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What is required before one can receive disability benefits?

As we have covered on this blog previously, in order to receive Social Security Disability benefits, a person must meet the Social Security Administration's definition of disability. While that process can have a lot of nuances alone, it is important to note that meeting the definition of disability is not all that is required. There are other qualifications that a person must have before the SSA will grant benefits.

For example, one of the prerequisites to an approved application for disability benefits is a qualifying work history. Essentially, to qualify for these important benefits, a person must have worked recent enough and for long enough based on published guidelines. A person earns work credits that help determine the amount of benefits available - up to four per year.

For 2014, a single work credit is granted when a person earns $1,200 in self-employment income or wages. Each credit is earned at an equivalent amount, so all four credits are granted when wages or self-employment income reaches $4,800. However, there is also an age component - for a more experienced worker, 40 overall credits are likely required, with half earned in the past decade prior to the disability. For those who don't have such a work history, particularly younger people who suffer an unfortunate illness or injury, there are other rules that might apply to allow benefits.

It is important to note that recent work history is very important, regardless of age. Those who may qualify at one point but stop working could have their eligibility threatened down the road.

Disability benefits can be a vital source of income for those suffering here in Florida from long-term disability. However, as illustrated by the work requirement, there are some important nuances that can be challenging to understand. Because such nuances will need to be addressed in order to obtain much needed assistance, working with someone experienced with the process can be helpful in successfully applying for benefits.

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