Most Ohioans expect to contribute and work until retirement age. For many of our readers, that will be the case. However, there are millions of Americans who get injured or suffer from a serious illness, which takes them out of the workforce and keeps them there. For these disabled individuals, there may be an option to gain some measure of financial security: Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.

But, Ohio residents who may be thinking about applying for SSD benefits will need to make sure that they understand the eligibility requirements for this program. For starters, our readers should understand that SSD benefits are not “welfare.” These benefits are not some kind of government handout. No, these benefits are earned by those who participate in the workforce and pay into the SSD benefits trust fund out of their weekly paychecks. Workers who have a disability have every right to rely upon these benefits if they become disabled.

First, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will check an applicant’s eligibility based on “work credits.” While different for each applicant, there is a set amount of time that the applicant must have participated in the workforce to meet the employment part of the eligibility requirements.

Next, the SSA will look at the disability in question. Applicants for SSD benefits need to submit sufficient medical evidence to confirm that the disability is severe enough that the worker will be out of the workforce for at least 12 months or longer because of the issue, or that the disability is expected to result in death. In addition, the disability must be significant enough that, even if the worker cannot return to his original position of employment, he also cannot be reasonably expected to perform any other job either.