If you have paid into a Social Security Disability Insurance program through your employer and a debilitating injury or medical issue prevents you from continuing to work, you may qualify for SSD benefits. However, the Social Security Administration has strict eligibility requirements. In 2018, the SSA denied 65% of initial disability claims and 85% of claims under appeal. 

If you are under the age of 50, qualifying for disability benefits may be even more challenging. That is because the SSA generally assumes that younger applicants are more likely to be able to retrain for another job, even if a medical condition keeps them from doing the same type of work as before an injury or illness. In order to receive SSD benefits, you must be able to demonstrate strong evidence that your condition keeps you from any kind of employment. 

Meeting basic SSD qualifications 

To be eligible for SSD you must be at least 18, not presently receiving Social Security benefits and have a debilitating medical condition that is either terminal or expected to last for at least one year. A claim is more likely to be successful if you were working for several years just prior to becoming injured or ill. 

Making a strong disability claim 

You must also be able to make a strong case that your condition is fully debilitating. The SSA will consider a wide range of information when considering your claim, but medical records relating to your condition are the most important component of a successful SSD application. When you file, the SSA will request specific details about diagnoses, treatments and prescriptions, including: 

  • Contact information and dates of treatment for all physicians, hospitals and other care facilities you have visited 
  • Names and side effects of medications you are taking for your condition and who prescribed them 
  • Names of medical tests you have undergone and who ordered them 

In addition to medical records, you may also request your doctor provide a statement confirming that your condition is debilitating and prevents you from present and future employment.