To qualify for disability benefits, an individual must have a condition that can be considered a disability by Social Security and have been employed by a company covered by Social Security, notes the Social Security Administration. The individual must also be unable to work for at least a year.
A Social Security disability is defined as an injury in which the individual is unable to carry out the work they did before, in addition to an injury that lasts at least a year or can result in death, and the administration must judge that the individual is unable to perform any other type of work, notes the Social Security Administration. The individual must meet all three criteria in order to qualify for benefits. An individual can only receive disabilities if they are completely disabled. Short-term and partial disabilities do not qualify an individual to receive Social Security benefits, as of January 2015.
An individual who is on disability receives monthly benefits until they are able to regularly work again, says the Social Security Administration. Work incentives are unique rules that offer ongoing medical coverage and benefits to assist disabled individuals in making the transition back to work.
Disability benefits turn into retirement benefits for a person who is still receiving benefits when they reach the age of retirement, notes the Social Security Administration. The amount an individual receives remains unchanged.