elderly man on a laptop smiling looking at the screen ssdi
By Michelle Shvarts
Principal Attorney

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides crucial financial support for individuals who are unable to work due to a severe disability. If you’re facing a disabling condition and wondering whether you’re eligible for SSDI benefits in Florida, you’re not alone. Disability Advocates Group is here to help you navigate the eligibility criteria, understand the application process, and guide you towards securing the assistance you deserve.

Eligibility Criteria for SSDI Benefits in Florida

  1. Work Credit Requirements

To be eligible for SSDI benefits, you must have earned enough work credits through your previous employment. Work credits are earned based on your work history and the amount of time you’ve spent working and paying Social Security taxes. Generally, you need to have worked for at least 5 of the last 10 years.

  1. Severe Disability

You must have a severe medical condition that prevents you from engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA). This condition must be expected to last for at least 12 months or result in death. The severity of your disability is evaluated based on its impact on your ability to work and perform daily activities.

  1. Full Retirement Age

Your age plays a role in determining your eligibility for SSDI benefits. While the age requirements vary, individuals generally become eligible for full retirement benefits at a specific age, known as full retirement age (FRA). If you become disabled before reaching your FRA, you may be eligible for SSDI benefits provided you meet the other criteria.

  1. Non-Discrimination Based on Age

The SSDI program doesn’t discriminate based on age. Individuals of any age can be eligible for benefits as long as they meet the work credit and medical criteria. Younger individuals with disabilities who haven’t accumulated as many work credits might still qualify based on their medical condition.

  1. Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)

The SSA assesses whether you’re engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA) to determine your eligibility. If your monthly earnings exceed a certain threshold (which may change annually), you may not be considered disabled according to SSDI criteria.

Understanding the Application Process

  1. Gather Medical Records

Strong medical evidence is essential to support your claim. Collect comprehensive medical records, diagnostic test results, and statements from healthcare professionals that detail the severity of your condition and how it affects your ability to work.

  1. Complete the Application

You can apply for SSDI benefits online, over the phone, or in person at a local Social Security office. Provide accurate and detailed information about your medical condition, work history, and other relevant details.

  1. Seek Legal Representation

Seeking legal representation from Disability Advocates Group can significantly increase your chances of a successful application. An experienced SSDI attorney can guide you through the process, ensure your application is complete, and present your case compellingly.

  1. Appeal if Necessary

If your initial application is denied, don’t lose hope. You have the right to appeal the decision. The appeals process involves multiple stages, including reconsideration, a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), Appeals Council review, and, if needed, federal court review.

If you’re wondering whether you’re eligible for SSDI benefits in Florida, understanding the eligibility criteria and the application process is crucial. Disability Advocates Group is committed to assisting individuals like you in navigating the complexities of the SSDI program. By meeting the work credit requirements, demonstrating a severe medical condition, and seeking legal representation if necessary, you can enhance your chances of securing the financial assistance you need. If you need guidance or support while applying for SSDI benefits, don’t hesitate to contact Disability Advocates Group for expert assistance tailored to your unique situation.

About the Author
Ms. Shvarts and the rest of the team at Disability Advocates Group are dedicated to assisting individuals in Florida obtain Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.