Non-Medical Requirements for Disability Benefits

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Before assessing the severity of a disability applicant's medical impairment, the SSA will look at whether the applicant is working and, if so, whether the applicant is earning too much income to be considered disabled. In addition, for SSDI (the disability program for workers who have paid Social Security taxes), the applicant has to be eligible for payments from the Social Security trust fund. For SSI (the low-income, needs-based disability benefit), the SSA will also look at the applicant's family income and assets to see if they are over the limits. And for non-U.S. citizens, the SSA will look to see if the applicant is in a qualifying alien category.