People qualify to receive permanent disability benefits if they are under 65, have medical conditions that prevent them from earning their living and can provide documents from a doctor stating that the conditions will last at least a year. Steady prior employment may also be a requirement for approval.
A person is required to have worked at least five of the last 10 years in order to qualify for total disability benefits through the Social Security Administration. If a person has does not meet the employment requirements, he may qualify for Social Security Income (SSI). However, all other requirements must first be met.
Although a person must be classified as totally disabled in order to receive permanent disability benefits, it does not mean that the person cannot be employed. It means that the person cannot earn more than the substantial gainful activity (SGA) allowance for a given year. The SGA is updated regularly in order to adequately reflect the current economy.
According to reports released by the Social Security Administration, around 33 percent of all claims are denied due to errors made during the application process. For this reason, it is recommended that a person seek the assistance of an advocate or attorney before filing an application.