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The Qualifications You Need to Meet to File for Social Security Disability

Wheelchair in the middle of the road

When you become severely physically or mentally disabled or too medically ill to perform your job, you have the option of filing for Social Security Disability in Arkansas. While this program is designed to help workers who have become long-term or permanently disabled, a strict set of qualifications and processes can sometimes work against you if you are not prepared. Learning more about Social Security Disability and how it works can help you understand the process and get the benefits you deserve.


Social Security Disability (SSD) is offered to workers who have become injured or ill prior to retirement age. This type of Social Security is awarded based on your disability: if you are unable to work for longer than a year or are permanently disabled, you could qualify for monthly benefits. To receive this benefit, you must pass specific earnings tests and have a medical condition that is considered to be a permanent disability by the Social Security Administration.


If you work and pay taxes through your employer, you are likely already paying into the Social Security system. In addition to paying into the program, to claim SSD you need to have earned a specific number of “work credits” to qualify. These credits are earned with age and work experience so that older applicants must have worked for more years. This determines the duration of work you were able to perform before and at the time of your diagnosis. Working five of the last 10 years will qualify most adults for the program, and younger workers may qualify with fewer work credits due to their shorter work history.

In order to meet Social Security Disability qualifications, you must be unable to work or perform the job you had before your injury or illness. You also must not be able to be trained to perform other work, either in your field or another field because of your disability. In order to qualify, your disability must be expected to last for at least a year and you will need to meet five basic requirements:

  • Are you currently working?  If you are currently working and earning over $1,000 a month, you are not considered disabled enough for SSD. This program is for people who have not been able to work at all or have been disabled for a long time.
  • How severe is your condition?  Your disability, injury, or illness must be severe enough to prevent you from performing your job at all.
  • Is your condition on the list of allowed disabilities?  The Social Security Administration maintains a list of severe disabilities that qualify you for SSD.
  • Can you perform the work you have done in the past?  If your disability is on the qualifications list, but you can still perform your job, you may not qualify for benefits.
  • Can you perform another job?  If you cannot perform your previous type of job, would you be able to do something else? You qualify for disability if you are unable to do other work in addition to your regular or former tasks.

If you meet all of the stated requirements regarding your disability, you should be eligible for SSD benefits. But being eligible and actually receiving benefits are two different things. The application process is complex and lengthy, so hiring a Social Securitydisability attorney in Arkansas can improve your odds of getting the benefits you deserve.

If you are disabled and struggling with claiming the Social Security Disability benefits you deserve, we can help. Contact the Social Security Disability attorneys at Caddell Reynolds at (800) 889-6944 to set up a free consultation.