Learn How to Qualify for Disability Benefits

Social Security Disability Insurance helps disabled people with eligible work history, either through their occupation or a family member. 


If you are unable to work and disabled, it does not mean that you automatically qualify for disability benefits. Your entitlement for getting Social Security disability benefits depends upon both your work history and medical condition. Eligible disabled workers get monthly income until they get back to work again. Several work incentives help disabled people to make the transition back to work. For people eligible for disability, these benefits convert into retirement benefits with the same amount when they reach the retirement age.

Work History Eligibility Requirements

To become eligible for social security disability income, you need to work for a specific number of years with the required work credits you have earned. Work credit is based on your yearly income and your age when you become disabled. You can earn a maximum of four work credits every year. The amount calculated on work credit changes yearly. You can earn one credit for $1,470. 

  • Forty credits are essential to qualify. You must earn 20 credits in the recent ten years.
  • For people younger than 31 years old, eligibility for disability benefits requires fewer work credits.

 Disability Eligibility Requirements

Definition of Disability according to Social Security 


The legal definition of “disability” states that a person can be considered disabled if they cannot perform any substantial gainful activity due to a medical or physical impairment or impairments.

To qualify for social security disability benefits, you need to meet certain strict conditions. These conditions are different from other programs. Partial disability or short-term disability are included in this program. You are considered disabled if you meet these conditions:

  • Your medical condition does not allow you to continue the work you did before.
  • Due to severe illness, you cannot manage to work an alternative job.
  • Medical impairment has lasted or is anticipated to last for at least one year or may result in death.


How will you be declared as Disabled?

  1. If the average income is more than $1,310 a month in 2021, then that person is not considered disabled.
  2. Suppose if a person does not work, the application is sent to the Disability Determination Services (DDS) office that finalizes the decision of disability.
  3. The worker’s condition is considered severe if he is unable to lift, stand, walk, sit, or remember for at least 12 months. 
  1. The medical condition should be present in the list of disabling conditions. If the medical condition matches any of the described conditions, the worker will be declared disabled. But if it does not match, it is further investigated whether the person can perform the work he previously did.
  2. If the worker can perform his previous work, he would not qualify as disabled.
  3. . If the worker cannot perform, it is investigated whether he can perform any other task based on his medical conditions, age, education, past work experience.
  4. . If the worker can perform any other work, he will not qualify as disabled. 
  5. If the medical condition is not allowing that worker to perform any other work, he will be eligible for disability benefits.

Special Conditions of Disability

Some people do not need any investigation and automatically qualify for disability benefits. These are as follows

  1. Blind people and having low Vision
  2. Workers widow or widower
  3. Disabled Child
  4. Wounded Warriors & Veterans