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Eligibility for Social Security Disability Benefits

Assistance from Our Phoenix Social Security Disability Lawyer

You will find helpful assistance on this page regarding your eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits, but this is no replacement for one-on-one guidance of a Phoenix Social Security Disability attorney at our firm. You can schedule an appointment at one of our offices in Phoenix, Flagstaff, or Prescott, or in some cases we can travel out to you. Our family team of Social Security disability lawyers will treat you like family, providing you the personal service that you deserve.

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Income Limits and Work Requirements

In order to qualify for Social Security disability, certain work and medical requirements must be met. First, depending on the age you were disabled, you must have earned enough credits (clocked in enough work hours), and earned them recently enough, in order to be eligible. How you earn credits differs annually. For example, in the year 2014, a credit is earned every $1,200 of pay, and you can earn four credits every year. So for 2014, a worker will have gotten four credits by the time he or she has brought in $4,800.

Usually speaking, to be eligible for disability benefits, you must have accrued 40 credits, with 20 of these credits accumulated in the ten years leading up to your becoming disabled. Younger workers can be eligible with far fewer credits. It should be noted that there are exceptions to these rules.

As for income limits, how much you have in assets or unearned income (a spouse's income, investments, interest, etc.) does not matter. But if an applicant is able to work and get paid more than $1,070 a month, or if an applicant is blind and makes more than $1,800 at work, then they could be disqualified by 2014 standards for substantial gainful employment (SGA).

Do only citizens qualify for these benefits? No. If you paid taxes into Social Security and worked long enough, then you might still qualify for disability benefits if you are a lawful permanent resident, if you are a veteran or a member of the U.S. military on active duty, or if you have a worker's visa.

Are you medically eligible for Social Security Disability?

A serious medical condition that has lasted or will last for a minimum of one year could qualify someone for Social Security Disability Insurance if the condition:

  • Is listed in the "Blue Book" (that is, included in Social Security's list of impairments)
  • Keeps the person from working at any of their previous jobs
  • Keeps them from working at all, according to their earning capacity (age, education, and skills)

It is important to notice that just because a medical condition is not in the Blue Book, this does not mean that your medical condition is ineligible for disability benefits. For instance, fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel syndrome, and adult diabetes are some of the conditions that are excluded from the Blue Book, but could still enable you to collect benefits.

An emotional or psychological condition could also qualify an applicant for disability benefits if they are unable to complete "simple routine repetitive tasks" (SRRTs). This can be true with issues such as depression, anxiety, or cognitive difficulties. If you have a debilitating mental condition, we encourage you to see a psychiatrist or psychologist, a mental health expert who can document a mental impairment. Medical records are vital to your claim.

Get a Phoenix Social Security Disability Attorney on Your Side

To learn more about this process, and to find the dedicated legal counsel you need at any stage of this process, do not hesitate to contact the Fendon Law Firm, P.C. today! Our firm has more than 50 years of combined experience with which we can assist you at each stage of Social Security process. If you have any questions about Social Security disability benefits, do not hesitate to schedule your free initial consultation today.