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2 min read

Do I Qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance?

How do I know if I qualify for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI)? Are you working now, or have you worked full-time in the last 5 years? You may be eligible if you are working less than 20 hours a week due to your disability. If you are not able to work full time and earn more than approximately $1,200 a month this is below the standard for a substantial gainful activity or SGA. You may continue to work while applying for and collecting disability as long as you do not exceed SGA. The standard for substantial gainful activity changes yearly, so be sure to keep up with the monthly income limitations. You may also qualify if your employer is providing you with special accommodations or help.

You may not be eligible if:

You have not earned enough work credits through Social Security to have disability coverage

    • In 2017, earning $1,300 for every quarter, or three months of the year, earns you one work credit

      • For example: if you worked full-time for two weeks in January, two weeks in February and two weeks in March, earning minimum wage at $7.25 per hour, you would earn a total of $1740 for that quarter and one work credit

    • You can earn your work credits by only working part of the year

      • For example: if you worked the same schedule as above, but you earned $25 per hour, you would have earned a total of $6,000 for that quarter and 4 work credits

    • Depending on your age, you will need a certain number of work credits in the years preceding your disability application

      • See the Social Security website to determine how many work credits you need prior to filing

      • Younger people who have not been in the workforce very long require fewer credits

  • You worked under the table or off the or off the books

  • Your employer did not withhold taxes from your paycheck and you did not file your income tax

  • You paid into an alternative system like a state retirement and pension plan for state employees are things they do not consider

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Things they do not consider

  • Whether your full-time job wages are enough to live on

  • Whether there are jobs available near where you live

Do you have a serious medical condition that prevents you from working full-time?

  • Medical conditions may be physical or mental

  • They must be expected to last for one year or more

  • Medical conditions must cause limitations to your ability to work

    • A serious medical diagnosis such as, multiple sclerosis, does not always mean an immediate inability to work

    • Your ability to sit, stand, walk, lift, carry, push, pull, etc. will be considered for exertional limitations

      • Exertional limitations come from physical conditions 

    • Your ability to understand simple and complex directions, pay attention and focus, make simple decisions independently, get along with coworkers and supervisors, etc., will be considered for non-exertional limitation

      • Non-exertional limitations come from mental conditions

    • Medical evidence is necessary to establish your conditions and their severity

You can be found disabled based on a combination of mental and physical conditions, or either independently, therefore, it is important to tell the court about all of your medical issues 

If you have a disability legal issue that you need assistance with, please call the attorneys at the Rocky Mountain Disability Law Group.  Their toll-free number is (866) 476-4558.