Non-Medical Requirements for Social Security Disability Claims
Whether you’re applying for Social Security disability benefits or Supplemental Security income, the medical requirements are extensive. In many cases, the medical requirements are what lead to the denial of a claim.
However, there is a lot to consider beyond the medical aspects of a disability application. You’ll also need to ensure that you meet the non-medical requirements before submitting your application.
For personalized assistance with your disability application and every aspect of the process, turn to Walton Law. Call us at 251-455-5819 to schedule a consultation now.
If you are applying for disability benefits, you’ll need sufficient experience working jobs that paid into the Social Security program. The Social Security Administration uses a system of “work credits” to determine whether or not an applicant can receive benefits. If you do not have enough work credits, you won’t receive SSDI benefits—even if you meet all the medical requirements.
Work credits are based on how much money you earn per year, and the amount changes on an annual basis. Workers earn one credit for every $1,470 they earn in 2021, up to a maximum of four credits per year. Regardless of how much one credit was for each year throughout your career, you can only earn up to four credits per year. The number of credits you need depends largely on your age at the time you become disabled.
If your disability occurs before the age of 24, you must have six credits (about 1.5 years of work experience) in the three years prior to your disability. Those aged 24 through 30 must have enough work credits to cover half of the time between the age of 21 and the point at which they become disabled. Applicants who are 31 or older must have at least 20 credits from the 10 years prior to their disability.
The requirements increase steadily until the age of 62. Those who are 62 or older must have 40 work credits, and at least 20 of those must have been earned in the 10 years prior to your disability.
If you are applying for Supplemental Security Income, you know that this is a need-based program. Because of this, the non-medical requirements for this program focus on how much money you earn and how many resources you have.
Resources include money held in bank accounts, cash on hand, land, life insurance, cars, and anything else that can be sold and used for your living expenses. Currently, an individual applying for SSI can have up to $2,000 in resources and a couple applying for SSI can have up to $3,000 in resources.
However, this isn’t as cut-and-dry as it appears. There are numerous resources that do not count for Supplemental Security Income. Examples include:
- The house you live in and the land it sits on.
- One vehicle used by you or someone in your household for transportation.
- Household items.
- Personal items.
- Life insurance policies with a total face value of $1,500 or less.
- Burial spaces.
- Earned income tax credit payments (not counted for the first nine months).
Your income must also meet specific limits if you want to receive SSI. Income is generally divided into four categories:
- Earned income, which includes wages, royalties, and self-employment earnings.
- Unearned income, which includes Social Security benefits, pensions, and unemployment benefits.
- In-kind income, which includes food and shelter that you receive for less than its market value.
- Deemed income, which is the income of your spouse or family members with whom you live.
There are some types of income that do not count against you. These include the first $20 earned in a month, the first $65 of earnings in a month, SNAP, income tax refunds, and food and shelter assistance provided by nonprofit agencies. Any countable income will decrease your SSI federal benefits accordingly.
Find Out How Walton Law Can Help You with Your Disability Claim
Meeting all the requirements set out by the SSA can be stressful, particularly when there are so many exceptions involved. By working with a disability attorney, you can ensure that you aren’t unnecessarily getting rid of assets or resources. Take the first step in your disability claim now by calling Walton Law at 251-455-5819 or contacting our office online.