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Government facilitated benefits like those coming from Social Security exist to give you financial room to breathe when it feels the walls are closing in after developing a disability or otherwise debilitating condition. If you or a loved one have never sought Social Security disability benefits, it may seem at first to be a confusing or daunting task. Will you receive enough aid? How do you know whether you will be approved?

Thankfully, the Social Security Administration (SSA) managing these programs is quite clear about what they are looking for in an application.

How disabled are you?

Among the factors they will consider, the SSA assesses the circumstances surrounding your disability in relation to the time frame and your ability to work. Because Social Security pays for “total disability,” your disabling condition must prevent you from:

  • Working in the same duties as you had before
  • Adjusting to a new position
  • Working for a year or more

Note also that there is another important element the SSA will consider, and that has to do with your working credits.

Social Security working credits

Social Security does not cover all jobs. Your qualification for disability benefits will depend on whether your job is covered as well as how many work credits you have accumulated during your time working for a benefit-eligible job. The usual amount needed is around 40 credits. Of those 40, 20 credits should have accumulated in the decade prior to your disability.

There are, of course, other factors that go into whether you qualify. Age will play a factor, for example. You will also need to make sure your application is clear and accurate.