Am I Eligible to Apply for Disability?

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.

Many people get strange ideas in their head about what is required to apply for Social Security. Sometimes these strange ideas come from doctors, 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 severe 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: Not Working (Or Not Working Too Much)

It is generally considered easier to get approved if you are not working at all right now.

However, it is still possible to apply if you are working and earning under a specific amount per month.

Four: Medical Records 

Technically, you can apply even if you have no medical records. However, it would be really hard to get approved. It will help a lot to have some kind of medical evidence and record of your disabling symptoms.

This does not mean your health needs to be totally figured out! You do not need to wait until you have the perfect doctor and the perfect diagnosis. You can apply now and continue to figure out your health mysteries while you are applying or after you are approved.

If you are unable to get to the doctor because of lack of money, insurance, transportation, assistance or being homebound: “I Cannot Get to the Doctor”

Five: “Non-Medical” Eligibility

Non-medical eligibility usually means one of these things:

  1. You’ve worked enough or
  2. You are poor enough or
  3. You found some other way to qualify

Don’t worry if you don’t understand the list above. You don’t need to! You can just go apply. Social Security will tell you what you qualify for. If you want to learn more or if someone told you that you are not eligible: What Will I Qualify for? SSI? SSDI? Both? Neither?

Six: ????

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

Thanks for Reading

🌷 This page is part of the free online guide: The Sleepy Girl Guide to Social Security Disability 

🌷 What else can you apply for? Other Forms of Disability 

🌷 Art on this page by Robin Mead and Elizabeth D’Angelo.

🌷 Please let us know if any links on this page stop working.

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

12 thoughts on “Am I Eligible to Apply for Disability?”

  1. Hi, I was diagnosed with stage 3 kidney desease and an enlarged heart about a year ago. I take 5 different life sustaining meds and two of themake me feel tired and I’m unable to concentrate it bend,stoop or lift anything over 25 pounds. I’ve told my doctor but he blows it of Everytime I tell him. It’s cost me my job. I’m worried I’ll be denied if I apply for either ssdi or ssi. What do you recommend? Thank you for sharing your thoughts.


  2. I can’t find anything, anywhere, that addresses my specific situation. Hopefully, you can. I have Cerebral Palsy. It’s due to the manner in which I was cared for when i was born. As a result of this, I was awarded a settlement. It was placed in a Trust fund until I turned eighteen. At which time, I was given control of the money. I have been attempting to find out if I qualify for S.S.I. or S.S.D.I. However, I’ve been unsuccessful for the longest time. I usually seem to be not disabled enough, or too disabled, for programs and other forms of aide. Thank you for your time, in advance.


    1. Hi travis,

      I can give you more info if you want to let me know any of these things:

      Have you tried applying for social security? What happened?

      Have you worked and paid into social security?

      Also, are either of your parents deceased, retired or disabled?

      Is the trust paying you out in installments, or a lump sum?


  3. I filed back in 2015 But I worked part time and went with an avacott group.
    They told me I could refile because I was denied after fighting for 2 yrs. Now I can’t work at all and I have refiled with a lawyer.
    I never made over the amount I was suppose to and had tons wrong with me the first time. So my advise to anyone is don’t work. The only thing that has saved me is I was old enough to draw my Social Security but I took a big cut by drawing at age 62. So wish everyone luck and please wish me luck this time.


  4. 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.


  5. 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


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 )

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s