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Non-Medical Requirements for Disability Benefits

Published on February 23rd, 2021

Applying for disability can be a long and complicated process. The Social Security Administration (SSA) outlines the medical requirements for qualifying conditions in its Blue Book. But there are also several non-medical requirements for Social Security disability benefits.

Non-Medical Requirements for SSI – Supplemental Security Income

To qualify for supplemental security income (SSI) benefits, disabled individuals must have limited income and limited resources. They must be U.S. citizens, nationals, or fall into specific categories of aliens. They must reside in one of the 50 states, D.C., or the Northern Mariana Islands. SSI recipients are also prohibited from leaving the country for a full calendar month or 30 consecutive days.

Those who are confined to a hospital, prison, or other institution at the expense of the government are not eligible for SSI benefits. And you may not apply for cash benefits or payments from other sources, including pensions or Social Security. You must authorize the SSA to obtain any of your financial records. Finally, you must file an application.

Income and Resource Limitations for SSI

If your monthly income exceeds the SSI Federal benefit limit (currently $783), you will not be eligible for SSI benefits. However, it’s possible to earn or receive money that does not count as income. Income that does not count for SSI includes income tax refunds, scholarships, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps). You can find a more complete list of income types that do not count for SSI on the SSA website.

SSI recipients must also have limited resources. Individuals and children may only have resources worth a total of $2,000. The limit is $3,000 for couples living together.

The SSA defines resources as “anything… you own that could be converted to cash and used for food or shelter.” This includes but is not limited to cash, bank accounts, investments, land, vehicles, personal property, and life insurance.

Like income, some resources do not count for SSI. The home in which you live and a single vehicle used for transportation are two such examples. The SSA website provides a complete list.

Non-Medical Requirements for SSDI – Social Security Disability Insurance

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is just like your car or health insurance in that it requires you to pay into the program to be eligible for benefits. If you’ve paid income tax, part of that tax goes toward funding SSDI benefits. A single paycheck’s worth of income taxes isn’t enough to qualify you for SSDI.

The SSA uses a system of work credits to determine if you can receive SSDI. You need to earn more than a specified amount during a quarter of coverage to earn a work credit. In 2021, you need to make at least $1,470 per quarter to earn work credits. But this amount changes from year to year.

Your age determines the number of work credits you need to qualify for SSDI. Individuals who are

  • 23 or younger must have earned 6 work credits over 3 years leading up to the start of their disability.
  • 24 to 31 years old must, in general, have earned work credits in at least half of the quarters between the age of 21 and the start of their disability.
  • Age 31 or older must, in general, have earned at least 20 work credits in the 10 years leading up to their disability.

To be eligible for SSDI you must also be unable to perform substantial gainful activity. In 2021, non-blind individuals may earn up to $1,310 a month and still qualify for SSDI. Blind individuals can earn as much as $2,190 per month and still qualify.

Request a Free Evaluation

If a disability prevents you from working, we can help you get the benefits you deserve. Rabin & Associates is home to some of the best disability lawyers in Chicago.

We know exactly what the Social Security Administration looks for on disability applications and provide our clients with the best chance at a successful claim. You shouldn’t have to expend what extra energy you have fighting for your claim alone. Instead, we want you to rest while we work diligently to get you the disability benefits you deserve.

We will regularly contact the SSA and give you updates on the status of your claim as it is pending. If you’ve already been denied, our team can also help you with an appeal. We do not get paid until we see the results of your claim.

Call us today at 888-529-0600 to schedule a free, no-obligation, consultation.

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