, September 30, 2022

Who Qualifies for Social Security Disability Benefits?

There are several programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) that provide financial assistance to individuals with disabilities.

The two main programs are Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). To qualify for benefits under either program, applicants must meet certain medical and non-medical requirements.

What Is Considered a Disability?

The first step in determining whether or not you qualify for benefits is understanding what the Social Security Administration (SSA) considers a “disability.” 

To award benefits, the SSA defines a disability as the inability to work due to a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that is expected to result in death or last at least 12 months.

In order for your condition to meet this definition, it must completely prevent you from being able to perform basic work activities. Additionally, your condition must be supported by medical evidence from qualified sources.

What if Your Condition Is Not Listed?

Just because your particular condition is not listed in the SSA’s Blue Book doesn’t mean that you won’t qualify for benefits. The SSA will consider all of the facts in your case, including your age, education, past work experience, and residual functional capacity (RFC), in order to determine whether or not there are other types of work that you can still perform, given your limitations. If the SSA finds that there is other work you can do, then your claim will be denied.

Medical Requirements

In addition to qualifying conditions, applicants must submit medical evidence documenting their disability to the SSA. This evidence can come from doctors' notes, hospital records, test results, etc.

Gender and Age Requirements

There are no gender requirements to qualify for social security disability benefits. However, there are age requirements. Applicants for SSDI benefits must be 18 years or older. For SSI benefits, applicants must be 65 years or older, blind, or permanently and severely disabled.

Work History Requirements

As mentioned earlier, there is a work history requirement to qualify for SSDI benefits. To qualify for SSDI benefits, applicants must have worked in jobs covered by Social Security for a minimum number of years. 

The number of years required depends on the applicant's age. SSI does not have this same requirement, although you still need to be a citizen or a certain type of legal alien.


If you think you may qualify for social security disability benefits, the best thing to do is reach out to the SSA directly to discuss your unique case. You can also look for a law office in your area that specializes in SSDI cases. An attorney will know how to navigate the system and can make things a lot easier for you. Every case is unique, but hopefully, this post has given you a general idea of who qualifies for Social Security Disability and how to utilize these benefits.

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