Meeting the Social Security Administration’s Disability Requirements

If you can’t work, it doesn’t mean you’ll automatically be awarded Social Security Disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) is a huge government agency that uses a complex system to determine who deserves benefits. You will only win benefits if you meet the SSA’s strict definition of “disabled.”

Let the team at Ober & Pekas help you determine if you do. Contact us to discuss your disability case.

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How Do I Know If I’m Eligible for Social Security?

There are two types of Social Security benefits: SSDI and SSI.


The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program pays benefits to you if you meet three criteria:

  1. You are disabled,
  2. As of the date you became disabled, you must have worked under Social Security at least five of the last 10 years, and
  3. You have earned enough work credits by paying Social Security taxes.


Supplement Security Income (SSI) pays benefits to you if you meet certain criteria:

  1. You are disabled, and
  2. You meet the financial qualifications (you don’t have too much income or too many assets).

What is the Legal Definition of “Disabled?”

Under Social Security’s rules, you’re only determined to be disabled if a physical or mental condition is expected to keep you from work for one full year (or result in death). Your disability can be physical, mental or a combination of conditions.

If you can’t work, it’s important that you keep regular medical appointments and get enough medical evidence to prove your case to the Social Security Administration.

For the most part, Social Security considers you disabled if:

  • You can’t do the work you’ve done before;
  • You can’t adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and
  • Your disability has lasted or will last 12 months (or result in death).

Contact the legal team at Ober & Pekas for help with your Social Security Disability case.

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