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Do I Need to Have Been Injured at Work to be Eligible for Social Security Disability?

Social Security Disability Benefits

Workplace injuries are typically covered by your state’s worker's compensation systems, not the social security disability program. Social Security disability is a completely separate federal program, so you don't have to have been injured at work to qualify for benefits. Here’s what you need to know about eligibility for Social Security disability.

Do I need to have been injured at work to be eligible for Social Security Disability?

Social Security Disability

To receive social security disability benefits, you must meet two criteria. First, you must have worked in jobs covered by Social Security and earned sufficient “work credits.” You earn work credits whenever you work in a job and pay social security taxes. In 2020, for example, you will receive one credit for each $1,410 earned, with a maximum of 4 credits earned per year. The credits you earn stay on your record even if you change jobs or have no earnings for a period. Typically, you need about 40 credits to qualify for Social Security disability benefits.

Second, you must meet the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) definition of disability to qualify for benefits. The SSA determines whether you meet this definition by assessing the severity of your physical condition and your ability to work in your current job or any job. It also examines whether your ailment falls under a list of medical conditions that it considers severe enough to prevent you from working. If your medical condition isn’t on the list, you still may be eligible for benefits if the SSA finds your illness to be severe.

Thus, you may receive Social Security disability benefits for an injury that arose out of a workplace injury, but it is not a requirement. Note also that social security only pays for total disabilities, not partial or temporary ones.

If you have a work injury that has rendered you fully, partially, or temporarily disabled, you should speak with a personal injury attorney to determine the best course of action for you to obtain the benefits you need and deserve.

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