Eligibility for Disability
Social Security uses a five-step process to decide if you are disabled:
- Are you working?If you are working and your gross earnings are more than $1,000 per month, they generally will not find you to be disabled.
- Is your medical condition “severe”? Your medical condition must significantly limit your ability to do basic work activities such was walking, sitting, and remembering, for at least one year. If your medical condition is not severe, then Social Security will not give you disability.
- Does your medical condition meet criteria on Social Security’s List of Impairments? Social Security has a list of medical conditions and specific criteria for each condition. If you have one of these common conditions and you meet the special criteria in this Listing, then Social Security might find you disabled.
- Can you do the work you did before? If you don’t meet the specific criteria for a “Listing” for your medical condition, Social Security looks at how much your condition limits you. They look at whether your condition would prevent you from doing a current or past job. If you would be able to work full time at your current or previous job, then Social Security will not find you to be disabled.
- Can you do any other type of work? Even if you are unable to do past jobs, generally, if there is some other type of job you could do, then Social Security will not find you disabled. You might qualify under something called “Medical Vocational Guidelines.”
Those over age 50 may find it easier to get benefits
If you are age 50 or older, Social Security’s rules make it somewhat easier to qualify for disability. If you’re age 55 or older, the possibility of getting disability increases even more. Read more about how age can affect your disability benefit chances here.