This Article is About
security disability benefits
security disability insurance
social security disability
social security disability insurance
social security disability benefits
ssi benefit
social security system
ssi program
Do I Qualify For Social Security Disability Benefits?
Join 1000's of Authors at StreetArticles Today!

As a disability advocate and speaker, I am often asked about qualifying for Social Security Disability Benefits. The government makes it sound very complex (as it does with many things!), when it really is not.

First, please understand that Social Security Disability is actually comprised of two distinct programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The difference lies in whether or not you have worked long enough and paid into the Social Security system through your FICA taxes. If you have worked at least 50% of the previous ten years, you likely qualify for SSDI. If you have not, your application would be automatically redirected to the SSI program.

SSDI pays an average of $1000 monthly. The monthly SSI benefit, on the other hand, only pays about half of that amount. So, you can see that it is to your benefit to qualify for SSDI if you can. Your monthly SSDI benefit is based on your total lifetime earnings divided by the number of years you have worked.

Now, here is the definition of "disability" that Social Security uses: "A diagnosed medical condition, or combination of conditions, that prevents, or greatly impairs, a claimant from engaging in substantially gainful activity." Pretty technical definition, isn't it?

Let's break it down. You must have a "diagnosed medical condition, or combination of conditions". This means that a physician (as opposed to a nurse, social worker, or therapist) must officially declare in your medical records that you suffer from a particular illness. The opinions of non-physicians are taken into account, but what a physician says is what carries the most weight.

Your condition must "prevent, or greatly impair, you from engaging in substantially gainful activity". This means that your symptoms must make it difficult, or impossible, to earn more than $1000 monthly. It also means that you can work part-time and still be considered disabled. Most people do not realize this, and it causes many eligible people to not apply.

So, lets reword the definition very clearly. You are "disabled" under Social Security's rules if you suffer from a diagnosed illness AND are unable to earn more than $1000 due to the symptoms of your illness. If you earn more than $1000 monthly, you cannot be considered disabled, regardless of the severity of your condition. The one exception to this is if you are spending money out-of-pocket for medical care that enables you to continue working. Such things as doctor visit co-pays and the cost of medication would count, and Social Security will reduce your countable income dollar-for-dollar.

Much simpler now, isn't it?

All the best,

Scott Transue


Street Talk

No comments present
You May Also Like
Social Security Disability Benefits - Doctor's Support
Hello again! This article will examine what is really meant by "doctor's support" when it comes to getting approved for Social Security Disability. On the initial application, you will be asked for a list of doctors treating you. Of course, you will want to approach each of them to see…
By:  in  Health and Fitness  >  Disability   Jun 19, 2012  
0
  Likes: 1

How to Make A Living, Post Stroke
The Glory Days are gone forever. Two years ago, a stroke robbed me of my ability to use my left arm and hand, and also weakened my left leg. Growing up as an left-handed athlete, this in itself was a devastating blow. I can't run, and I can't throw or…
By: harvey suzuki in  Health and Fitness  >  Disability   Oct 08, 2013  
2
  Likes: 1

Social Security Disability Work Incentives - Ssdi
Social Security Disability Insurance is a program for people who can no longer work full time due to their health, but who have paid into the system through previous work history. On average, the monthly benefit is $1000, but can go as high as $2300. The big question most people…
By:  in  Health and Fitness  >  Disability   Jun 08, 2012  
0
  Likes: 0

Start A Home Based Business And Still Collect Social Security Disability
Being on Social Security Disability can be frustrating for anyone that was used to drawing a good paycheck from their job before the incident that caused the disability. With the sudden decrease in earnings, as most Disability checks are not near what your income was before you became disabled, it…
By: Marla Overton in  Home Based Business   May 18, 2011  
5
  Likes: 11

Applying for Social Security Disability - The Activities Of Daily Living Questionnaire
Hello again! In this article, I will address a commonly-confused aspect of the Social Security Disability application process: the Activities of Daily Living questionnaire. Once you have submitted your claim, and Social Security has verified the information, you will sent a very-detailed questionnaire. Essentially, this is designed to help Social…
By:  in  Health and Fitness  >  Disability   Jun 19, 2012  
2
  Likes: 4

