Your eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits depends on the nature of your illness or injury and how it prevents you from working. The Social Security Administration reviews your work history to determine whether you could earn income by performing another job.
As described on the SSA’s website, an examiner looks at the skills you acquired through your prior employment responsibilities. The qualification process will also consider your education and any vocational training you completed. If you could apply any of your skills or training to another position, your medical condition may not classify as severe enough to qualify for SSDI benefits.
Skills and training reviewed for transferability
The SSA generally examines the past 15 years of your employment history. By providing a description of the duties you performed and the equipment or machinery used, the SSA can evaluate your ability to perform another job. You will also need to specify if your work involved supervising other employees and how much you relied upon independent judgment in your work.
For example, if your work required you to lift heavy boxes and operate a forklift in a warehouse, a back or neck injury could prevent you from performing your job tasks. If, however, your experience enables you to work in a different position monitoring warehouse employees on a computer workstation, you may not have a serious enough disability to qualify for SSDI.
Expected length of disability considered
To receive SSDI benefits, your medical condition also needs to last for at least one year. If you could return to your former job or if your acquired skills could enable you to find another one within the next 12 months, the SSA may deny your application.