Social Security Disability (SSD) is the part of the Social Security Program that provides disability insurance benefits to wage earners who become totally disabled to perform any work activity as a result of a medical impairment. In order to qualify for Social Security Disability, a disabled worker must have worked long enough and paid enough Social Security taxes. As a general rule, a worker must have worked within the last five years in order to have paid enough Social Security taxes to qualify for the program. However, if you have not worked consistently, or have not worked at all, you may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) which covers individuals who are disabled but have not paid in enough Social Security taxes to qualify for Social Security disability. To be eligible, an applicant for Social Security Disability benefits must establish that he or she is completely unable to perform any work within the national economy as a result of a medical impairment. The standard for medical disability is a high standard and is often difficult to meet. Social Security does not consider whether a particular employer has turned you down for a job. It will not consider the fact that employers in your particular region are not hiring for the type of work you are accustomed to performing. Social Security's rules and regulations for deciding disability is extremely complex and the factors applied in assessing credibility are full of nuances. Most applicants are advised to have counsel with them at the hearing to assist in the presentation of their case. It is vitally important that the counsel
have the necessary experience and knowledge of Social Security law and procedures.