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How do I apply for Social Security Disability benefits?

If you are unable to work because of a medical condition, you can get support until your recovery.

Social Security Disability Insurance paperwork

However, there are specific qualifications.


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There are requirements

Social Security’s definition of disability is different than other programs. Social Security only pays for total disability. This excludes partial disability and short-term disability. Read more about it here.

It must be proven that the person looking to claim the benefits cannot work or participate in substantial gainful employment (SGA) because of a medical condition or illness.

The duration that your condition or illness has lasted or is expected to last will also be taken into account.

In order to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, the claimant must’ve been employed and must show that their medical condition meets Social Security’s definition of disability.

If the requirements are met, for a year or more, they get a monthly benefit until they are able to return to work.

If the person is working and their average monthly earnings are above $1,350 (or $2,260 if blind), they usually won’t be considered as having a qualifying disability.


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Extreme cases

If you have SGA and apply for SSDI benefits, your application will be sent to the Disability Determination Service (DDS). It will be evaluated to see if your condition or illness is within range considered for support.

Your condition must “significantly limit your ability to perform basic work-related activities.” These include things like lifting, standing, walking, sitting, or remembering, for at least one year. Otherwise it will not be a qualifying disability.

In some cases, compassionate determinations are made. These are given to people with confirmed diagnosis like acute leukemia, ALS, and pancreatic cancer, among others.

For more information, contact 1-800-772-1213.

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