Will My Education Affect My Ability to Get Disability Benefits?

Many people want to know if obtaining an education will affect their ability to get Social Security Disability benefits. That's a good question. The Social Security Administration considers numerous factors when evaluating a disability application. For example, the Social Security Administration considers age, work experience, and education when analyzing such claims.

Of course, individuals with lower educational levels have fewer job opportunities and may require more need for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) . Does this mean that an individual with a Master's degree or a doctorate won't receive SSDI? Not necessarily, although that individual may have a harder time winning a claim than someone who just has a GED. Is this fair? That depends on which side of the line you stand on.

When considering a disability claim, the Social Security Administration also considers work experience and work history. An individual who has vocational training or schooling, a higher degree education or none at all often reflects the type and number of jobs that individual may qualify for.

One of the basic determining questions that the Social Security Administration asks of disability claims reviewers is whether or not the person applying for disability is able to work 40 hours a week and eight hours a day. In essence, the Social Security Administration determines disability or impairment as well as any vocational and medical factors that hamper or prevent an individual from working or getting a job.

For example, if the individual's medical disability or impairment does not impair that person from getting a job, the disability service examiner made then refer to the person's age, educational background and work history to determine whether that individual has the capacity to engage in gainful employment within the competitive workforce.

Individuals who have received only vocational education or who may find it physically or mentally difficult to be retrained or employed within the competitive workforce, especially when caused by medical or mental conditions or impairments, may receive a greater chance of receiving disability benefits.

Age also plays a large role in the approval or denial of disability benefits. For example, individuals who are over 50 years of age and who have routinely taken sedentary jobs and have ample education to continue seeking work within a sedentary job environment may be denied benefits because they're considered more able to retrain or to learn a new job skill. However, that same individual who doesn't have an education may be limited to the number of jobs he or she may find and may be considered disabled, and thereby receive disability benefits.

Remember that each case is analyzed and evaluated separately and takes into consideration additional factors including the type of medical condition or disability that is impairing the individual, the history of treatment, short-term and long-term prognosis as well as capability of that individual to obtain work in the near or distant future. For more detailed information regarding disability benefits, visit your local Social Security Administration office and speak to a representative or caseworker regarding your concerns.