How Do I Know if I Qualify for Social Security?

Submitted by Deanna on

Social Security provides benefits to millions of disabled Americans each year. While the benefits are extremely helpful, the application process can be quite daunting. So how do you know before applying if your impairment qualify for Social Security?

There are multiple ways to see if your condition may be covered:

1. See If Your Disability is in the Blue Book

The easiest way to judge whether you will qualify for Social Security disability Insurance (SSDI) is to consult the “Blue Book”. This is a list of severe disabilities compiled by the Social Security Administration (SSA) that are pre-approved for disability insurance.

The Blue Book contains Adult Listings (Part A) and Childhood Listings (Part B) of hundreds of disabilities, from Parkinson’s to terminal cancer to Trisomy 21 Down Syndrome. If your disability aligns with a listing, then you could qualify for SSDI and should definitely apply for benefits.

If you do not find your condition in the Blue Book, however, you may still qualify for SSDI under a “medical vocational allowance”. This means that Social Security recognizes you do not satisfy a listing, but still regards your disability as severe enough to require support. While it is harder to guarantee qualifying for a medical vocation allowance prior to applying, the best way to judge is to…

2. Speak with Your Doctor

Doctors are required to be familiar with the qualifications necessary for SSDI and qualifying for SSI. Even if you are unsure your disability qualifies you for benefits, your doctor may be able to give you advice on your situation.

You can also ask your doctor to fill out an RFC (Residual Functional Capacity) form. These forms assess a patient’s ability to function with their disability and can help determine whether or not you may be eligible. If you later decide to apply, you can also attach this RFC form as further proof of your disability.

How Do I Know If I Qualify for Social Security?

3. Search for Others with Disabilities Like Yours to See if They Receive Benefits.

While this is certainly no way to get a sure answer, it can help to find other people in similar situations to see if they managed to qualify. Hospital recommendations and online support groups are great ways to discover others with similar diagnoses who may have had similar questions as you.

They may also have recommendations for other methods of support aside from Social Security.

How Do I Know If I Qualify For Disability?

After using the blue book and consulting with your doctor to see if you medically qualify for benefits, there are a few other factors that are specific to SSDI and SSI qualifications.

In order to meet other qualifications for SSDI you need to have enough work credits (usually worked five of the past ten years). The work credit number you need to meet depends on your age.

Additional qualifications for SSI include looking at your household income. A single household income less than $2,000 in assets is key. Married households should be under $3,000 in total assets to be considered for benefits.

Other considerations for disability benefits include difficulty with day-to-day activities like mobility, dressing, hygiene, etc. If you are a legal US resident, it is likely you will encounter fewer steps in the long application process.

Apply for Disability Benefits.

There is no better way to know if your disability qualifies for insurance than to apply for Social Security. It is always better to be rejected than to not apply at all, especially when there is the potential to receive life-altering benefits for your disability.

Speaking with a Social Security Attorney

The Social Security application process is notoriously lengthy and a bit intimidating. However, with the help of a Social Security attorney, the process can be made painless.

Their experience with paperwork and presenting cases can not only take the stress from the process, but will statistically boost your chances of receiving benefits.

Additional Resources