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When is an illness severe enough to qualify you for SSDI benefits?

On Behalf of Christian Ayers
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Chronic medical conditions, degenerative diseases and even acquired illnesses can all have a drastic impact on your quality of life. You may not be able to keep doing the job you once did. In fact, you may need regular medical support just to comply with your treatment plan for your condition.

When an illness is severe enough that it keeps you from working, you may have no choice but to seek disability benefits. Do you have to have private disability insurance, or is an illness enough to qualify you for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits?

In order to qualify, an illness needs to be severe

While there are certain medical conditions more likely to receive quick approval for SSDI benefits, no specific condition has a guarantee of approval or denial. Medical conditions differ in their severity and effect. One person could have a slow onset of a degenerative condition, while someone else could go from not realizing they had a condition to being unable to live independently in a matter of months.

Even those with unique or rare conditions or an unusually aggressive form of a typically mild condition can qualify for SSDI benefits. They will need to have medical records that show how significantly the condition affects their daily life.

If your illness is enough to prevent you from getting out of bed or managing your house on your own, it may also be severe enough to keep you from working. The more documentation you have about the impact of the condition on your daily life, the easier it will be for you to qualify based on its seriousness.

Medical professionals have to expect a long-term impact

Some illnesses can be truly debilitating and still not qualify someone for SSDI benefits. If the condition means that you have to stay completely immobilized in the hospital for three months and undergo six months of therapy but will then end, you will not qualify for SSDI benefits.

A qualifying condition must last at least a year or the rest of your life to qualify for benefits. You don’t have to wait a year to apply, but you will need medical documentation showing that the condition will persist for 12 months or longer.

The only other major restriction on who qualifies for SSDI benefits relates to payroll contributions during your working life. You will likely have had enough payments into Social Security as an employee to qualify. Unfortunately, there are situations where even qualified applicants don’t get the benefits they need. Getting help with your application could make the process easier, and those who must appeal a denial may also require support.