Anyone can apply for disability. However, in order to qualify for benefits, a person must prove an inability to earn a sufficient wage and perform work-related duties due to a severe injury. Certain medical conditions may also qualify a person for disability benefits.
On its website, the U.S. Social Security Administration publishes a list of medical conditions that automatically qualify individuals for disability benefits. When a person is diagnosed with a severe ailment, such as leukemia, Lou Gehrig's disease or pancreatic cancer, the Social Security Administration office can expedite the disability process and provide a compassionate allowance to assist the applicant immediately.
To determine eligibility and apply for disability, individuals can complete an online application through the Social Security Administration or visit a local SSA office to complete the application. Medical conditions, age, education, past work experience and transferable skills are all factors taken into consideration.
Applicants filling out the application must be 18 years of age or older, unable to work because of a medical condition expected to last 12 months or longer and not currently receiving social security benefits. As of 2014, if a disability benefit application has been denied in the last 60 days, the individual must submit an appeal rather than complete a new application.