You may have heard from other people about how long it can take for Social Security to decide if you qualify for Social Security disability benefits. One way to avoid delays and a denial of benefits is by making sure that you meet both the medical and non-medical Social Security disability requirements to qualify.
The disability advocates at London Disability know from our experience helping people with applications and appeals that people focus on the medical requirements and either ignore or get confused by the nonmedical requirements. Of course, allowing one of our SSD advocates to handle the process for you ensures that your application meets eligibility guidelines. Here to give you a better understanding of exactly what we mean is an overview of the nonmedical requirements for the Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income programs administered by the Social Security Administration.
Nonmedical Social Security Disability Insurance requirements
The SSDI program provides monthly payments to individuals whose work history meets the eligibility requirements. The program is funded by Social Security taxes people pay on the income they earn through jobs or self-employment. You may have a medical condition causing a physical or mental impairment resulting in a disability that prevents you from working, but the lack of a sufficient work record would prevent you from qualifying for benefits.
Social Security reviews your work record to determine if you worked long enough to qualify. It does this by looking at the work credits you earned through employment at a job or through self-employment.
A work credit is earned based on the amount of income earned each year that you worked. You may acquire up to four credits annually. Social Security makes annual adjustments to the amount of income required to earn a work credit. For 2021, a work credit is earned for each $1,470 you have in income that is subject to the payment of Social Security taxes. For instance, income earned while working off the books does not count toward work credits unless you paid Social Security taxes on the money.
The number of work credits you need to qualify for SSDI depends on how old you are when you become disabled. The following are some examples of the number of work credits needed to qualify based on age at the onset of disability:
1). Six work credits if you become disabled before 24 years of age.
2). Eight to 18 credits if the onset of the disability is between 24 and 30 years of age.
3). Twenty work credits if the onset of the disability is between 31 and 42 years of age.
A portion of the work credits must be earned within a specific time of the onset of disability. For example, you need six work credits to qualify for benefits before you are 24 years of age, but you must have earned them within three years of the onset of disability. This can be an issue should you stop working because of a disability and wait several years before applying for benefits. You may have enough credits, but you may not have earned some of them recently enough to be eligible for benefits.
You can avoid problems pertaining to work credits by asking an SSDI advocate at London Disability to review your work record. The disability advocate helps you determine whether you meet the nonmedical Social Security disability requirements and provides options in the event you do not.
Nonmedical requirements for SSI
SSI is a need-based program that provides monthly payments to blind or disabled adults and children. You do not need a work record to qualify for SSI, but you must meet nonmedical requirements as well as meet limits on the financial resources available to you.
The income limit for 2021 is the $794 federal benefit rate for one person and $1,191 for a couple. Determining whether your income exceeds the limits for SSI can be tricky, so it helps to get advice from an SSI advocate.
Social Security allows you to exclude the first $20 of monthly earned or unearned income. It also lets you exclude the first $65 of earned income and one-half of any earned income that remains.
Resource limits for SSI are only $2,000 for one person and $3,000 for a couple. The value of the money you have in the bank or on hand, real estate, and other assets all count toward the resource limits. However, there are resource exclusions, such as the value of a home that you occupy as your principal residence.
Get sound advice from a disability advocate
Your best source for information about the nonmedical requirements for Social Security disability is a disability advocate at London Disability. Contact us today for a free review of your claim for benefits and experienced handling of your application or appeal.