Do You Qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance?

To meet eligibility requirements for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, an applicant must meet strict guidelines set by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

First, an applicant must have worked long enough and paid enough into the system to be considered eligible.

Next, an applicant must have a medical condition that meets the SSA definition of disability.

SSDI Evaluation Process

The SSA uses a five-step process to evaluate an application for SSDI. The evaluation asks:

  • Are You Working? If you are working, your wages must be lower than a certain amount to be considered eligible.
  • Is Your Condition Severe? Your condition must interfere with your ability to perform work-related activities.
  • Is Your Condition Listed? The SSA Blue Book lists qualifying conditions which affect different parts of the body.
  • Can You Do Work You Did Before? Your condition must keep you from your current work and any work done previously.
  • Can You Do Other Work? The SSA will also determine whether you are capable of performing any other type of work.

Other Factors the SSA Considers

When considering an applicant’s ability to work your current job—or adjust to a new type of work—the SSA will also consider other factors. These include factors such as the applicant’s age, education, language fluency, vocational experience, and functioning capacity. The SSA weighs these factors when it considers an applicant’s ability to successfully transfer into a new line of work.


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