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Who qualifies for social security benefits?

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for SS money.jpgIf you suffer from a long-term disability and can no longer work for an income, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits.

You are considered disabled under Social Security if:

  • You cannot do the work that you did before;
  • Social Security decides that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and
  • Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or will result in your passing

To qualify for Social Security disability benefits, you must have worked in jobs that are covered by Social Security. If you have worked long enough (and recently enough) to meet the set requirements, Social Security will ask the following to determine if you are disabled or not:

  1. Are you working? If you are working and your earnings average above a certain pay grade, you generally cannot be considered disabled.
  2. Is your condition "severe"? Your condition must limit your ability to do basic work such as lifting, standing, walking, and sitting for at least 12 months.
  3. Is your condition found in the list of disabling conditions? You will be found disabled if you have a medical condition that meets Social Security's definition of disability.
  4. Can you do the work you did previously? If your condition prevents you from performing any of the work you have done in the past, you may still qualify for disability. If you are still able to perform any of your past work, you will not qualify for benefits.
  5. Can you do any other type of work? If you can't perform past jobs, Social Security will look to see if there is other work you can do despite your condition(s). If you can't perform any work, you are then considered disabled.

A majority of people who receive disability benefits are workers who qualify on their own. However, Social Security can be given in special circumstances:

  • You are blind or have low vision
  • You are a worker's widow or widower
  • You are seeking benefits for a disabled child
  • You are seeking benefits for wounded warriors and veterans

If you do not have enough for recent work history, you may qualify for SSI, which is Social Security's needs-based disability program. This program does not require recent work history but, rather, is available to those with limited resources and financial need. This program can apply to disabled adults as well as children.

If you have questions about whether or not your disability qualifies for Social Security benefits, please do not hesitate to contact our attorneys.

THE FOREGOING IS INTENDED TO BE A GENERAL DISCUSSION OF THE LAW AND IS NOT INTENDED TO BE CONSTRUED AS LEGAL ADVICE. IF YOU HAVE A SPECIFIC QUESTION, PLEASE CONTACT OUR OFFICE AND SPEAK WITH AN ATTORNEY.

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Phillipsburg Office
305 Roseberry Street
Phillipsburg, NJ 08865

Phone: 908-454-3200
Fax: 908-454-3322
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Bethlehem Office
84 East Broad Street
Bethlehem, PA 18018

Phone: 610-807-0440
Fax: 908-454-3322
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Belvidere Office
110 Mansfield Street
Belvidere, NJ 07823

Phone: 908-475-2500
Fax: 908-454-3322
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