Do I Qualify for Social Security Disability?

Thousands of people just like you are asking whether they qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). This article covers just a few of the basics. Social Security has dozens of additional requirements and exceptions to those requirements. If you are unable to work full time due to any physical or mental injury or illness, it would be wise to talk to a Social Security Disability attorney to explore your options. The discussion with an attorney regarding your qualifications is free, and most SSDI attorneys will not charge for their services unless you win your claim.

The Basics:

To qualify for SSDI, you must normally fit the following profile (but remember there are many exceptions if you don't fit this profile):

1- Are you currently working? Your illness must prevent you from working full time (40 hours a week) or earning over $1,000 a month.

2- How long will your illness last? Your illness must prevent you from working full time for at least 12 months or be expected to result in your death.

3- Have you had Federal FICA tax withheld from your paycheck? Most people will see this withheld on their pay stub without having to do anything at all. A few industries in the U.S. like the railroad are exempted from paying this tax, which could disqualify employees in that industry.

4- Have you, or the person whose wages you are claiming, worked the minimum number of years required to qualify? For those age 31 or older, you will need to have worked and earned $1,200 a quarter for at least 5 out of the past 10 years. Those age 44 and older will need to have paid additional amounts into the system sometime in their lifetime. The required time worked starts at 5.5 years at age 44 and gradually increases to 10 years at age 62.

4- Have you been to a doctor recently? To win an SSDI claim you will normally need medical records that include a diagnosis by a doctor or psychologist that you have the illness that you claim prevents you from working.

If you have all of the above, or think you can eventually prove all of the above at some point in the near future, you should apply for Social Security Disability Insurance right away. It is very possible that you have already qualified under one of the exceptions.

Don't be surprised if you get denied following your initial application. A large number of applicants will get denied, but if they file appeals until the opportunity comes to meet with an Administrative Law Judge, they will normally have a much better chance of winning their claim.