If you are unable to work because of a debilitating medical condition, you may be able to apply for disability insurance. The social security administration includes a wide variety of conditions, each with separate criteria for qualification, that apply to people both over and under the age of 18.
Most people suffer from illness or injury at some point in their life, but of course not every condition is disabling. The social security administration considers a disability to be any condition which is severe enough to prevent someone from working to earn an income sufficient to live on (this livable income is defined by the government). Although your chronic or intense pain may feel severe to you, there are somewhat subjective, but still strict, standards for what the government defines as “severe”.
A condition that may qualify you for disability benefits is considered severe if it interferes with your normal daily life, making it extremely difficult or impossible to work, for one year or more. Being unable to work for a year is not enough to automatically qualify, however: the ability to temporarily or permanently do other work to support yourself is also taken into account. This also includes the ability go back to a job you have performed within the last fifteen years. Most claims are denied because they do not meet this criteria, and the claimant does not have enough mental or physical limitations to prevent a change of work or a return to prior work.
All claims come under review, which can be a long and arduous process. Medical evidence, including records and doctor’s statements, will be examined, along with work history; based on this, the claimant will receive a rating for their level of disability. Non-medical factors like financial resources will also be taken into account.
The types of impairments that can be considered for disability insurance qualification are divided into broad categories that include: digestive, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, endocrine, immune, mental or neurological, and skin conditions. This is not an exhaustive list, and specific conditions can be found on the social security administration’s website.