Social Security Disability–Do I Qualify?

By: James R. Burn, Jr.

Many clients who call this office with questions about Social Security disability benefits think that they have to be unable to do anything at all, practically trapped in their own homes, to qualify for Social Security disability benefits. This is not the case.

To qualify for benefits, you have to be totally and completely disabled from “any and all substantial gainful activity.” This does not mean that you cannot live your life. This does not mean that you can’t socialize or even attempt to hold down a job. This means you cannot work.

The older we get, the less restrictive the laws can be in order for a person to qualify. For example, for a person in their 20s to qualify, they would probably have to be completely restricted from any work from their doctors. However, the same person with the same injury in their mid-to-late 50s with light-duty restrictions would be able to make an argument that they are entitled to benefits.

The important thing is to pick up the phone and ask for an evaluation of your situation. For every call that we receive to see if the person calling qualifies, it is sad to know that many other people simply chose not to pick up the phone. There is no obligation to ask the question, “Do I qualify”?



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