Social Security Disability Appeals - The Hearing Stage
On average, Social Security disability examiners deny 66% of the initial applications they review. The reasons for this high denial rate are the subject of another article. In this article, I will discuss the appeals process, and specifically, the "hearing" stage. Some states have a "reconsideration" stage before a claim…
By:  in  Health and Fitness  >  Disability   Jun 12, 2012  
0
  Likes: 0

Getting Approved for Social Security Disability - Do I Need A Lawyer?
Greetings again! One of the most common questions applicants have is whether or not they need a lawyer to win. The answer is maybe.....but maybe not. Initial applications for disability benefits are denied at a staggering 66% rate nationwide. Only about a third of claimants get approved on the first…
By:  in  Health and Fitness  >  Disability   Jun 05, 2012  
0
  Likes: 0

Social Security Disability - The Initial Application
Greetings again! The initial application process for Social Security Disability appears straightforward, but there are some tips you can use to make the application stronger from the get-go. First, if you have a physical impairment, and have the ability to do so, apply in person at your local Social Security…
By:  in  Health and Fitness  >  Disability   Jun 13, 2012  
0
  Likes: 0

Exertional Versus Non - Exertional Impairments And Social Security Disability
Hello again! In a previous article, I discussed the general requirements for qualifying for Social Security Disability. I mentioned the work history factor, as well as the legal definition of disability. I then simplified that definition. Here, I will talk about "exertional" versus "non-exertional" impairments and how they impact whether…
By:  in  Health and Fitness  >  Disability   Jun 04, 2012  
0
  Likes: 0

The Ticks Of Politics
Our political arena could benefit with a massive research into finding a way to control its recent influx of tics. Two namely tics are; poli-tics and luni-tics, they're destroying our government and its professional operation that we used to be accustomed to. Some might blame this awful epidemic of tics…
By: Joy Stata in  Politics  >  World Politics   Aug 25, 2011  
1
  Likes: 2

Social Security Disability Work Incentives - SSI
Hello again! In this article, I want to discuss a subject that is the source of much confusion. Namely, can you work and still collect Social Security Disability? The answer, simply, is yes.......but you must follow some specific guidelines. I will address work incentives for the SSI program here, and…
By:  in  Health and Fitness  >  Disability   Jun 08, 2012  
3
  Likes: 0

Social Security Disability Benefits - Doctor's Support
Hello again! This article will examine what is really meant by "doctor's support" when it comes to getting approved for Social Security Disability. On the initial application, you will be asked for a list of doctors treating you. Of course, you will want to approach each of them to see…
By:  in  Health and Fitness  >  Disability   Jun 19, 2012  
0
  Likes: 1

Working at Home With $100 In Free Tools, Features, Services
Starting an Internet Home Based Business from home can be very challenging and give you lots of headaches if you don't know where to begin or where to get information that is helpful to get you started. I know that because I spent weeks and months looking for a way…
By: Marla Overton in  Home Based Business  >  Network Marketing   May 10, 2011  
0
  Likes: 0

Social Security Disability Work Incentives - Ssdi
Social Security Disability Insurance is a program for people who can no longer work full time due to their health, but who have paid into the system through previous work history. On average, the monthly benefit is $1000, but can go as high as $2300. The big question most people…
By:  in  Health and Fitness  >  Disability   Jun 08, 2012  
0
  Likes: 0

Wheelchair Products - Bring Back the Flexibility Of the Sick, Impaired As Well As the Aged
There are millions of folks from all walks of life that use mobility device items. These tools help people that are not able to relocate on their own, which could well result from aging, injuries or various other kinds of special needs. In most cases, those that require mobility devices…
By: Pankaj Garg in  Health and Fitness  >  Disability   May 10, 2016  
0
  Likes: 0

Article Views: 1409    Report this Article