What Qualifies Me for Social Security Disability Benefits?

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Posted by Corey Luedeman

The rules for whether you qualify for Iowa Social Security Disability Benefits can be complex. You might be eligible for one of two different kinds of benefits – Disability Insurance Benefits or Supplemental Security Income.  In order to receive these benefits, there are basically two requirements:

1. You Must Be Disabled

The Social Security Administration has its own definition of what “disabled” means. It’s a strict definition, which is why getting Social Security Disability benefits can be a long and complicated process.

When the Social Security Administration says that you must be “disabled,” it means you must have a severe medical impairment or impairments that prevent you from doing the work you used to do and that also prevent you from performing a new job.   These impairments can be physical, mental, or both.

2. You Must Have Either a Solid Work History or a Significant Financial Need

If you have been working, you have been paying a part of your salary into the Social Security Disability system. The law says you can get Disability Insurance Benefits if both of the following statements are true:

  • You have paid into the Social Security system while you were working.
  • You became disabled and unable to work at a substantial gainful activity level before your work credits expired.

How much you receive will depend on how much you paid into the system while you were working.  The easiest way to know if you’ve paid enough into the system to qualify for benefits is to review your Social Security statement. You can read how to get this statement in our free Law Guide to Iowa Social Security Disability Claims, which you can download from our website.  You can also call us at 1-319-774-1542 and we will send you a hard copy through the mail, if you prefer.

If you haven’t worked in a long time, or didn’t work for very long while you were employed, you may not qualify for Disability Insurance Benefits.  However, you may qualify for Supplemental Security Income, or SSI.  SSI is intended to provide some minimum financial support to those with great financial need who also meet SSA the definition of disabled.

To receive these types of benefits, you will have to show that you have significant financial need. This generally means that you have less than $2,000 in assets if you are single ($3,000 if married) and very little household income.

Every situation is different, but using these two requirements to evaluate your situation can help you determine whether or not you qualify.  If you still have questions after reading our guide or reading this blog, give us a call at 1-319-774-1542.  We will answer any questions you may have.

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