How do you qualify for Social Security Disability?
To qualify for Social Security Disability, there are two basic issues that need to be satisfied. First, did you work in a job covered by Social Security Disability? Second, do you have a medical condition covered by Social Security Disability?
Did you work in a Job covered by Social Security Disability?
In order to qualify for Social Security Disability, you must have worked in a job covered by Social Security. Social Security Disability is intended to be much like an insurance policy where you are entitled to benefits if you paid your insurance premiums. To qualify, you must have worked a certain amount of time within recent periods to qualify. Unlike workers compensation benefits, you do NOT need to have been injured on the job to qualify for Social Security Disability.
With Social Security Disability Insurance, you need to have accumulated “work credits.” Work credits can be acquired by working for an employer covered by Social Security, or by being self-employed and paying the mandatory self-employment tax, which includes Social Security premiums.
The amount of work credits that you have earned is based on your yearly wages or self-employment income. You need a certain number of credits to qualify for Social Security Disability. The specific number of credits needed depends on your age when you are disabled. Generally, you need 40 credits to qualify, 20 of those credits need to have been earned within the last 10 years before you became disabled. Workers under the age of 24 generally may need as few as 6 credits earned within the previous three year period. Different classifications apply to those age 24 to 31, and 31 and older. To determine if you have enough credits to qualify for Social Security Disability, please contact one of our Sacramento Social Security Attorneys.
Do you have a medical condition covered by Social Security Disability?
In addition to having enough work credits to qualify, you have to have a medical condition covered by Social Security Disability. Social Security Disability does not apply to short-term disabilities. You normally have to have a medical condition that has or will prevent you from working for at least one year, or will result in death.
In addition to requiring a disability to be a long-term disability, it must be a disability that prevents you from doing the type of work that you were previously doing, and prevents you from doing other types of work (because of your medical condition). This is sometime referred to as “total disability,” compared to “partial disability,” which does not generally qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.
Besides the general provisions above, there are special provisions that may apply if you are blind or have low vision, if you are the workers’ widow or widower, a wounded warrior from military service, or have a disabled child under the age of 18.
If you are suffering from a long-term disability that prevents you from working, please feel free to contact one of our Sacramento Social Security Disability Attorneys for a free consultation to see if you qualify for Social Security Disability.