Eligibility Criteria for Social Security Disability

 To be eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits, you must satisfy SSA requirements. The SSA considers an individual’s various medical and non-medical aspects when deciding the eligibility for the SSDI program.

 An applicant for benefits will be required to fulfill the following conditions to establish eligibility for benefits:

  1. Medical condition

 You must have a debilitating medical condition to be eligible for social security disability benefits.  The Blue Book lists a variety of medical conditions that may qualify an individual for benefits.

 If your illness or injury is not specifically listed in the Blue Book, you may still be eligible for benefits if your condition meets SSA’s definition of disability.

 Unfortunately, what qualifies as disabling is not always readily apparent. For example, many Americans are diagnosed with diabetes mellitus, also known as Type II Diabetes and type 2 diabetes considered as a disability.  Although this condition may limit one’s ability to work, it would not be considered disabling under the SSA’s definition. 

Disability is defined as an inability to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA) because of a physical or mental impairment. The impairment has lasted or is expected to last continuously for 12 months or result in death.

  1. Work history and credits

 In order to be eligible for disability benefits, you should have a legal work history in the United States. This is because SSDI is intended to help disabled individuals who have paid into the Social Security trust fund. Your earnings determine how much you contribute to the Social Security trust fund.

 There is a threshold number of credit points required for eligibility. The number of credit points may vary from age to age. SSA calculates credit points based on an individual’s work history.

 If you are unable to demonstrate sufficient credit points, your application for SSDI benefits is likely to be determined ineligible and your claim for benefits could be denied.

  Therefore, you should demonstrate that you have earned a qualifying number of credit points in the past. A knowledgeable San Diego disability attorney will help you determine whether you meet the eligibility criteria.

  1. Must be unable to work

 Your health issue should have persisted for at least 12 months and been severe enough to prevent you from working in the future to be eligible.

 The SSA will evaluate your residual functional capacity (RFC). Your RFC is the most you can still do despite physical or mental limitations. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the SSA’s eligibility determination process and the evidence used to assess RFC.

 In general, an applicant is responsible for providing evidence to determine RFC. However, if the proof provided demonstrates transferable skills or that you can perform other types of work, your application may be denied. That is why the assistance of a qualified attorney will significantly improve your chances of a successful application.

 People with limited income and resources who have insufficient work credits, or are otherwise not qualified for SSDI, may alternatively consider applying for SSI, a particular benefit available for people with disabilities.

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