How to Qualify for Disability Benefits

Browse our resource hub to learn about disability qualification or get personalized help from SSD experts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I qualify for Social Security disability benefits?

In order to qualify for SSD benefits, you must satisfy both a non-medical and a medical test.

In order to satisfy the non-medical test, you need to have worked in a covered job long enough to accumulate enough work credits.

The second test, the medical test, requires you to have a condition(s) that satisfies the Social Security Administration’s (“SSA”) definition of disability and has lasted or is expected to last at least 12 consecutive months.

Generally speaking, this program will provide you with a monthly benefit in the event that you become unable to work.

What are my chances of winning a disability claim?

The response is always, “It depends.” The table linked here shows the average chance of winning a disability claim at each level of the process.

What are my chances of winning a disability appeal?

There are two types of disability appeals: Appeals Council Repeal and Federal Appeal

Appeals Council Repeal
Claimants are awarded approximately 1% of the time at this level.

An additional 9% of claimants have their case remanded (sent back) to the original ALJ who made the hearing level denial. These remands may be for further development on a particular issue or to correct a procedural error made in the hearing level decision. Generally speaking, judges do not like to have another judge tell them that they made a mistake. Hearing level ALJs will often just re-deny appeals council remands. As a result, having your claim remanded is not always the best result. The goal at this level is often to get denied, which allows a claimant to appeal in federal court.

Federal Appeal

At this level, you are suing the Social Security Administration in Federal Court.  The odds of winning at this level are approximately 2%, which is hardly better than at the Appeals Council.  Federal judges; however, remand (send back) approximately half of these claims for a further evaluation of issues that were improperly considered at the prior hearing.

Do I Qualify for Social Security Disability?

Browse our SSDI resource library to find clear answers and determine if you qualify for up to $3,148/month in SSD benefits.

Social Security Disability and SVP

Social Security Disability and SVP

Specific Vocational Preparation (SVP) is used to define the amount of time
required for a typical employee to learn the techniques, acquire the
information, and develop the facility needed for average performance in a
job. SVP can be acquired in school, the military or at the work place.

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SSA Grid Rules: Age as a Factor

SSA Grid Rules: Age as a Factor

Will I Be Found ‘Disabled’ Based On My Age? “Age”, in the world of Social Security Disability, is defined as one’s chronological age, but one attains a particular age the day before his or her birthday. Age becomes a factor in the determination of disability at step 5...

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Heavy Grid Rules

Heavy Grid Rules

Although not really a set of rules, the final category to consider are
those individuals capable of performing work at the heavy or very heavy
level.

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Medium Grid Rules

Medium Grid Rules

If an individual is age 50 or older and capable of performing work at no
greater than the medium level, a decisionmaker would need to consult the
following table to determine whether or not that individual should be found
disabled. They all require limited education and unskilled or no prior work
experience. Although the grids start at age 50, the first favorable grid at
the medium level starts at age 55.

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SSA Grid Rules: Light

SSA Grid Rules: Light

If an individual is age 50 or older and capable of performing work at no
greater than the light level, a decisionmaker would need to consult to the
following table to determine whether or not that individual should be found
disabled.

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SSA Grid Rules: How Education Level Affects SSDI

SSA Grid Rules: How Education Level Affects SSDI

In order to be found ‘disabled’ under the Social Security Disability
program, you need to be unable to perform any work. Congress has
recognized, however, that as an individual ages, it becomes more difficult
for them to learn new skills and, and as a result, learn different types of
work. SSA has accounted for this fact in it’s rules and regulations by
implementing a set of rules commonly referred to as the grid rules.

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Sedentary Grid Rules

Sedentary Grid Rules

If an individual is age 50 or older and capable of performing work at no
greater than the sedentary level, a decisionmaker would need to consult the
following table to determine whether or not that individual should be found
disabled.

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