What are the eligibility requirements to get Social Security disability benefits?

To qualify for Social Security disability benefits, you must have worked long enough in jobs covered by Social Security (usually 10 years). Then, you must have a medical condition that meets Social Security’s definition of disability.
In general, disability benefits are paid on a monthly basis to people who are unable to work for a year or more, or who have a condition expected to end in death. The disability must be so severe the worker cannot work, considering age, education and experience.

Can I get Social Security disability benefits for any months before I apply?

If you meet all of the requirements, Social Security disability benefits may be received for as many as 12 months before you apply if they find you had a disability during that time.

Is there a waiting period for Social Security disability benefits?

After becoming eligible for Social Security disability benefits, there is a five-month waiting period before your benefits will begin.

Can children with disabilities get Social Security benefits?

When a parent begins to receive retirement or disability benefits, a child with a disability who is 18 or older may begin to get Social Security benefits. If the parent dies and the child’s disability began before the age of 22 the child can receive benefits.

Can I return to work while getting Social Security disability benefits?

Yes, you can return to work while receiving Social Security disability benefits. In order to help you get back to work without jeopardizing your benefits, there are special rules. To test whether you can perform your daily work responsibilities, you may be able to have a trial work period for nine months.

Will unemployment benefits affect my Social Security benefits?

Social Security does not count unemployment benefits as earnings. They do not affect retirement benefits. However, income from Social Security may reduce your unemployment compensation.

Will my disability benefits be reduced if I get workers’ compensation or other public disability benefits?

Social Security may reduce the benefits you and your family receive if the combined total amount, plus your workers’ compensation payment, plus any public disability payment you get, exceeds 80 percent of your average earnings before you became injured or ill.

Can I qualify for Social Security disability benefits if I get veterans’ benefits?

Eligibility for each program is different. Even if you meet the requirements to receive veteran’s disability benefits, you may not qualify for Social Security disability benefits.