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The challenge of being approved for Social Security benefits

When you have a condition that disables you, it may make it impossible for you to work. This puts you in a difficult position because you need to have an income. One of the options that you have is to file for benefits from Social Security.

Even though these benefits are here to help you, it isn't easy to get approved. There is a complex process before you can get the benefits, so don't count on this as a quick way to have an income.

Two benefit programs for people with disabilities

There are two benefit programs that are administered by the Social Security Administration that are meant for disabled people. One of these is the Supplemental Security Income program, which is meant for people who don't have a work history and have limited assets. The Social Security Disability Insurance program is meant for people who have a work history that meets specific criteria.

Requirement for a work history

While there isn't an SSI work history requirement, there is one for SSDI. The amount of work history you need depends on how old you are when you become disabled. If you are disabled before you turn 28, you need 1.5 years of work history. That requirement increases with age up to 9.5 years of work history. The time you have is based on tax payments, so if you aren't paying Social Security taxes, that time won't count.

On top of the overall work history, there is a requirement for having recently worked. This is based on half of the overall work history requirement. This means that a person who is 31 years old would need to have worked for at least five out of the 10 years prior to the application.

Level of disability

For the purpose of Social Security programs for disability, your disability must mean that you won't be able to have "gainful employment" for at least 12 months because of your disability. Gainful employment means enough to financially support yourself. The level of your disability is considered when you apply for these programs. For example, just because you can't stand for a full shift doesn't mean that you can't find a job that would allow you to sit for the shift. This is one of the things that makes these benefits difficult to obtain.

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