Who’s Eligible for Disability?

Disability is a term used to describe any physical or mental condition that hinders an individual’s ability to perform daily tasks. Disabilities may be caused by several factors including accidents, illnesses, or genetic disorders. People with disabilities require special assistance to help them navigate the challenges that come with their condition. In this article, we will look at who is eligible for disability, the various types of disabilities, and some frequently asked questions about disability.

Who’s Eligible for Disability?

Disability eligibility is determined by the government through social security disability programs. To be considered eligible, individuals must meet the following criteria:

Physical or Mental Impairment

The first criterion for disability eligibility is that the individual must have a physical or mental impairment. The impairment must be severe enough to significantly hinder their ability to work and perform daily activities.

Duration of Impairment

The next criterion is that the impairment must be long-term, meaning it has lasted or is expected to last for at least 12 months. If the impairment is not long-term, then the individual may not be eligible for disability benefits.

Age Requirement

The age requirement is another criterion for disability eligibility. The individual must be younger than the retirement age, typically 65 years or older. If the individual is of retirement age or older, then they may not be eligible for disability benefits.

Work Credits

Finally, the individual must have enough work credits. Work credits are earned based on an individual’s work history and the amount of taxes they have paid. Generally, the individual must have earned at least 20 work credits in the past ten years or have worked for a minimum of five years out of the last ten.

Types of Disabilities

There are various types of disabilities, including:

Physical Disabilities

Physical disabilities are impairments that affect the body’s physical functions, including movement, vision, or hearing. Examples of physical disabilities include cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, amputations, and spinal cord injuries.

Mental Disabilities

Mental disabilities refer to any condition that affects mental functions, including memory, concentration, and comprehension. Examples of mental disabilities include bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia, and anxiety disorders.

Intellectual Disabilities

Intellectual disabilities refer to any condition that affects an individual’s cognitive abilities. Examples of intellectual disabilities include Down syndrome, brain injuries, and genetic disorders.

Sensory Disabilities

Sensory disabilities refer to any condition that affects an individual’s senses, including vision, hearing, taste, and smell. Examples of sensory disabilities include blindness, hearing loss, and deafness.

How to Apply for Disability

To apply for disability, individuals must complete an application form provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The application form may be submitted online, by mail or in person. When applying for disability, the following information is required:

Personal Information

The individual’s name, date of birth, social security number, and contact information.

Medical Information

A list of the individual’s medical conditions, doctors’ names, and contact information, including hospitals and clinics where the individual has received treatment.

Work Information

A list of work history, including the employer’s name, address, job title, and dates of employment.

What to Expect After Applying for Disability

After submitting the application, the individual may have to appear for a medical evaluation. The evaluation is conducted by a doctor or medical professional to assess the individual’s physical or mental condition. If the medical professional determines that the individual’s condition is severe enough, the claimant may qualify for disability benefits.

The SSA may take up to five months to process disability applications. If the application is approved, the claimant will begin receiving disability benefits. If the application is denied, the individual may appeal the decision within 60 days of receiving a decision.

Frequently Asked Questions About Disability

Here are some frequently asked questions about disability:

  • What is disability?
  • What are the eligibility criteria for disability?
  • What types of disabilities are there?
  • How do I apply for disability?
  • What happens after I apply for disability?
  • If my initial disability application is denied, can I appeal?
  • How long does it take to receive disability benefits?
  • Can I work and still receive disability benefits?

In conclusion, disability is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide. To be eligible for disability benefits, the individual must meet specific criteria set by the government. Individuals with disabilities require special assistance to cope with the challenges that come with their condition. If you are experiencing a disability or know someone who is, seek help from qualified professionals.


1. Social Security Administration. (2021). Understanding The Benefits. Retrieved from https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/disability/

2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Disability Impairment Types. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/disabilityandhealth/types.html

3. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. (2021). Cerebral Palsy Information Page. Retrieved from https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Cerebral-Palsy-Information-Page

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