Do You Qualify for Disability Benefits?

Updated April 17, 2017

If you are disabled and unable to work due to a verifiable medical condition, you may qualify for disability benefits to help you meet your financial obligations. While the basic parameters for qualifying for disability benefits are straightforward, qualified people may be denied benefits due to a technicality or some other bureaucratic reason and have to appeal. For this reason, it is important to know what qualifications need to be met in order to receive disability benefits.

Work History

One of the primary qualification requirements to receive disability is a qualifying work history in a job covered by Social Security benefits. Government guidelines determining whether your work history is substantial enough to qualify you for disability benefits. A disabled worker applying for disability benefits may have earned up to four disability credits per year, with these credits based upon the amount of money the worker earned. The amount you must have earned in order to receive a credit varies by year; in 2009 it was £708 per credit. In order to qualify for disability, you must have earned 40 credits, with at least half of them having been earned in the past 20 years. This requirement varies slightly with age. Younger workers are able to qualify for disability with fewer credits.

Disability Defined

You must meet the government's definition of disabled, which may vary from other definitions of disabled. You must be physically or mentally unable to continue doing your job and the government must determine that you will not be able to adjust to a different job. You must show that your disability is expected to last at least a year or that it may lead to your death.

Determining Disability

There are two questions the government asks when determining if you qualify for disability benefits. Are you working? If so, you generally do not qualify for disability benefits unless you make under a predetermined monthly amount of money. Does your condition directly affect and interfere with your ability to perform the basic functions of your job?

Applying for Disability

If you believe you meet the disability qualifications, you need to apply for benefits. You cannot receive benefits if you do not apply or have someone apply on your behalf if you are unable to do so. Even if you are initially denied, you may be able to appeal the denial decision and, if successful on appeal, receive benefits.

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About the Author

Adam Tavangaran, a marketing student at Southern Illinois University, has extensive experience researching topics including market research and financial data. He has written numerous search engine optimization articles for travel sites. Tavangaran began freelance writing in 2007.