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Disability Benefits: How Social Security Decides If You Deserve Them

By Dan Caplinger – Jul 13, 2014 at 3:05AM

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Millions rely on Social Security disability benefits, but how do you really qualify for them? Find out here.

Source: Social Security Administration.

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.

Dan Caplinger and The Motley Fool have no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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