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What Are The Nonmedical Requirements For Social Security Disability?

On Behalf of | Jan 13, 2021 | Social Security Disability (SSD)

Qualifying for Social Security disability takes more than proof of being disabled and unable to work. You also must satisfy nonmedical requirements to qualify for benefits. Each disability program, Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income has its nonmedical requirements for Social Security disability.

Here is a look at the nonmedical Social Security disability criteria for SSI and SSD to give you a better understanding of what you need to prove in addition to the existence of physical or mental impairments expected to last more than a continuous period of 12 months or cause death. Working with an SSD lawyer at NY Disability ensures that all requirements, both medical and nonmedical, are addressed when submitting an initial application for benefits or when challenging an adverse decision on your claim through the Social Security appeal process.

What Are The Nonmedical Requirements For SSD?

The SSD program serves the needs of disabled individuals who have a sufficiently long work record. The work record must be at jobs or through self-employment where the income was subject to Social Security taxes. In other words, you must have paid into the Social Security system to be eligible to receive disability benefits or, when you reach retirement age, retirement benefits. Working “off the books” where payroll taxes were not deducted or being self-employed and not paying self-employment taxes on the income generally does not count toward eligibility for SSD.

Social Security uses work credits to determine whether the duration of your work record lets you qualify for benefits with credits based on your yearly income from work or self-employment. The per-credit earnings amount for 2021 is $1,470, but you cannot earn more than four credits each year.

The age of the onset of disability generally determines the number of work credits needed to qualify for SSD. For example, a worker who is 24 years of age needs six work credits that were earned within three years of the onset of the disability, but a 31-year-old worker who applies for benefits needs 20 work credits earned within 10 years of the onset of the disability. An SSD lawyer at NY Disability eliminates guesswork and confusion over nonmedical eligibility by reviewing your work record to determine whether you have enough credits to qualify.

Substantial Gainful Activity And SSD Eligibility

Another nonmedical Social Security disability requirement that only applies if you work and earn income when applying for benefits or while receiving them has to do with how Social Security determines whether you are disabled. Disabled means that you have a medical condition preventing you from engaging in substantial gainful activity, such as standing, walking, climbing stairs, and other work-related activities.

Your earnings from work serve as an indication of an ability to engage in substantial gainful activity. If you earn over $1,310 a month, it proves your ability to engage in substantial gainful activity, which means you are not disabled.

SSI And Nonmedical Requirements

Your eligibility for SSI does not depend on a work record and the payment of Social Security payroll taxes on earnings as does SSD. Instead, SSI eligibility is based on need, so it has income and resource limits as nonmedical requirements.

Resources, such as money on hand or in the bank, real estate, and other assets may not exceed $2,000 as an individual or $3,000 for a couple. You should talk to an SSI lawyer at NY Disability about resource limits because Social Security does not count all resources. For example, the value of land and a house built on it would count against the resource limits unless it is used as your principal residence. If it is, then its value does not count unless you sell it without reinvesting the money in another principal residence.

An income limit is another nonmedical qualifying requirement when applying for SSI. Generally, your income in 2021 may not exceed the federal benefit rate of $794 for an individual and $1,191 for a couple. However, you still qualify for benefits even when earning over the income limits because Social Security allows you to exclude some of it.

For example, you may exclude the first $20 of earned or unearned monthly income and $65 of earned income. Other exclusions, including the exclusion of one-half of earned income after deduction of the $65 exclusion, exist that an SSI lawyer can review with you to determine whether you meet the income requirements.

An SSD Lawyer Can Help

Determining whether you meet the nonmedical requirements for Social Security disability can be challenging. Rely on the knowledge and experience of a Social Security disability lawyer from NY Disability to help you through the application process or to fight an adverse determination through the appeal process.