Disability 101

How Do I Qualify For Social Security Disability Benefits?

There are two types of requirements that an individual must meet in order to qualify for social security disability benefits: financial and medical.

Financial Requirements

Before the Social Security Administration will assess your medical disability, you must show that you financially qualify for at least one of the benefits programs.

Social Security has two main disability programs: Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”), and Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (“SSDI”). The financial requirements for each program differ.

Supplemental Security Income or SSI is a needs-based program that is available to disabled individuals with limited resources. The individual resource limit for SSI is $2,000. For purposes of this program, “resources” include cash, bank accounts, land, life insurance, personal property, and vehicles. Resources that are not counted toward the $2,000 limit include the home you live in, one vehicle, and household goods or personal effects. A complete list of “resources” and how they are counted under this program can be found here. If you think you qualify, you can click here to request an appointment with SSA to file for benefits.

The second main type of disability program is Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, or SSDI. This is a program available to individuals based on their work history, through which they accrue “work credits.” A certain number of “work credits” are required to qualify for disability benefits. Generally, you need 40 credits, 20 of which were earned in the last 10 years ending with the year your disability begins. The number of credits you need may vary based on age. Click here to see Social Security’s “duration of work” test and the credits you need based on your age.  If you think you qualify for SSDI based on your work history, you can click here to file an application with SSA online.

The financial eligibility requirements are very specific and may be affected by other factors. For help navigating the financial eligibility requirements, contact us for a consultation.

Medical Requirements
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