Who Is Eligible For Disability Benefits


For an employee in the US to receive Social Security disability benefits, he/she must fulfill certain basic eligibility criteria and in addition to this certain other criteria. He/she must be suffering for at least one year from an SSA (Social Security Administration) listed medical condition.

The condition must be such as to preclude the possibility of the individual concerned from working. Further, the disability that the medical condition brings on needs to be total. If it is partial and/or of short term duration (less than one year), the SSA cannot grant disability benefits to that individual.

Besides these criteria there are two earnings related criteria that an applicant for Social Security disability benefits needs to meet. The first of them involves the applicant to meet what is known as a recent work test. The eligibility norms under this criterion are based on the age at which an applicant becomes disabled.

The second of these two criteria involves a work duration test. This test has been devised by the SSA to decide whether an applicant for the disability benefits has worked for the minimum period of time required by it.

Suppose an applicant becomes disabled in or before the quarter of a calendar year before he/she turned 24 years of age. In that case the applicant needs to have completed at least 1.5 years in active employment out of the total 3 years that get completed with the quarter in which the disability begins.

In case the disability begins in a quarter of a calendar year in which the applicant is more than 24 years old but less than 31 years old, the applicant needs to have completed at least half of a certain period in active employment. The certain period is counted beginning from the quarter of the calendar year in which the applicant turns 21 years old. It ends in the quarter of the calendar year during which the disability begins.

If the applicant however becomes disabled in the quarter of a calendar year in which he/she is already 31 years old or more than this age, the work duration criteria is as follows. In this case, the applicant needs to have completed at least 5 years in active employment out of the ten year period that ends with the quarter of the year in which his/her disability began.

The SSA also requires a working applicant to meet the earnings-related criterion if he/she is to be considered for receiving Social Security disability benefits. The SSA is prepared to consider such an applicant for grant of the benefits, if his/her gross monthly earnings are not more than $940.00 for the year 2008. The amount changes from year to year and is based on the effect of inflation on living conditions. The premise under which the SSA offers such grant to working persons is that while the concerned individual may be earning that is not sufficient to support himself/herself.