- The applicant is unable to do the work he or she did before the injury or illness due to limitations in the applicant’s physical or mental abilities.
- The applicant’s condition makes switching to different work untenable.
- The condition has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year, or is expected to result in the applicant’s death.
Social Security is one of several potential sources of financial support for people who cannot work due to an injury or illness. As with any form of financial support from the government, Social Security disability benefits are subject to a range of restrictions and prerequisites. The benefits may also affect one’s ability to get financial support through other sources, so anyone considering applying for Social Security benefits should examine not just the rules for the program itself but also how it may play into a larger strategy of making ends meet while off work. Qualifying for Social Security disability benefits requires a number of specific elements. The first is that the applicant must have paid into the Social Security system by working in jobs that contribute to it. People who work in jobs that are exempt from Social Security will not qualify. Second, the applicant must be disabled in accordance with the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) definition of the term. For Social Security purposes disability means: