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How is disability determined?

On Behalf of | Dec 2, 2018 | Social Security Disability

If you’re pursuing benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA), you probably have questions about how your claim is determined. There are a number of factors that go into the SSA’s decision-making process and having a greater understanding of these factors will only improve your chances of success. In this case, SSA offers the following information to ensure applicants are fully aware of the process.

Work criteria

Work credits are earned every year that work. In order to qualify for benefits, you must show that you’ve earned enough work credits before your disability is evaluated. While four is the total number of credits you’re able to earn in a given year, how much you need to earn a credit will change on a yearly basis. In 2018, one credit is worth $1,320 in wages, which means four credits is worth $5,280 in wages. In order to qualify, most workers need a total of 40 credits. Additionally, half of these credits must have been earned in the preceding ten years.  

Disability criteria

Your disability will also be evaluated. Three factors must be met for a worker to be considered disabled. They are an inability to do the same job as you did previously, an inability to perform new work because of your condition, and a condition that is projected to last a year or longer. While the SSA does keep a list of conditions they consider disabling, conditions falling outside this list will also be considered.

Other types of benefits

There are other situations that can garner other types of benefits. Disabled people who are widowed may be eligible for benefits if their spouse met the proper criteria. For widow or widower to be eligible, they must meet the definition of disability, be between the ages of 50 and 60, and their medical condition must have been present within a 7 year period before their spouse’s death took place.