Social Security Disability

Do you qualify for Social Security disability?

Applying for your disability benefits can be a confusing process, and many people have questions about the Social Security disability qualifications.

If you have worked and paid FICA taxes for five of the last 10 years and have experienced a long-term illness or injury that will prevent you from working for at least 12 months or is expected to result in death, then you may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.

Besse Law Office can help determine if you meet the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) strict definition of disability and if so, help you with the application process. “Disability” under Social Security is based on your inability to work. You are considered disabled under Social Security rules if:

  • You cannot do work that you did before;
  • It is determined that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and
  • Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.

Social Security Disability Insurance Qualifications

If you apply for SSDI benefits, the SSA will use the following five-step process to decide if you are disabled.

Evaluation Criteria: 

  1. Are you working? If you are working and earning an average of $1,000 or more per month, the SSA typically will not consider you disabled. If you aren’t working or are working and earning less than $1,000 per month, go on to Step 2.
  2. Has your medical condition been severe enough to limit your ability to perform basic work-related activities, such as walking, sitting, and remembering? Go on to Step 3. The SSA typically will not consider you disabled.
  3. Is your medical condition on the list of conditions that automatically qualify you as disabled? For each of the major body systems, there is a list of medical conditions that are so severe that they automatically qualify an individual under SSA’s “disability” standard. If your condition is not on that list, it may still be found to be of equal severity to a medical condition that is on the list.
  4. Is your medical condition so severe that it interferes with your ability to do the type of work you have previously done? If so, go on to Step 5. The SSA typically will not consider you disabled if you can do other types of work. 
  5. Can you do any other type of work? The SSA typically will not consider you disabled if you can. You will likely be approved for SSDI benefits if you cannot.