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How does the government decide if you qualify for SSDI?

Florida's large population of seniors means that many of the state's residents are likely to be concerned about applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) if they should become disabled. According to the Social Security Administration (SSA) website, the government will determine whether you qualify for SSDI through specific criteria, including work history and the nature of your disability.

First, you must have contributed to Social Security during your time of employment, including working for a qualifying period of time and in a period recent enough for the Social Security Administration to consider you eligible. The government also requires that you have acquired a certain amount of work credits under Social Security to qualify for benefits. These credits may vary depending on age, but typically you will need forty credits to qualify, with twenty of them earned in the past ten years with the final year the one in which you became disabled.

In the event your work history meets the criteria for disability benefits, the SSA will determine if you are disabled through five set criteria. First, they will ask if you currently are working. Should you have a job that pays a certain threshold, such as more than $1,180 as of the year 2018, the government will likely not consider you disabled. However, if you are not employed, your application will be sent to the Disability Determination Services (DDS) office. 

The DDS will then determine the severity of your condition. The government will consider you disabled if your medical condition hampers your ability to conduct basic work activities. If so, the DDS will then see if your condition matches a list of conditions that are inherently severe enough to be considered a disabling condition. Should your condition not be on the government's list, the DDS will determine if the condition can qualify as a disabling malady.

If you suffer from a severe medical condition that does not match the severity of a medical condition on the government's list, the DDS will decide if your condition inhibits your ability to perform work that you had done before your condition started to occur. If the condition does not, you will not qualify for SSDI. If it does, the government will then ask if you can perform any other kind of work. If you can adjust to a different kind of work, the government will not qualify you. However, if you cannot handle any other type of work, your disability claim will be accepted.

This article seeks to inform readers on Social Security benefits and is not to be taken as legal advice.

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