social-security-disability-benefits

Disability facts:

Studies show that a 20-year-old worker has a 1-in-4 chance of becoming disabled before reaching full retirement age (FRA).

How Social Security will decide if you are disabled:

1. Are you working?

If you are working in 2014 and your earnings average more than $1,070 a month, you generally cannot be considered disabled.

2. Is your condition ″severe″?

Your condition must interfere with basic work-related activities for your claim to be considered. If it does not, the Social Security Administration will find that you are not disabled.

3. Is your condition found on the list of disabling conditions?

For each of the major body systems, there is a list of conditions that are so severe that they automatically mean that you are disabled. If your condition is not on the list, a decision will have to be made on whether or not your condition is equally severe to a medical condition that is on the list. If it is, you will be considered disabled. If it is not, then go to step 4.

4. Can you do the work you did previously?

If your condition is severe but not at the same level of severity as a medical condition on the list, it must be determined that your condition interferes with your ability to do the work you did previously. If it does not, your claim will be denied. If it does, go to step 5.

5. Can you do any other type of work?

If you cannot do the work you did in the past, the Social Security Administration will see if you are able to adjust to other work.

Medical conditions and your age, education, past work experience, and any transferable skills you may have will be considered. If you cannot adjust to other work, your claim will be approved. If you can adjust to other work, your claim will be denied.

6. When do I get Medicare?

You will get Medicare coverage automatically after you have received disability benefits for two years.

7. How do I meet the earnings requirement for disability benefits?

In general, to get disability benefits, you must meet two different earnings tests:

  • A ″recent work″ test based on your age at the time you became disabled.
  • A ″duration of work″ test to show that you worked long enough under Social Security.
 

Certain blind workers have to meet only the “duration of work” test.

Rules for work needed for the ″recent work test″

If you become disabled… Then you generally need:
In or before the quarter you turn age 24 1.5 years of work during the three-year period ending with the quarter your disability began.
In the quarter after you turn age 24 but before the quarter you turn age 31
Work during half the time for the period beginning with the quarter after you turned 21 and ending with the quarter you became disabled. Example: If you become disabled in the quarter you turned age 27, then you would need three years of work out of the six-year period ending with the quarter you became disabled.
In the quarter you turn age 31 or later Work during five years out of the 10-year period ending with the quarter your disability began.