What Is The Difference Between Medical and Non-Medical Disability?

Submitted by rsg on

To qualify for disability benefits, you need to meet both medical and non-medical disability requirements. Your application will be approved if you meet all the requirements set by the Social Security Administration (SSA). This includes your medical condition being listed in the SSA’s Blue Book, proof that you are unable to work for at least 12 months and that you have accumulated sufficient work credits when you were working to qualify for disability benefits.

What are the Medical Disability Benefits Requirements?

You must meet a Blue Book listing, which is a list of Impairments compiled by the SSA for each of the major body systems. Your impairment is only considered severe enough if it prevents you from taking part in any work and has lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months.

You’ll need medical evidence to prove you meet the listing and that it will keep you from working for at least 12 months.

What are the Non-Medical Disability Benefits Requirements?

The non-medical disability benefits requirements include accruing sufficient work credits before you became disabled. The number of work credits you need to qualify for disability benefits depends on your age when your disability commenced.

Generally, you will require 40 credits, 20 of which you need to have earned in the past 10 years ending with the year your disability started. However, younger workers could qualify with fewer credits. For example, if you are between the ages of 24 and 31 you may qualify if you have credit for working half the time between age 21 and the time your disability started.

If you develop a disability at 27 years, you will need 3 years of work (12 credits) out of the past 6 years (between ages 21 and 27). If you are 31 years or older typically you must have accumulated at least 20 credits in the 10-year period just before your disability started.

The SSA uses earnings guidelines to determine whether any work activity you do is Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). If you are working in 2024 and your earnings average more than $1,550 a month you generally will not qualify for disability benefits. If you are not working or are working but not to the SGA level your application will be forwarded to the Disability Determination Services (DDS) office that will make the decision about your eligibility for disability benefits.  

Get in Touch With a Disability Attorney

It is never easy winning a claim for disability benefits and most cases are denied at the initial application often because the medical condition isn’t severe enough to qualify for disability benefits. This is often because insufficient evidence about the medical condition has been provided. Fill out a Free Case evaluation today to get in touch with an independent, participating attorney who subscribes to the website.

Additional Resources

Add new comment

Find Out If I Qualify for Benefits!