Most people think of Social Security as being a retirement program, but millions of people get disability benefits from Social Security. Many people aren't clear, though, on what's needed to qualify for disability benefits.
In the following video, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, runs through the tests that the Social Security Administration uses to determine eligibility for disability benefits. Dan points out the the rules boil down to three things: You can't do the work you did before, you can't adjust to other kinds of work, and your disability will last longer than a year. But Dan further goes into some of the details, with a specific five-step process that includes assessing other earnings, the severity of the disability, certain medical conditions that automatically qualify, and how the Social Security Administration looks at former work and the potential to adapt to new work. In particular, Dan notes that not being able to find a job isn't the same as not being able to work in that job, and so being unemployed won't automatically get you disability benefits.