Tuesday August 14, 2018

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Social Security
Hearing Office Database

GAO Study Reveals
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Social Security Disability is an insurance program for workers who have paid into the system (FICA taxes) and subsequently become disabled and unable to work. SSDI can also provide monthly disability benefits and health coverage for a deceased, disabled or retired worker’s disabled dependents.

The Eligibility Criteria for Social Security Disability is tied to employment and wages.

For workers who have paid into the system (FICA withholding) there is an earnings requirement to become insured for coverage. There are tests for recent work earnings and duration of work earnings. A disabled worker must satisfy both of these earnings tests (more) to obtain coverage or insured status for a disability benefit claim. 

After insured status has been established you must then prove that you are disabled. The Social Security Administration defines disability as the inability to do any substantial gainful work. You must have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months. It is important to understand that you do not need to be permanently disabled. You only need to have a condition that prevents you from working for at least 12 months. When your condition improves and you’re ready to return to work the benefits can be terminated.

Also, the onset of your disabling condition must be prior to the date last insured and at least 5 months prior to full retirement age.

Earnings Test

Rules for work needed for the "recent work test"
If you become disabled... Then you generally need:
In or before the quarter you turn age 24 1.5 years of work during the three-year period ending with the quarter your disability began
In the quarter after you turn age 24 but before the quarter you turn age 31 Work during half the time for the period beginning with the quarter after you turned 21 and ending with the quarter you became disabled.
Example: If you become disabled in the quarter you turned age 27, then you would need three years of work out of the six-year period ending with the quarter you became disabled.
In the quarter you turned age 31 or later Work during five years out of the 10-year period ending with the quarter your disability began



The following table shows examples of how much work you need to meet the "duration of work test" if you have become disabled at various selected ages. For the "duration of work" test, your work does not have to fall within a certain period of time.

Note: This table does not cover all situations.
Examples of work needed for the "duration of work test"
If you become disabled... Then you generally need:
Before age 28 1.5 years of work
Age 30 2 years
Age 34 3 years
Age 38 4 years
Age 42 5 years
Age 44 5.5 years
Age 46 6 years
Age 48 6.5 years
Age 50 7 years
Age 52 7.5 years
Age 54 8 years
Age 56 8.5 years
Age 58 9 years
Age 60 9.5 years

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