Reasons to Apply for Disability Benefits From Social Security

Why should you apply for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (either Social Security disability or SSI disability)? The monthly cash benefits are the main reason disability claimants apply. But you'll also qualify for medical benefits. SSI recipients get Medicaid right away, and SSDI recipients get Medicare after two years. A good percentage of disability applicants apply for disability benefits just so they can get medical care.

As to when it is worth your while to file disability claim, here are two lists that should help you decide whether to apply.

Reasons to Apply for Social Security Disability

If all of the following apply to you, you should file for disability benefits.

  • You have a mental or physical condition that is severe.
  • You expect your medical condition to last for at least a full year, or longer.
  • Your condition is severe enough that it prevents you from working and earning more than $1,170 per month (or $1,950 if you're blind). This is the 2017 "SGA" level.

If you believe your condition will be of an extended duration (12 months or longer) and will prevent you from earning what SGA, or substantial gainful activity, you should probably contact your nearest Social Security office and initate a claim. Don't hesitate to do this because the time required to receive a decision on a disability claim can be lengthy, and your medical condition may worsen by then.

Reasons NOT to Apply for Social Security Disability

  • Your doctor doesn't believe your condition is severe.
  • Your condition is expected to be temporary (less than one year).
  • You are able to earn over $1,170 per month in some fashion (even though you think you should get benefits because you can't work full-time or earn as much as you used to).
  • You haven't worked enough to be eligible for SSDI, but your family income or assets are too high for SSI.

Learn more about medical and financial eligibility for SSDI and SSI benefits.

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