According to statistics, a quarter of the U.S. population will be disabled before the age of 67. While most of the younger generation focuses current issues, very few take the time to consider the possibility of suffering a disability and what it would mean for their family and financial situation. In the event you become disabled, you need to know and understand what qualifies for disability benefits according to the government.
First and foremost, you must have held a recent job covered by Social Security and earned enough work credits within a specific time period ending when the disability occurred. The credit to dollar ratio changes from year to year, but the most recent example awards one credit for every $1,200 earned. Therefore, if you earned $3,600, you would have three credits.
The number of credits needed is based on how old you were when you became disabled. The standard rule states that you need 40 credits, with half of those earned in the ten years prior to the disability. If you’re between the ages 24 to 31, there are exceptions to the number of credits needed due to lack of time in the work force. It is very important to keep in mind that if you stop working after a disability, but qualify and fail to promptly report it, you risk not meeting disability requirements in the future.
To be eligible for social security disability, the expectation is that you cannot work as you did previously, you cannot adjust to new work, and your disability has lasted for at least a year (or is expected to) or will result in death. Short-term disabilities are not eligible because they are temporary, and it is assumed you’ve made preparations for such an occurrence.
Within these guidelines, the government has other specifications to further determine if the disability is legitimate. For example, if you make more than $1,070 a month through work, you cannot be considered for disability benefits. There is a list of conditions that automatically qualify for disability status, but if your condition is not listed, the government must determine if it’s of equal severity. If your condition is severe enough to interfere with basic work-related duties, it is a disability. However, there will also be a search to determine if you can work in a different field, and if it’s found you can then you are not eligible for social security disability benefits.