What are the common requirements for social security eligibility?

People who find themselves unable to work due to a disability may be eligible for social security disability insurance benefits. However, understanding the social security disability requirements is important for people who are considering applying for benefits.


Qualifying Disabilities

There are certain disabilities that are listed by the Social Security Administration (SSA) as qualifying disabilities. People who suffer from a disability that is not listed by the SSA may still be eligible for benefits. A person must be able to prove that they are disabled and cannot reasonably work in any position for which they are qualified in order to be found eligible for benefits. This determination will be made using medical records that have been completed by a licensed medical professional.

Past Work History

Social security eligibility is dependent on a person's ability to display that they have worked in the recent past. This is because people who work have a portion of their paycheck deducted each pay period in order to pay for social security disability insurance coverage. Applying for benefits is essentially the same as filing a claim on an insurance policy.

People who work earn social security disability credits that are based on the amount of income that is earned. The amount of money that equals one credit varies per year and is currently set at $1,160. Individuals may earn up to four credit per year.

The number of credits that are needed in order for an individual to be eligible for benefits depends on their age and the number of years they have worked. For example, a person who becomes disabled at age 21 must have worked a minimum of one and a half years and earned six credits in order to be eligible for benefits.

Income Requirements

The purpose of social security benefits is to provide financial support for people who are completely unable to work. Income limits are imposed to ensure that people who are able to earn a substantial amount of money through working are not collecting disability benefits.

The maximum amount of money that a person can earn each month is adjusted on an annual basis. Work that leads to an income of more than $1,040 each month is considered to be substantial gainful activity (SGA). Blind social security insurance applicants are able to make up to $1,740 per year. People who are earning above the SGA income limit are not considered to be disabled for social security disability purposes.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

SSI eligibility is slightly different than social security disability requirements. This is a benefit that is intended to be paid to people who are low income. Individuals may make up to $710 per month in order to be eligible for these benefits. Couples may make up to $1,066 per month.

Social security eligibility can be confusing for people who are unfamiliar with the process of applying and qualifying for benefits. Work history, current income and disability status are all considered when eligibility is being determined.

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