How to Qualify for Massachusetts Social Security Disability BenefitsNobody plans to become disabled, but when it happens to you and you can no longer work, fears can arise. How will you pay the bills? Can anyone help you? Fortunately for all Americans, the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) disability program was developed to answer these questions and fears.
Applying for disability in Massachusetts is not a simple process. In order to qualify for benefits, you must meet the SSA definition of disability and have worked long enough, and recently enough, under Social Security. Let’s look at both.
The SSA definition of disability includes the following guidelines:
- You must be totally disabled. You cannot receive benefits for partial or short-term disability.
- You cannot do the work you did before your disability.
- You cannot adjust to another type of work.
- Your disability has lasted or is predicted to last for at least one year or is expected to result in death.
Work credits also determine your eligibility for SSA disability.
Once you have met the criteria for the SSA definition of disability, the second consideration is work credits. Generally, you need to have worked and paid into Social Security to gain work credits and qualify for disability benefits. But how much and for how long?
Here is some information about SSA disability work credit requirements:
- Work credits are based on the amount of work you have done and your age when you became disabled.
- There is some leniency for workers who become disabled at a younger age.
- If you become disabled before you are 24, you will need six credits, or about one and a half years of work over a three-year period.
- If you become disabled at ages 24 – 30, you will generally need work credits for half the time between the time you turned 21 and the time you became disabled.
- The time period within which you earned work credits is also a factor. Generally, you will need to have earned 20 credits within the past 10 years, ending the year you became disabled.
- The amount of earnings required for disability benefits changes each year. In 2012, you will receive one credit for each $1,130 you earn, up to a maximum of four credits per year.
- In general, the older you are when you become disabled, the more credits you will need. For example, a person who is disabled at age 44 needs 22 credits and five years of work. Those disabled at age 62 or older will need 40 credits and ten years of work. The SSA provides a chart on its website explaining this in detail.
Because of the complex nature of the Social Security program and requirements, you may be confused about applying for disability in Massachusetts. This is perfectly natural. You might want to consult an SSA disability specialist to help you sort out the process.
Keefe Disability Law offers a free consultation to anyone who has questions and/or problems with SSA disability. We would love to speak to you. We offer you three free options for dealing with your problems:
- Give us a call toll free at 888-904-6847 to speak to a specialist.
- Fill out the confidential form on this page for a quick response.
- Order our free report, Five Most Frequently Asked Questions About Social Security Disability.