Signs That You Will Be Approved for Disability Benefits

Disability Benefits

Social Security disability payments can make a huge difference in your quality of life. But getting the SSA to award you those payments is often quite challenging. According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), only 21% of people get benefits on the first try. More than two-thirds — 67% — result in denial, and a scant 10% receive benefits only after reconsideration or a hearing. To reduce your stress, we created this list of signs that you will be approved for disability coverage.

Top 4 Signs You’ll Be Approved for Social Security Disability Benefits

Let’s look at a few signs that the Social Security Administration will award you disability benefits:

1. You’ve worked enough (and paid into the system) through your payroll taxes.

You must have enough work credits based on your Social Security tax payments. The number of credits you need depends on your age and when your disability forces you to stop working.

  • Under 24 years old: You’ll need 6 credits in the 3-year period ending on the date your disability starts.
  • Between 24 and 31: You need credits equal to half the time you worked between age 21 and the date your disability begins.
  • Between 31 to 42: You’ll need at least 20 work credits before you stop working for health reasons.
  • Over 42: A sliding scale adds two credits for every two years to your requirement for 20 work credits total.
Do You Have Enough Social Security Work Credits?

While we’re talking about age, you may have a slight edge in disability approval if you’re over 50. That’s because you probably have plenty of work credits and your physical condition or additional training could keep you from doing certain jobs.

PRO TIP: Verify your credits by logging into your Social Security account.

2. You’re unable to work for at least one year.

This is one of the biggest signs that you will be approved for disability benefits. Why? Because it’s a key eligibility requirement for both SSI and SSDI disability payments. The SSA defines disability as “the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) which can be expected to result in death or which lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.” In other words, you must show you’re unable to work for at least a year.

Chronic conditions that require ongoing specialty medical care and are unlikely to improve much — like cancer, diabetes, obesity, and some autoimmune diseases —often qualify for benefits. You’re also more likely to get benefits if you required hospitalization for your condition during the past few years.

IMPORTANT: If you’re unable to work because of an injury or illness that happened on the job, you may qualify for workers’ compensation. Click here for a free evaluation.

3. You have strong, recent, and sufficient medical evidence that supports your claim.

Have a lot of documentation showing your condition interferes with your ability to perform daily activities? Great! If it prevents you from working and earning a living, they’re potentially signs that you will be approved for disability.

The SSA requires these types of medical evidence:

  • Statements from doctors, yourself, and others that explain your illnesses, injuries, and/or related health conditions. Be sure to include when these issues started; how they limit your activities; and conclusions from medical tests.
  • Information about your ability to do work related activities, such as walking, sitting, lifting, carrying, and understanding or remembering instructions. Remember, prescription or over-the-counter drug side effects may also limit your ability to complete your required job duties.
  • Digital versions or copies of your complete medical records, doctors’ reports, treatments, and recent test results. Anything from the past year should help but review your disability application paperwork with your doctor just in case.

PRO TIP: Keep a symptom diary and ask your doctor to do a residual functional capacity test. These documents show how your condition impacts your life.

You Must Submit Strong Recent Medical Evidence With Your Claim

4. You automatically meet certain job history and education thresholds.

According to the SSA, “you are not disabled according to our rules unless your illnesses, injuries or conditions prevent you from doing your past work or adjusting to other work. If you cannot do your past work, we look at your age, education, training, and work experience to see if you can do other kinds of work.”

Your education and training along with what type of work you can do should also factor in. You’re more likely to prevail if you mostly worked in physically demanding jobs. It’s also helpful if you don’t have the expertise or knowledge to take on other skilled jobs for which you have no relevant experience. Low literacy may also make your claim more likely to succeed.

Find out how to increase your chances of disability approval if you work a sedentary job.

How to Get Approved for Disability in Less Than 30 Days

The Compassionate Allowances List speeds up disability approval for 278 rare and terminal conditions. Almost everyone who files under this program (95%) receives approval in 10 to 14 days. CAL conditions the SSA automatically counts as qualifying disabilities include:

Having a CAL condition is one of the signs that you will be approved for disability faster than most people!

Is Receiving an Invite to Undergo a Medical Exam a Sign of Possible Disability Claim Approval?

No. Instead, it’s a sign that the SSA needs more information before determining your eligibility for monthly payments. This usually happens because you haven’t seen a doctor recently, or regularly. Other reasons might include:

  • Needing more detailed insights on your ability to move around, strength, and other factors that may keep you from working.
  • Investigating potential medical fraud.
  • Following regulations for required tests the SSA looks for during the medical screening process.
  • Congenital or related conditions that could potentially limit your ability to work in addition to the ones you already listed.

PRO TIP: Learn how to boost your chances of getting disability benefits even if you can’t afford medical care.

What if You're Invited to Undergo a Consultative Medical Exam?

How You Can Qualify for Disability and Get Instant Access to Medicare

People with chronic renal disease (also known as end stage renal disease) can qualify for Medicare Parts A and B the same time their disability payments start, which is a faster process. If you’re on a dialysis machine when you enroll in Medicare, coverage usually starts on your fourth treatment month.

To qualify for benefits, either you, your spouse or your parent must be fully or currently insured or eligible for monthly Social Security benefits or an annuity under the Railroad Retirement Act and:

  • Have a medical diagnosis
  • Get regular dialysis or already received a kidney transplant
  • Complete form CMS-43, Application for Hospital Insurance Benefits for Individuals with End-Stage Renal Disease

Get more details on dialysis and Social Security.

2 More Likely Signs That You Will Be Approved for Disability

Calling in a heavy hitter can help you get faster approval.

1. You got in touch with a federal legislator that represents your state or district.

Your Congress member or senator can launch an inquiry into your case, which may speed up the disability claim process. This is especially helpful if your denied disability case goes to an appeals hearing.

Signs That You Will Be Approved for Disability Benefits: Contact Your Federal Legislator for Help

Find your federal representatives.

2. You work with a lawyer to file your disability application.

Having an attorney file your paperwork makes you nearly 3x more likely to receive benefits within 6 months. People who qualify for legal assistance through this website usually get at least $13,800 in back pay and monthly benefits. IMPORTANT: You can benefit from working with a Social Security lawyer even if you already applied.

Discover more ways a disability attorney can help you.

How to Get Free Expert Help That Triples Your Benefit Approval Odds

Every day counts when you’re unable to work. If the Social Security Administration denies you benefits, you may have to appeal 2-3 times to win. That means you’ll possibly only receive benefits several years later.

Social Security lawyers in every state work on contingency. That means you pay nothing for claim help now. If the SSA rejects your claim, then you pay $0. If they award you benefits, however, you pay only one small fee after the SSA’s approval.

Want to know even more signs that you will be approved for disability benefits? Click the button below to sign up for a free phone call with a local expert near you:

Get Your Free Benefits Evaluation

Margot Lester is the CEO ofThe Word Factory,a B2B & B2C content marketing agency that provides services for Fortune 100 brands, healthtech companies and SaaS developers. An award-winning business and brand journalist, she writes for daily and weekly newspapers and business journals, national magazines, in-flight publications and leading websites. Margot is also an in-demand writing coach and organizational communications trainer,helping individuals and teams write more effectively. Twitter/