Is it Possible to Get Disability While Attending College?

Submitted by Kyle on

It depends. Social Security Disability benefits are offered to individuals with disabilities. Benefits for individuals with disabilities must meet certain medical criteria to qualify for benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) plan, which pays benefits to recipients or family members if you or a child or spouse.

Social Security Disability benefits are offered to individuals of all ages, including college-age students. However, in order to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, a Social Security recipient must have qualified by working a certain number of quarters and paying into Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) system. In addition, medical conditions must meet the Social Security Administration's definition of a specific disability. Children of Social Security recipients may receive monthly benefits up to 50% of determined disability rate.

In some cases, and depending on case-by-case scenario and circumstances, the fact that you are attending college may hurt a disability claim. The main question under consideration by the Social Security Administration in regard to disability benefits is the ability or capacity of an individual to engage in certain activities or work. An individual who attends a physical college campus, goes to college classes, does their homework or completes long-term assignments are often considered capable of also fulfilling a relatively simple or sit-down job.

Even part-time students may find that the Social Security Administration considers that your condition is at least minimally manageable and that you may be capable of engaging in part-time employment. However, certain considerations, including medical evidence, ongoing treatments, loss of functionality and other factors are considered, and some students are able to receive SSDI while attending college.

In addition to physical factors, the Social Security Administration also considers your mental or emotional state of health when evaluating your case. The Social Security Administration often feels that a person seeking a college education indicates future goals. Disability benefits are most often approved for those diagnosed with severe and life-threatening conditions that prevent normal, daily activities and endeavors.

If you are under 24 years of age, attending college full-time, and are living at home or under your parent's support, you won't be considered an independent adult, and your parents' income is a major factor in potential benefits. In some cases, this scenario may make you in eligible for SSI.

Even if your disability claim is approved, processing claims takes an average of 457 days. Even after approval, it may take longer for your disability payments to start coming in. So, the bottom line is that while it is possible to get Social Security Disability Insurance benefits while attending college, the process is long, convoluted, frustrating, and ultimately, disappointing for many. While you certainly can go to school if you're on Social Security Disability Insurance, don't expect much financial assistance. Certain programs are available to such individuals, and your age may play a large part in decisions regarding your SSDI eligibility if you're already attending or planning to attend college. Access the Social Security Administration website for information regarding programs that can help disabled individuals go to college.