Jonathan H. Poznansky, Attorney at Law

Criteria for qualification for Social Security Disability

Many people believe they automatically qualify to receive Social Security Disability benefits because they have taxes taken out of their paychecks and are unable to work. The eligibility requirements for SSDI are much more complex than that. Anyone who is considering filing a claim to receive SSDI should first understand the following criteria.

Employment history 

To qualify, applicants must have a sufficient work history in which five to 10 years of Social Security taxes were taken from their paychecks. They must also have enough work credits to receive payments. The Social Security Administration uses a specific calculation to determine the number of work credits an applicant has. As of 2016, applicants who earn at least $1,300 earn one Social Security work credit. The maximum credit allowance is four credits per year for each applicant, which totals $5,300 per year.

Medical history

An injury must prevent applicants from working any job that is similar to employment they had in the past and that meets their education, skills, experience and age for at least one year. For example, a person can have multiple injuries, but the injury that prevents a return to his or her previous position is the one Social Security Administration will use to evaluate eligibility.

Applicants should have documentation on their injuries that provides sufficient medical evidence supporting their claims of disability. Their medical condition should be so severe that it results in continued disability and inability to work for one year or longer, or ends in their death. The Social Security Administration has a list of more than 200 medical conditions that qualify for SSDI benefits if all other criteria are met. Conditions not on the list may still qualify, so a closer examination of circumstances and medical information is necessary to determine eligibility.

Injured parties are under no obligation to wait an entire year before filing for benefits. If they believe they meet the eligibility requirements, they can file for benefits as soon as they become disabled. Anyone who has a disability and is ready to file for Social Security Disability benefits should speak to an attorney for more information.

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