Despite it representing one of the foundational safety net programs that came out of the Great Depression, not every American qualifies for Social Security eligibility.
Whether you need financial assistance to live with a disability or have reached the retirement age established by the Social Security Administration (SSA), you might be on the list of Americans who cannot receive Social Security disability
A majority of Americans are denied disability for a variety of reasons.
Fail to Meet the Blue Book Standards
Published annually by the SSA, the Blue Book lists every medical condition that qualifies applicants for disability benefits. However, simply getting a medical condition approved for financial assistance is not enough for the SSA to approve your disability claim. You also have to meet the minimum guidelines set by the SSA for the severity of symptoms.
For example, if you have received a diagnosis for cancer, qualifying for disability benefits means you must live with disabling symptoms, such as the constant fatigue that is associated with chemotherapy treatments.
Not Enough Work Credits
You cannot receive Social Security benefits until you satisfy the work credits requirements established by the SSA. In 2022, the SSA awards one work credit for every $1,510 in income earned.
You have to earn 40 work credits over the course of your working career, but the SSA awards only four work credits per year. This means you have to wait at least 10 years to amass enough work credits to qualify for Social Security disability benefits.
Non-citizens of the United States
Many of the non-citizens that acquire work visas do not qualify for disability benefits. However, recent changes in the statutes that define the eligibility for Social Security benefits allow certain noncitizens to participate in the program.
For example, certain classes of non-citizens are eligible for the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program when they reach the 40 work credits required by the SSA. Immigrants that have not amassed 40 work credits might qualify for Social Security benefits if they are from one of the 30 nations the United States has established a relationship with for a Social Security agreement.
Self-Employed That Do Not Pay Taxes
Self-employed workers pay a self-employment tax to fulfill their Social Security contributions. If you are self-employed and have not paid your fair share of Social Security taxes, you can expect not to qualify for Social Security benefits.
You have to report income for you to receive the financial benefits provided by one or more of the programs managed by the SSA.
Can You Be Denied Disability Benefits
Although qualifying for retirement benefits is a straightforward process, the same cannot be said for disability benefits. A majority of claims for disability benefits come back denied by the SSA.
However, having your claim denied by the SSA does not mean the process for seeking financial assistance for a disability is done. You have the right to file an appeal for reconsideration and if that comes back denied, take your claim to an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
Find Help with Your Claim
The most effective way to improve your chances of becoming eligible for Social Security benefits involves hiring an attorney to help you file a persuasive claim. Most Social Security lawyers schedule a free case evaluation with potential clients to determine the best course of legal action.