Who Can get Social Security Disability Benefits?

*Info courtesy of SSA.Gov (Social Security Administration)
This site is for a resource site to help individuals receive info and or possible claim representation. We are not the SSA or indorsed by the SSA.

Social Security Disability pays benefits to people who cannot work because they have a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or result in death. Federal law requires this very strict definition of disability. While some programs give money to people with partial disability or short-term disability, Social Security does not.

Certain family members of disabled workers also can receive money from Social Security. This is explained in “Can my family get benefits?

How do I meet the earnings requirement for disability benefits?

In general, to get disability benefits, you must meet two different earnings tests:

  1. A “recent work” test based on your age at the time you became disabled; and
  2. A “duration of work” test to show that you worked long enough under Social Security.

Certain blind workers have to meet only the “duration of work” test.

The table below, shows the rules for how much work you need for the “recent work” test based on your age when your disability began. The rules in this table are based on the calendar quarter in which you turned or will turn a certain age.

The calendar quarters are:

First Quarter: January 1 through March 31
Second Quarter: April 1 through June 30
Third Quarter: July 1 through September 30; and
Fourth Quarter: October 1 through December 31

Rules for work needed for the “recent work test”
If you become disabled… Then you generally need:
In or before the quarter you turn age 24 1.5 years of work during the three-year period ending with the quarter your disability began.
In the quarter after you turn age 24 but before the quarter you turn age 31 Work during half the time for the period beginning with the quarter after you turned 21 and ending with the quarter you became disabled.
Example: If you become disabled in the quarter you turned age 27, then you would need three years of work out of the six-year period ending with the quarter you became disabled.
In the quarter you turn age 31 or later Work during five years out of the 10-year period ending with the quarter your disability began.

The following table shows examples of how much work you need to meet the “duration of work test” if you become disabled at various selected ages. For the “duration of work” test, your work does not have to fall within a certain period of time.

NOTE: This table does not cover all situations.

Examples of work needed for the “duration of work” test
If you become disabled… Then you generally need:
Before age 28 1.5 years of work
Age 30 2 years
Age 34 3 years
Age 38 4 years
Age 42 5 years
Age 44 5.5 years
Age 46 6 years
Age 48 6.5 years
Age 50 7 years
Age 52 7.5 years
Age 54 8 years
Age 56 8.5 years
Age 58 9 years
Age 60 9.5 years

Benefits For Children With Disabilities

*Info courtesy of SSA.Gov (Social Security Administration)
SSI makes monthly payments to people with low income and limited resources who are 65 or older, or blind or disabled. Your child younger than age 18 can qualify if he or she meets Social Security’s definition of disability for children, and if his or her income and resources fall within the eligibility limits. The amount of the SSI payment is different from one state to another because some states add to the SSI payment. Your local Social Security office can tell you more about your state’s total SSI payment.
SSI rules about income and resources

When we decide if your child can get SSI, we consider your child’s income and resources. We also consider the income and resources of family members living in the child’s household. These rules apply if your child lives at home. They also apply if he or she is away at school but returns home from time to time and is subject to your control.

If your child’s income and resources, or the income and resources of family members living in the child’s household, are more than the amount allowed, we will deny the child’s application for SSI payments.

We limit the monthly SSI payment to $30 when a child is in a medical facility where health insurance pays for his or her care.
SSI rules about disability

Your child must meet all of the following requirements to be considered disabled and therefore eligible for SSI:

The child must not be working and earning more than $1,010 a month in 2012. (This earnings amount usually changes every year.) If he or she is working and earning that much money, we will find that your child is not disabled.
The child must have a physical or mental condition, or a combination of conditions, that results in “marked and severe functional limitations.” This means that the condition(s) must very seriously limit your child’s activities.
The child’s condition(s) must have been disabling, or be expected to be disabling, for at least 12 months; or must be expected to result in death.

If your child’s condition(s) results in “marked and severe functional limitations” for at least 12 continuous months, we will find that your child is disabled. But if it does not result in those limitations, or does not result in those limitations for at least 12 months, we will find that your child is not disabled.
Providing information about your child’s condition

When you apply for benefits for your child, we will ask you for detailed information about the child’s medical condition and how it affects his or her ability to function on a daily basis. We also will ask you to give permission for the doctors, teachers, therapists and other professionals who have information about your child’s condition to send the information to us.

If you have any of your child’s medical or school records, please bring them with you. This will help speed up the decision on your application.
What happens next?

We send all of the information you give us to the Disability Determination Services in your state. Doctors and other trained staff in that state agency will review the information, and will request your child’s medical and school records, and any other information needed to decide if your child is disabled.

If the state agency cannot make a disability decision using only the medical information, school records and other facts they have, they may ask you to take your child for a medical examination or test. We will pay for the exam or test.
We may make immediate SSI payments to your child

It can take three to five months for the state agency to decide if your child is disabled. However, for some medical conditions, we make SSI payments right away and for up to six months while the state agency decides if your child is disabled.

Following are some conditions that may qualify:

HIV infection;
Total blindness;
Total deafness;
Cerebral palsy;
Down syndrome;
Muscular dystrophy;
Severe intellectual disorder (child age 7 or older); and
Birth weight below 2 pounds, 10 ounces.

If your child has one of the qualifying conditions, he or she will get SSI payments right away. However, the state agency may finally decide that your child’s disability is not severe enough for SSI. If that happens, you will not have to pay back the SSI payments that your child got.
SSI disability reviews

Once your child starts receiving SSI, the law requires that we review your child’s medical condition from time to time to verify that he or she is still disabled. This review must be done:

At least every three years for children younger than age 18 whose conditions are expected to improve; and
By age 1 for babies who are getting SSI payments because of their low birth weight, unless we determine their medical condition is not expected to improve by their first birthday and we schedule the review for a later date.

We may perform a disability review even if your child’s condition is not expected to improve. When we do a review, you must present evidence that your child is and has been receiving treatment that is considered medically necessary for your child’s medical condition.

What happens when your child turns age 18

For disability purposes in the SSI program, a child becomes an adult at age 18, and we use different medical and nonmedical rules when deciding if an adult can get SSI disability payments. For example, we do not count the income and resources of family members when deciding whether an adult meets the financial limits for SSI. We count only the adult’s income and resources. We also use the disability rules for adults when deciding whether an adult is disabled.

If your child is already receiving SSI payments, we must review the child’s medical condition when he or she turns age 18. We usually do this review during the one-year period that begins on your child’s 18th birthday. We will use the adult disability rules to decide whether your 18-year-old is disabled.
If your child was not eligible for SSI before his or her 18th birthday because you and your spouse had too much income or resources, he or she may become eligible for SSI at age 18.

If you need to have a professional Disability law center take a look at your child Disability Social Security Disability Filing Help