Retired man in his wheelchairWhen trying to determine whether you are eligible for Social Security disability benefits, ask yourself:

  1. Has my medical condition lasted for a year or is it expected to last for a year?
    Even if your condition improved after a year and you have since returned to work you may be eligible for a closed period of benefits. Closed periods are frequently used when an individual has undergone a surgery which required a recovery period of a year or longer before being released to return to work.
  2. Am I currently working?
    If you wish to qualify for benefits you must not be engaging in what the Social Security Administration calls “substantial gainful activity.” If you are currently working full time and earn over approximately $1,040 a month, you are engaging in substantial gainful activity and are disqualified from receiving benefits. However if you are working part time and earning less than $1,040 a month, or working under special conditions, you may still be eligible for benefits.
  3. Have my conditions and symptoms been documented by physicians?
    When pursuing claims for Social Security disability it helps when an individual has been receiving or at least attempting to receive some treatment. If you are not receiving treatment, we would be happy to recommend a free clinic in your area.
  4. Is there any work that I can perform 8 hours a day, 5 days a week?
    Finally, even if you are unable to perform your past work because of your medical condition, this does not automatically mean you are disabled. It is important to ask yourself if there is any work that you can perform 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.

Feel free to contact our Social Security team at the Joye Law firm if you have any questions regarding your eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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