According to an informational pamphlet from the Social Security Administration, studies indicate that 3 in 10 people will become disabled before reaching full retirement age. In order to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, one must have a medical condition, either physical or mental, that is expected to last at least a year or result in death and renders him or her unable to work.
For the purpose of disability benefits eligibility, the Social Security Administration considers “work” to be “substantial gainful activity.” One whose income from working falls below a certain amount that is set by the SSA each year would not be considered to be engaging in substantial gainful activity and may still qualify for the benefits. Currently, the amount that is considered to be substantial gainful activity in 2014 for non-blind individuals is $1,070 per month. For blind individuals, that amount is $1,800.
Additionally, because social security is essentially an insurance program for people who are working and paying for the benefits via their taxes, the person must have a work history that qualifies him or her based on two “tests.”
The Recent Work Test is based on the age you became disabled and how long you worked in the years immediately preceding that time. The time you’re required to work in order to qualify for SSDI benefits according to the Recent Work Test is determined on calendar quarters. For example, if you became disabled in or before the quarter you turned 24, you would need 1.5 years of work experience in the previous three years ending in the quarter your disability began, the pamphlet explained.
The Duration of Work Test considers how long the individual worked — whether recent or not — and whether it was long enough to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. If one became disabled before age 28, for example, he or she would qualify for benefits under the Duration of Work Test with 1.5 years of work, whether recent or not.
Most applications for Social Security Disability benefits are denied on the first try because applicants are unable to prove that they are totally disabled and unable to be gainfully employed. If you feel that you meet the disability and work history requirements for benefits and need help applying, the law firm of DDB Law would be happy to assist you in that application process. In addition, if you have applied and have been denied Social Security Disability benefits, we may be able to assist you in the appeals process. For more information, contact our SSDI attorneys for a review of your case.