How Does Disability Work?


Quick Answer

Social Security disability benefits work by determining whether an applicant is unable to work due to disability and, if he qualifies, how much the applicant is entitled to receive. Applicants must have a certain number of work credits to qualify for benefits.

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Full Answer

The number of work credits required changes yearly. Four work credits are awarded for each year that a person works and earns a certain amount. In 2014, an applicant could receive one work credit for every $1,200 earned during the year. The number of work credits required for one individual to qualify for disability also is based upon the age at which the applicant becomes disabled. In most cases, 40 work credits are needed.

An applicant must also prove the existence of a disability that makes it impossible to work. The Social Security Administration uses different factors, such as a doctor’s assessment of the disability, to decide whether or not an applicant is truly disabled and unable to do the work that was done before. If so, the applicant receives benefits each month as long as the disability is present. If not, the application is denied and the applicant has the right to file an appeal for reconsideration.

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