According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 37 million Americans—or 12% of the population—are classified disabled. When disabled American taxpayers find themselves unable to earn an income, they turn to the Social Security Administration (SSA) for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. Unfortunately, SSA denies 60% of initial claims—and 85% of appeals.

Who Qualifies for SSDI?

To qualify for SSDI, an applicant must have worked long enough to accrue sufficient work credits. An applicant must also:

  • Earn less than $1,220 a month. If you are not working, your application will go to the Disability Determination Services office for a decision.
  • Have a qualifying condition. SSA maintains a list of conditions. If yours is not list, the SSA will decide if it is equal to another listed condition.
  • Have a condition severe enough to interfere with the type of work you did previously and will prevent you from adjusting to other types of work.

Under certain conditions, a beneficiary’s family members may also qualify. These include:

  • Spouses: Spouses 62 or older may qualify—as may spouses of any age if they care for the child of a beneficiary. The child of the beneficiary must be 16 or younger or disabled.
  • Divorced Spouses: Under certain circumstances, A divorced spouse 62 or older may qualify for benefits if they were married to the beneficiary for at least 10 years and are not remarried.
  • Children: Natural and adopted children, stepchildren, and grandchildren under 18 may qualify. An unmarried child 18 or older with a disability that started before 22 may also qualify.

What Medical Conditions Qualify?

The SSA maintains a list of qualifying conditions known as the Blue Book. This manual—which is updated every year—covers numerous cardiovascular conditions, respiratory illnesses, mental disorders, neurological disorders, and other diseases and conditions.


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