For disabled workers, Social Security disability (SSD) benefits represent a financial lifeline that will help them and their families. One question that often surfaces, though, is: “Who can apply for SSD benefits?” A more accurate way to phrase the question is: “Who is eligible to apply?”
The Social Security Administration (SSA) oversees this federal insurance program and has strict guidelines that apply to SSD benefits. Only about one-third of the people who apply will receive these benefits, so you want to make sure that your situation and circumstances fit the agency’s criteria.
Unable to work, have a qualifying ailment
The main criteria determining a person’s eligibility for SSD benefits include that you:
- Have the inability to work due to a physical or mental medical condition that lasts at least a year or results in death.
- Are “insured” – meaning that you have worked long enough and paid Social Security-related taxes on your income. (You also needed to have worked enough years to qualify.)
- Must have a qualifying ailment as described by the SSA. These may include musculoskeletal disorders such as back pain and tendinitis; circulatory diseases related to high blood pressure, stroke and cardiovascular disease; and mental disorders such as depression, psychotic disorders and intellectual disorders.
- Have not yet reached full retirement age. If you reach full retirement age while on SSD, those benefits automatically change to retired worker benefits.
You have experienced a challenge that disrupts many parts of your life. As long as you are eligible for disability benefits, seek them.
Understand the eligibility guidelines
You have worked a long time and now are unable to do so. It is time to seek these much-needed benefits. The first step is understanding the guidelines that make you eligible, then apply.