Qualifying for Social Security Benefits
For Social Security Disability (SSD or SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income(SSI), disabled is defined as:
The inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.
5 Step Process To Determine Disability:
- Step One: Social Security will determine if you are working.
In 2010, if your earnings average more than $980 a month, Social Security will consider you working at Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level and generally find you not disabled. The rules are more complex for self-employed individuals
- Step Two: Is your condition “severe.”
Social Security will consider your impairment(s) severe if your impairment interferes with basic work related activity. If not “severe,” they will find that you are not disabled.
- Step Three: Social Security will decide if your condition is a “listed” impairment.
If your condition is on Social Security’s list and severe enough to meet the requirements of a listed impairment, you will be found disabled. If your impairment is not on the list, Social Security will determine if your condition is equal to the severity of one of the listed impairments.
- Step Four: Social Security will decide if you can do your previous work.
If Social Security decides that your condition is severe but you don’t meet step 3, they will determine if your impairments keep you from being able to perform your past work. If Social Security decides you can perform your past work, they will find you not disabled. For example, if your previous job required you to lift 50 pounds and your medical condition limits you to lifting only 10 pounds, you would not be able to perform that particular prior work. If Social Security determines you can not perform all of your prior work for the past 15 years, then you go to the next step. If you can perform any of your past work, then they will find you not disabled.
- Step Five: Social Security will determine if you can do any other work.
If Social Security determines that there is a significant number of jobs in the local or national economy that you can do, then you will be found not disabled. At this step, Social Security will consider your age, education, past work experience and any transferable skills to other jobs you might have.
If you quality, the following people may receive disability benefits as well:
- Spouse if he or she is at least 62 years of age
- Divorced ex-spouse
- Unmarried children under the age 18
- Disabled children of the age 18 or older
- Disabled widow