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Social Security Disability Requirements

The Social Security Disability program is meant to help people who are unable to work as a result of long term and debilitating conditions, injuries or illnesses. It provides monetary assistance so that the disabled are able to cover necessities, such as food, rent and other bills. Although all Americans are potentially eligible for this program, they must first apply and meet certain requirements before they are actually approved. This can be a difficult process and only a small percentage of applicants are actually successful. Prior to attempting the application process, a person should first understand what these Social Security Disability requirements are.

Social Security Disability is a type of federal long term disability program. It was initially started in 1950 with an Amendment to Social Security that created a federal program for disabled persons. Six years later, the Social Security Amendments in 1956 produced the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. At this time, the age of eligibility was between 50 and 64 years old. The Social Security Amendments of 1960 lifted this age restriction, making Social Security Disability available for younger workers with disabilities. Today, Social Security Disability requirements do not place a minimum age on who may apply for the program.

One of the most important of the Social Security Disability requirements is that the applicant meets a specific definition of disability. The Social Security Administration (SSA) states that federal law defines disabled as anyone who cannot work because of an illness or other medical condition that will cause death or last for a minimum of one year. Once an application is filled out, specialists for the disability agency in the state in which the application was completed will contact the applicant's physician for health information. They will investigate what the medical condition is, how it hinders one's ability to perform certain activities including those that are work-related, methods of treatment, and when it was first diagnosed. Based on the results of that investigation they will determine if the applicant meets the definition of being disabled.

Other social security disability requirements involve earnings. People who are applying for SS disability insurance will need to pass both a “recent work” and a “duration of work” test. The recent work test is designed to allow Social Security to determine how many calendar quarters a person has worked before his disability. The duration of work test is meant to see if the disabled person worked enough years prior to become disabled in order to qualify.

Social Security also requires that the medical reason behind a person's disability must be one that is included in the Social Security Disability List of Impairments. This is a list of conditions that they consider to be disabling. There are two parts to the Social Security Disability List of Impairments, Part A and Part B. Part A is a list of impairments primarily for adults. List B is a list of impairments primarily for children that are under the age of 18. If a condition is not included in the Social Security Disability List of Impairments, it may still be considered a disabling condition. If this is the case, the condition may still be eligible for consideration and will not necessarily make the applicant ineligible for SS disability.

Many persons who are blind or legally blind can qualify for SS Disability Insurance. As with other disabilities, blindness must meet certain requirements. The condition must have persisted for a year, or be expected to last at least a year. A person must also meet the definition of blindness as it is defined by the SSA. Blindness is defined as 20/200 vision in the dominant eye or a field of vision at or below 20 degrees.

Another form of social security disability is called Social Security Income or SSI disability. This type of disability payment is for people who are disabled and have low income. To be eligible for SSI disability, a person must not exceed a certain amount of income, including a part of his or her spouse's income. The income limits vary from state to state. In determining if a person meets income requirements, there are certain things that Social Security does not count certain. This includes food stamps, the first $65 of a month's and the first half of the money earned over that amount, or pay that is used to cover the expense of items that help disabled persons when working. A person applying SSI disability must also meet residency and citizenship requirements. He must be a citizen of the United States and live in the U.S. or in the Northern Mariana Islands.

For many Americans with long term or permanent disabilities, SSDI is invaluable; because they are no longer able to perform work, they would also be unable to care for themselves in terms of basic necessities, such as buying food and paying for their rent or mortgage. Not everyone who applies for the program is eligible, however. Prior to applying for benefits from the Social Security Administration for disability benefits, a person should acquaint themselves to ensure that they meet the basic qualifications.


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