Compassionate Guidance For
Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability

The 3 main requirements for a successful SSDI benefits claim

Social Security -- Disability

Working adults in Arizona generally aspire to continue working for as long as they can. However, those with certain major medical challenges may eventually become unable to work entirely. If someone is not yet old enough to retire, Social Security benefits may help.

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits program offers crucial protections for those who cannot work due to medical challenges. The qualification process is notoriously difficult. Many people question whether they could be eligible for SSDI benefits. In most cases, workers need to meet all three of the standards outlined below to be eligible.

An adequate work history

One of the more important considerations when evaluating an SSDI benefits claim is the duration of someone’s employment and the contributions they have made to social security. If someone is over the age of 31, the Social Security Administration (SSA) typically requires that they have accrued at least 40 credits to be eligible for full benefits. Workers can accrue up to four credits per year depending on their income, which means that workers generally need to have a 10-year employment history to qualify for SSDI benefits. There is a sliding scale for work credits if someone develops a disabling medical condition before they reach the age of 31.

A fully-debilitating condition

With rare exceptions for certain blue-collar workers, SSDI is only available to those who cannot work at all. If someone currently earning a six-figure salary could do minimum wage work at a retail shop or restaurant, then the expectation is that they should pursue any employment available to them rather than a job that pays them well. Workers need medical documentation that proves that their condition is severe enough that they are unable to work any job.

Medical challenges that last a year or longer

There are several debilitating medical issues that would not result in long-term disability. Someone who experiences a cardiac event or who breaks a bone might be completely unable to work for several weeks but could recover and be back on the job in a few months. Typically, the SSA only awards benefits to those who have a condition that should last at least another 12 months or that may prove terminal. Those facing a poor prognosis after a cancer diagnosis, for example, qualify for SSDI benefits even if they are unlikely to survive a full year.

Evaluating personal circumstances carefully and gathering proper documentation can increase the chances of a successful SSDI application. Applicants who understand the rules may have a better chance of prevailing than those unfamiliar with the SSA’s practices.