Rules for Social Security Disability Benefits

by Sherrie Scott ; Updated July 27, 2017
Social Security disability benefits are the primary source of income for many Americans.

Social Security Disability Insurance is designed to protect workers if they become disabled and incapable of performing their job duties. The U.S. Social Security Administration determines the rules and eligibility requirements for American workers who are permanently unable to work because of a disability.

Definition

According to the U.S. Social Security Administration, people are considered disabled and possibly eligible for disability benefits if they “cannot do the work they did before,” if the disability is expected to “last at least a year or result in death,” and if the administration determines that the insured “cannot adjust to other work because of the medical condition.”

Benefit Eligibility

Individuals may be eligible for disability benefits if they “have worked in jobs covered by Social Security.” Workers pay Social Security taxes throughout their employment career. Once retirement age is reached, the worker is eligible to begin receiving benefits based on the number of years he paid into the pool. If a worker becomes disabled before retirement age, in some cases he can receive disability benefits until he can return to work.

Other Benefits

Family members of disabled workers also may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. Spouses, ex-spouses and dependent children can obtain benefits up to certain limits. According to the Social Security Administration, eligible family members can obtain “up to 50 percent of your disability rate.”

About the Author

Sherrie Scott is a freelance writer in Las Vegas with articles appearing on various websites. She studied political science at Arizona State University and her education has inspired her to write with integrity and seek precision in all that she does.

Photo Credits

  • disabled retrieval arm. image by mdb from Fotolia.com