You must be unable to do not only the job you were doing when you became disabled, but also any other job for which you're qualified. The SSA will look at your transferrable skills to find out whether you can do any work despite your disabling condition. In general, the younger you are, the more likely it is that the SSA will decide you have transferrable skills and can find some type of work despite your disability. If you don't have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI, it's possible you may be able to qualify based on a spouse's or parent's work record.
For example:. The Social Security Administration has more information on qualifying for benefits on a family member's work history.
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If you can't qualify based on your own work record or a family member's work record, then you will not be able to get SSDI benefits. However, you may still be eligible for disability benefits through the Supplemental Security Income program.
Supplemental Security Income benefits are awarded to with a disabling condition, a low income, and limited resources. Seniors over 65 can also qualify for SSI benefits.
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SSI benefits are funded through general tax revenue, rather than through special taxes collected solely for the program. You can qualify for these benefits regardless of your work history, but you must have low income and few valuable assets. It's not based on past wages but is instead a fixed amount based on the federal benefit rate.
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This would mean you're over 65, you're legally blind, or you meet the SSA's definition of disabled. You can't get SSI benefits if you're engaged in substantial gainful activity. Because SSI benefits are needs-based, there are other rules when it comes to income as well.
The SSI counts only certain types income in determining whether you will receive reduced benefits or become ineligible. This includes income earned from working, workers' compensation or unemployment benefits, the Department of Veterans' Affairs, other Social Security benefits, or family or friends. If you're provided with free food or shelter, this also counts as income.
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There's also a limit on how much you can own before you become ineligible for SSI. However, some of your assets -- such as the home you live in, one vehicle, and some personal property -- won't count when determining your resources. If you give away your resources to fall below the asset limits, you could be disqualified from getting SSI benefits for up to 36 months.
This is not as easy as it sounds. For the SSA to consider you disabled, your condition must:. More than half of all applicants for disability benefits are denied, often because their ailment does not meet this very limited definition of what it means to be disabled. It's divided into Part A, which lists adult conditions, and Part B, which lists children's conditions. Within each part, there are specific categories of medical ailments that deal with different parts of the body, including:.
In each of these individual subsections are diseases, disorders, and medical problems that the SSA believes may allow you to qualify for benefits.