When disability strikes, it can be difficult to think of anything besides making it through the day. Those who are unable to work and unable to pay bills were once left to fend for themselves, but now they can get benefits in the form of monthly payments from the Social Security program.
Who Is Eligible for Social Security Disability?
Not all disabled people who are unable to work will be eligible for benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) was created to provide benefits to people who are most in need, and has strict qualifications on who can receive benefits.
You may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) if you:
- Are considered disabled. Your medical condition must be considered disabling under Social Security's definition. The SSA considers people disabled if they cannot do the work that they did before they were injured, they cannot adjust to other kinds of work because of their conditions, and their disabilities are expected to last for at least one year or until the person’s death.
- Make minimal earnings. People can receive Social Security disability while they are working, but their earnings must be below a certain amount (called substantial gainful activity). While the maximum amount of earnings changes each year, the monthly substantial gainful activity amount for 2017 is $1170.
- Meet work requirements. Social Security disability is a form of insurance, and you must have paid into the fund by paying taxes during your past employment. To get disability benefits, you must have worked recently in a job covered by Social Security, and you must have worked for long enough under Social Security to collect coverage from the fund.