The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a very strict definition of disability. In order to qualify for disability benefits, claimants will have to meet the requirements of this definition, as well as a number of financial prerequisites. SSA’s definition of disabled concerns the claimant’s ability to work. You will only be considered disabled by this definition if the following are true: you are not able to do the work you did before and you cannot do other work because of your medical condition(s) (considering your age, education and training), and you will be unable to work for at least one year, or your impairment is expected to result in death.
As stated above, there is also a financial component to qualify for disability benefits. In order to receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI) you must have worked for at least 5 out of the previous 10 years (for most workers). This is to ensure that you’ve paid the necessary amount of FICA payroll taxes and earned enough work credits to be eligible for SSDI benefits. If your health condition fits SSA’s disability definition but you don’t meet the financial requirements, it is possible you can still qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI provides aid to disabled people without the resources or income to support themselves.