The Law Center

What are Social Security Disability Benefits?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD or SSDI) is a payroll tax-funded federal insurance program of the United States government. It is managed by the Social Security Administration and designed to provide income to people who are unable to work full time.

According to the Social Security Administration, in order to qualify for Social Security Disability, you must

  • have a physical or mental condition that prevents you from engaging in any “substantial gainful activity”; and
  • the condition is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death; and
  • you must be under the age of 65; and
  • generally, have worked 5 years (measured in quarters) in the last 10 years prior to the onset of disability.

The work requirement is waived for applicants who can prove that they became disabled at or before the age of 22, as they may be allowed to collect on their parent’s qualifications.

If you don’t meet the “past work” requirements, if you become disabled, you can still qualify for Social Security Income, or SSI.  SSI recipients need to be below an administratively mandated income threshold (no more than $2,000 in assets and earning no more than $12,000 per year), and you must stay below that threshold to continue receiving SSI, unlike with SSD. 

In order to prove that you are disabled you need to have medical evidence in support of your symptoms and allegations of disability.  Medical evidence is signs, symptoms and laboratory findings which document the disabling medical condition. Symptoms, such as pain, are considered but must be reasonably expected to come from a medically determinable impairment.

If you have contracted a disability that’s preventing you from continuing to work, you could be entitled to social security.  Click the “Request Consultation” button and complete the form for a free case evaluation.