How Do you Qualify for Disability Benefits?

The Social Security disability program is America’s safety net. It includes the so-called “regular’ disability program (SSDI), the program that calculates benefits based on a work record within the past five years. It also includes Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for people with no appreciable earnings record.

To qualify for either, you must have an impairment that prevents any kind of full-time work, even the very lightest job. Your disability must have lasted or be expected to last for 12 consecutive months. There are extensive regulations about the medical qualifications for disability which we would be glad to discuss with you if you think you might be eligible.

It is also possible to be eligible for both SSI and “regular” Social Security disability payments. The medical disability standard is the same for all Social Security disability programs. SSI eligibility has financial qualification criteria, and entitles a person to immediate state Medicaid coverage in most cases. SSDI gives entitlement to Medicare after a waiting period.