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The SSA's recent and duration of work tests

As readers of this blog know, there are a number of federal requirements that must be met before Social Security disability benefits will be awarded. Perhaps one of the most challenged requirement is that a disabling condition exists at all. Claimants may face pushback about the severity of their medical condition, as well as its affect on their ability to work. However, other requirements, like those related to work history, are just important when trying to obtain SSD benefits.

There are many factors the Social Security Administration looks at when assessing an individual's work history. One way these factors is assessed is by conducting what is referred to as a "recent work test." Here, the SSA looks at a claimant's age and the amount of work he or she has conducted in that period. For example, an individual younger than 24 will typically need a year-and-a-half of work experience over the course of the last three years preceding the disabling condition before qualifying. Those who are older than 31 will need to demonstrate at least five years of work within the 10 years preceding the disability's appearance.

The SSA will also conduct a "duration of work test." This test seeks to establish how much total work an individual needs before qualifying for SSD benefits. An individual aged 30, for example, will generally need at least two years of work experience before the SSA will grant benefits. A 50 year old individual, on the other hand, will need at least seven years of work before successfully claiming benefits.

Again, these tests provide guidance, but are not a final determination. Thus, those who have questions about their work history and how it may affect their ability to succeed on a SSD claim may want to reach out to a knowledgeable legal professional.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Disability Benefits," accessed on Jan. 27, 2017

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