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Disability Income Benefits

Who Qualifies For Disability Benefits?

Social Security disability benefits are not paid for partial or short-term disabilities.  You may qualify for benefits if you are under 65 and:

  • You are unable to do your work or any other work due to your medical condition;
  • The disability is expected to last at least a year or result in your death; and
  • You have sufficient work credits for your age.

If you have access to workers’ compensation, insurance, savings and investments you may not qualify for disability benefits.  When you turn 65, disability benefits convert to retirement benefits. 

What Are Work Credits?

To receive benefits you must have earned sufficient work credits over a predetermined number of years.  You earn a maximum of four work credits a year.  If you become disabled when you are 24, you must have earned six credits over the past three years.  If you are 50, you will need to have earned 20 credits over the past 10 years. 

Can Other Family Members Qualify For Benefits On My Record?

Members of your family may be entitled to benefits.  Factors that determine a family member’s eligibility include: if they are a minor; if a spouse is caring for a child under 16; and if they are disabled.   

How Does The Social Security Administration Determine If I Am Disabled?

Once it is determined that you have enough work credits, your case is reviewed.  Officials will examine your medical reports and may request an additional examination.  If it is determined that you cannot work because of your condition, you will be approved for benefits.

How Long Will My Benefits Continue?

Your case will be periodically reviewed to see if you are still disabled.  As long as you are disabled your benefits will continue unless your income increases to over $800 per month.

Do I Need A Lawyer?

An attorney is not required, but an attorney or a claimant’s representative experienced with Social Security benefits and regulations can help you submit your claim.  If you are having a problem obtaining your benefits, a professional service provider can help prepare and file an appeal.  A lawyer or a non-attorney representative can also determine if a family member is eligible for benefits because of your disability.

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