How Do I Qualify for Social Security Disability?

We all need to be able to work so we can financially support ourselves and our loved ones. If we become severely disabled because of an accident; for example, a serious car accident, or because of a workplace accident, or because of a disease, it can become impossible to work and earn a living. This is where Social Security Disability comes in.

With Social Security Disability (SSD), workers pay into the program with their Social Security taxes. While SSD is a valuable program, not everyone qualifies. In order to qualify for SSD benefits, not only do you have to have a disabling medical condition that will last at least one year or result in death, but you must have worked long enough in jobs where you paid sufficient Social Security taxes.

Unlike most workers’ compensation programs, disability benefits do not come with a maximum number of checks you can receive, or a “maximum set number of weeks” where you can receive benefits for a limited time. Instead, disability benefits generally last until the worker is well enough to resume working on a regular basis.

The Social Security Administration also has special rules known as “work incentives” that allow a worker to receive continued healthcare coverage and benefits as they transition back to work. This makes it easier for workers to get back on their feet at their own pace.

What Are the Basic Requirements?

Let’s take a look at the basic requirements for receiving disability benefits:

  • You must have worked long enough to obtain benefits. If you only worked for a couple years, you may not qualify.
  • You must have worked long enough in jobs that contributed to Social Security. For example, if you didn’t pay into the Social Security system, you probably would not be entitled to benefits.
  • You must meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of a disability. Meaning, you must be disabled for at least a year or your condition will result in death. Plus, your condition must be serious enough where you can’t do easier work.
  • You must have earned enough work credits, whether you were an employee or self-employed, or both.

To learn more about work credits, we recommend reading the SSA’s publication entitled, “How You Earn Credits.” To apply for disability benefits, contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC to speak with a Dallas Social Security Disability attorney.

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