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Must I be completely unable to work to qualify for SSDI benefits?

On Behalf of | Aug 30, 2022 | Social Security Disability |

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program has a relatively negative reputation. If you ask the average person on the street about SSDI benefits, they will probably tell you that no one ever qualifies. They may also share with you that they have heard the benefits are so low that they are practically useless for those with truly debilitating medical conditions who need to pay all of their monthly bills with SSDI benefits.

There is a lot of misinformation floating around out there that can deter people from applying even though they might qualify for benefits. You need to learn how the program works to make use of the protections available to you. Do you have to have a complete disability to receive SSDI payments?

Most applicants must show permanent and total disability

The purpose of SSDI is to help those who are not yet old enough to retire but who have severe medical conditions can continue meeting their basic cost-of-living expenses. The Social Security Administration (SSA) scrutinizes every application individually.

Although they provide an extensive list of conditions that may qualify someone for benefits, a diagnosis with one of those conditions is not a guarantee that you will get benefits. Having a condition that is rare and not on the list is not a guarantee that the SSA will deny you benefits.

Much is left to the interpretation of the workers evaluating an application. Typically, they want to see proof that the individual cannot work at all and that their condition will last for at least a year or longer.

There is one notable exception to the rule

The SSA does have a written rule that applies to workers in physically-demanding professions. Blue-collar workers who have done arduous physical labor for 35 years or more may qualify for benefits When a medical condition would force them to leave their job. Even though they might be able to do a lower-demand and lower-paid job, they can qualify for benefits based on the higher impact caused by such demanding professions.

Many people who may qualify for benefits get denied and have to appeal before they get the approval they require. Learning more about how SSDI benefits work and potentially seeking out professional help can improve your chances of getting benefits when you need them.