The Social Security Administration is the sole arbiter of qualifying for social security disability. The actual criteria seem simple. Workers must pass a “recent work test” and a “duration of work test” in order to qualify. However, the actual forms, evidence, and process involved can be extremely difficult to understand and navigate. Which is why so many applicants choose to hire a social security disability attorney to help them with the process.
Theoretically, having a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that interferes with the ability to work for at least a year or will lead to death is all that is required to qualify. Unfortunately the SSA has very strict guidelines as to which impairments count and which do not. They also have another set of guidelines and requirements as to the evidence that can be used to determine that the impairment is valid.
How old a worker is at the time of disability can affect eligibility under the recent work test. It can also affect the size of the actual benefit awarded. The duration of work test refers to how long a worker has been paying into the social security system in the form of taxes being deducted from paychecks . The number of credits built up in the system can mean the difference between eligibility and being denied benefits.
As long as a worker meets all three criteria: age, work credits, and provable, qualified disability, they should be granted disability benefits.