How Do I Know if I am Eligible to Apply?

Art: Robin Mead

Social Security has two different disability programs. They are called SSI and SSDI. Most people are eligible for at least one of these programs.

If someone at Social Security (or anyone anywhere ever) has told you that you are not eligible to apply for disability, look here for ways you can qualify even when someone told you that you can’t.

If you are not sure if you are eligible, and you don’t want to read the rest of this page, you don’t have to! Just go ahead and apply. Social Security will tell you which program you are eligible for.

If you want to read this page, you may.


Many people get strange ideas in their head about what is required to apply for Social Security. Sometimes these strange ideas come from lawyers, Social Workers or someone who works at Social Security!

Forget everything you have been told, here is what you need to apply:

One: Severe Condition

You must have a severe condition. You do not need to be in a wheelchair or bedridden. but your condition needs to be bad enough that you would be unable to work full time.

Two: Twelve Months Expected

Your condition must be expected to last at least twelve months. Some people think that you have to be out of work for twelve months before you can apply. Not true! You can be out of work for twelve minutes when you apply.

If you have been disabled for less than twelve months, you can apply right now if you and your doctor anticipate that you will still be disabled when the twelve-month point hits.

Three: No Work or Little Work

You need to be not working right now, or you can be working but earning under $1,180 per month.

Some disability lawyers report that working while applying makes it harder to get approved, but it is still possible. Learn more about How to Apply for Disability While Working.

If you are working, please also check with your employer to see if they offer private disability benefits you can apply for.

Four: Medical Records for Something or Other

Realistically, in order to have a chance to be approved, you need some kind of medical records and medical evidence.

That does not mean you need to have your diagnosis totally figured out. Some people are able to get approved even if they have conflicting diagnoses, or unclear diagnosis, or if they have been to a million doctors and no one can figure out what is causing all their symptoms.

For conditions like Lyme, MCS, and toxic mold, many people are approved based on medical evidence for some of their symptoms, rather than the underlying condition.

Five: One of These Things

You must have one of these:

A) You are poor enough or

B) You worked enough and paid enough taxes

You don’t need both. Just one.

How poor is poor enough? How much work is enough work? See more details here: Do I Qualify for SSI? SSDI? Both? Neither?

If someone has told you that you are not poor enough or you have not worked enough, once again, take a look here for ways you can qualify even when someone told you that you can’t.

Six: ?

There is no six. If someone is telling you that something else is required, they are confused.


If you are disabled from illness and you are eligible for anything at all, you can go ahead and start your application.

Please don’t wait and don’t get bogged down trying to learn about complex eligibility policies and regulations. Some people get so caught up in all this other crap, they give up and never even apply!

Social Security disability has a time limit. If you wait too long, you may have less options or no options. If you are too sick to continue working and you have decided that disability is the right path for you… you can start your application now. You can figure out the other stuff later. How and Where to Apply for Social Security Disability

You can also check and see if there are any other disability programs you are eligible for: How to Apply for Disability 17 Times

Please comment below with stories, ideas, questions or suggestions. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working. 

Updated May 2018. If you found this page helpful, please share it with others by pressing one of these magic little buttons: 

3 thoughts on “How Do I Know if I am Eligible to Apply?”

  1. This website has been a greater help than my attorney. It taught me how to advocate for myself. You really helped me and I’m trying to pay it forward


  2. Thank you for all the answers and direction on filing for SSI or SSDI. It really and truly helped me to answer the questions correctly and to be specific.
    Again, I am very thankful for this help. Better than any I’ve received and the narratives and scenarios are pleasant.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s