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How can you qualify for Social Security disability benefits?

When New York workers have medical conditions that meet the definition of disability set by Social Security, they may be eligible for benefits. According to the Social Security Administration office, you must first have worked at a job that is covered by Social Security. You meet the definition of disabled if you are unable to do work that you previously did, the SS office decides that your medical condition prevents you from adjusting to another job or your disability is expected to result in death or last longer than a year.

The office uses five questions to determine if a person is disabled and the definition is extremely strict.

  • Are you currently working? Anyone making more than $1,120 a month is not considered disabled.
  • Is your condition severe? The medical condition must limit your ability to do basic tasks such as walking, sitting, lifting, standing or remembering for at least a year.
  • Is your condition on the Social Security list of disabling conditions? The agency has created a long list of medical conditions for each of the body’s major systems.
  • Can you do your previous work? The office determines if your current impairment stops you from being able to do any past work you’ve done.
  • Can you do another type of work? If your impairment stops you from adjusting your career and job to another, you may be eligible for benefits.

The office carefully weighs medical conditions, education, age, transferrable skills and past work experience when considering your application. Benefits are also offered for those who have low vision or are blind, those who have a disabled child, veterans and Wounded Warriors and widowers or the widows of a worker.

The process of applying for Social Security can be long and frustrating. Because there are so many legal requirements and being approved is sometimes hard, it may be beneficial to consult an attorney before applying.

This information is intended for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.