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If you’re suffering from an illness or injury that affects your ability to work, you may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). You’ll have to contact your local Social Security office to find out for sure if you qualify. However, this guide can give you a good idea of whether or not you’re covered and whether you can make use of the Ticket to Work program.

Definition of Disability

Social Security’s basic definition of disability has two parts: ability to work and length of disability. If you can’t return to your job but can adjust to another one, you might not qualify. However, if you’re unable to work at all, you should be covered. It’s also important to note that Social Security doesn’t cover short-term injuries. Generally, they look for disabilities that are predicted to last at least one year.

Ticket to Work Program

If you’re approved to receive SSDI or SSI, you may also choose to participate in the Ticket to Work program. This is a free program that gives you training for work without losing your benefits while you find a job that’s right for you. Your Social Security benefits will continue until you can earn enough to support yourself.

Qualifying Medical Conditions

There are a wide range of medical conditions that can qualify you for Social Security. Mental and neurological disorders that may qualify you include anxiety, intellectual disability, or multiple sclerosis. Immune disorders such as AIDS and rheumatoid arthritis can also make it impossible for you to work. Other conditions may qualify you depending on their severity, including asthma, cardiovascular conditions, or problems with your digestive tract.

SSDI vs. SSI

Finally, it’s important to understand the difference between SSDI and SSI. SSDI is available to workers and their family members who have earned enough work credits and paid Social Security taxes. SSI is available to those with financial need who haven’t accrued enough work credit. Both use similar guidelines to determine if your medical condition makes you eligible for coverage.