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SSDI qualification depends on impairment and length of employment

Individuals with a severe impairment may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance when they can no longer perform their regular work activities. As noted by, the qualifying degree of severity may require proving an inability to carry out basic work activities for a minimum of 12 months.

SSDI eligibility also depends on an individual’s length of employment and average lifetime income. Because an impairment prevents an individual from working, the Social Security Administration may inquire about changes in an employee’s capabilities to complete his or her job tasks.

Responding to SSA inquiries

An SSDI application typically requires submitting medical records documenting a claimant’s condition and how it resulted in an impairment. As noted by the AARP, an illness, disease or disabling condition must classify as a listed impairment in the SSA’s “Blue Book” to meet the eligibility requirement.

The SSA may also inquire about an individual’s work history and skills. If an individual cannot perform tasks in his or her regular field, the SSA may ask about an ability to work at a different occupation. An individual who can perform in a new field may not qualify for benefits.

Determining the severity of a condition

The Code of Federal Regulations governs how the SSA evaluates an impairment and its related treatment. A loss of function in the musculoskeletal system, for example, may require documentation describing an inability of motion beyond a certain limit. If a doctor has prescribed medication to treat pain, an applicant may use it to prove the degree of impairment.

To qualify for SSDI benefits, an individual needs to demonstrate the severity of his or her condition. The inability to perform substantial work activities may require proof a claimant does not have the physical or mental capacity to carry out work-related tasks requiring a different set of skills.


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