What Are the Other Requirements for Disability in 2023 Besides Medical?

Being diagnosed with a disabling condition can be overwhelming, and the question of financial support often arises. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) offers two programs to help individuals with disabilities: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

While the medical aspects of qualifying for these benefits are crucial, there are also non-medical requirements you need to meet. This article explores the key non-medical considerations for both SSI and SSDI in 2023.

Demystifying Non-Medical Requirements for Disability Benefits

The non-medical requirements for disability benefits differ between SSI and SSDI due to the programs’ underlying philosophies. SSI is a needs-based program, meaning it considers your financial resources. SSDI, on the other hand, is work history-based, focusing on your past work and earning potential.

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Non-Medical Requirements for SSDI: Earning Your Eligibility

To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must meet specific non-medical criteria in addition to your medical disability. These criteria assess your ability to work and your work history. Here’s a breakdown of the key points:

  • Work Credits: You need sufficient work credits earned throughout your working life. These credits are based on your wages or self-employment income, with a maximum of 4 credits earned per year. The exact number of credits required depends on your age when you become disabled.
  • Work History: You must be unable to perform your past jobs and any other work existing in the national economy that aligns with your skills and limitations.
  • Earnings Limit: If you’re earning more than a certain amount per month (known as Substantial Gainful Activity or SGA), you generally won’t be considered disabled for SSDI purposes. In 2023, the SGA limit is $1,470 per month ($2,460 for individuals who are blind).
  • Citizenship (with Exceptions): U.S. citizenship is typically a requirement for SSDI benefits. However, exceptions exist for non-citizens who have earned the necessary work credits and have legal residency status in the U.S.

Important Note: If you have vision limitations, special program rules may apply. Even if your vision problems alone don’t prevent you from working, they might qualify you for benefits when combined with other disabling conditions.

Non-Medical Requirements for SSI: Demonstrating Financial Need

What Are the Other Requirements for Disability in 2023 Besides Medical?

Unlike SSDI, SSI focuses on your financial resources. Here are the key non-medical considerations for SSI eligibility:

  • Disability Severity: Your disability must be considered “severe” by the SSA, meaning it limits your ability to work for at least one year or is expected to result in death.
  • Earnings Limit: Similar to SSDI, SSI also has an SGA limit. You cannot be making more than $1,470 per month in 2023 to qualify for SSI benefits ($2,460 for those who are blind).
  • Work Capacity: You must be unable to perform any past or present jobs you held, and you cannot perform any work existing in the national economy that aligns with your skills and limitations.
  • Resource Limit: SSI is a needs-based program, so your countable resources (assets like bank accounts, investments, and certain vehicles) cannot exceed $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for a couple.
  • Citizenship Requirement: U.S. citizenship is mandatory to receive SSI benefits.

Medical vs. Non-Medical Disability: Understanding the Distinction

The distinction between medical and non-medical disability requirements is crucial. Here’s a simplified breakdown:

  • Medical Disability: This refers to the diagnosis of your disability based on medical records from your doctor, specialist, therapist, and other healthcare providers.
  • Non-Medical Disability: This encompasses factors like your work history, financial resources, citizenship status, and other non-medical aspects that influence your eligibility for benefits.

The SSA and their state agency, Disability Determination Services (DDS), will thoroughly review your medical records to determine your medical disability status. In appeal situations, an Administrative Law Judge might be involved.

Non-medical disability determination, on the other hand, focuses on your financial situation, work history, citizenship, and other non-medical factors.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Non-Medical Disability Requirements

1. Can I receive both SSDI and SSI benefits?

Yes, in some cases, you may be eligible for benefits under both programs concurrently. The SSA refers to this situation as “concurrent benefits.”

2. What does a non-medical denial mean?

If your application is denied due to factors like work history, finances, or citizenship status, it’s considered a non-medical denial. Similar to medical

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