8 Telltale Signs That You Will Be Approved for Disability

According to SSA, only about 35% of disability claims are approved upon initial application. This means that your chance of getting approved for benefits at this stage is rather slim.

Don’t be discouraged, though. Those numbers are proven to increase after a hearing with the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). In fact, more than half of the applications are ultimately approved after going through the appeals process.

That’s why, in this post, we list some of the most telling signs that you will be approved for disability. We’ll also give you some tips on how to increase your chances of getting disability benefits.

Signs That You Will Be Approved for Benefits

If you want to gauge how likely you are to get disability benefits, here are eight signs that you will be approved for disability:

1. You’ve paid enough social security taxes

One of the first requirements to qualify for social security disability benefits is that you must have earned enough work credits.

What are work credits?

When you work in jobs that pay social security taxes, you can earn up to 4 work credits a year. Under social security rules, you need to earn at least 40 work credits to qualify for disability benefits. Twenty of which must have been earned in the last 10 years. But younger workers may also qualify even with lesser credits.

If you don’t have enough work credits, it’s impossible to get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). But you can still apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

2. You have sufficient medical evidence

We cannot emphasize enough how important medical evidence is in disability claims. The SSA uses it to gauge if you really are disabled. If your injury or illness isn’t medically documented or the medical evidence you have does not sufficiently prove your disability, you’ll most likely get denied. 

But choosing which medical evidence to submit can be tricky. For one, you only need to turn in the “relevant” ones. Like if your disability has something to do with your shoulder, you don’t have to submit your dental records.

If you have a disability lawyer, getting the necessary medical evidence won’t be such a headache. Through experience, they already know what the SSA wants to see and how to make them see it. They can also talk to your doctors and get the medical evidence you need.

3. Your medical condition is on the SSA’s list of impairments

Strictly speaking, this doesn’t guarantee you’ll be granted disability benefits. But it helps a lot.

You see, the SSA’s list of disabling conditions (more popularly known as the SSA’s blue book) serves as a guide on what impairments are considered disabling enough. If your medical condition is on that list, your chances of getting benefits are pretty high. 

But the SSA still looks at each individual case. Remember that each of us has different tolerance to pain. The severity of the medical condition will also differ per person. A broken ankle might not be that disabling for one person, but it can be debilitating for others.

The SSA will assess if your condition prevents you from doing certain things. If they find that it affects your capacity to earn enough, then your claim might get approved.

4. You’re earning less than the monthly SGA

Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) is the SSA’s way of gauging how much work you can do. If you go back to work and earn a monthly income lesser than the monthly SGA, you have a higher chance of getting approved for benefits.

For 2023, the SGA amount is $2,460 for blind individuals and $1,470 for everyone else. This amount changes every year, so be sure to check the SSA website for the latest updates.

5. You Can’t Do Your Past Work Or Any Other Type of Work

One determining factor for disability is your capacity to do work. If you can’t go back to the job you’ve been doing before you got disabled, the SSA will assess if you can do other types of jobs. They will look at your age, skills, and educational attainment.

If they determine that you don’t have the skills to do other jobs or are too old to learn a new skill, you’ll most likely get approved.

Aside from your capacity to learn a new skill, the SSA will also look at your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC). This is your capacity to work on a sustainable basis despite your medical condition. If you are unable to perform basic work-related tasks like standing, walking, or running, then it makes sense that you also won’t be able to do heavy work like pushing or lifting. In general, the heavier type of work you can do, the less likely you are to receive social security benefits.

6. Your Disability is Expected to Last for 12 Months or More

This is one of SSA’s basic eligibility requirements for disability benefits. Meaning, there’s no going around this. If your injury doesn’t leave any lasting disability and you are expected to fully recover after only a few months, you won’t qualify for disability. Though you can still apply for SSI if your earnings are within the income threshold.

7. You Are 50 Years Old or Older

Not a lot of people know this, but the SSA follows a system called the “grid rules” to decide on disability conditions. It works under the assumption that people who are of advanced age and have no particular skill set are less likely to find a job. This is why, under this system, disabled workers 50 years or older have higher chances of getting approved for disability benefits.

8. You Have a Social Security Disability Lawyer

Fighting for your benefits by yourself is, frankly speaking, an uphill battle. Dealing with the SSA’s processes while gathering medical evidence can be overwhelming. That’s why having a social security disability lawyer helping you fight for your benefits is a sign that you’ll most likely get approved for disability.

An experienced social security disability attorney like Victor Malca already knows the SSA’s policies and processes like the back of his hand. He can’t only help you gather medical evidence; he can also help you answer the SSA’s questions to prove that you are indeed disabled. And if necessary, he can also represent you in court to convince the ALJ that you deserve those benefits.

The disabled person and his mother is happy after seeing signs that he will be approved for disability.

How to Increase Your Chances of Getting Approved for Disability

If you think the odds are stacked against you, here are our tips on boosting your chances of getting disability benefits.

1. Keep copies of all your medical records.

Your medical records are basically the backbone of your disability claim. Without them, you’ll have a hard time convincing the SSA that you qualify for disability benefits. It also confirms that the information you put in your claim forms is true and accurate.

That’s why you need to make sure to keep copies of your medical records, like:

  • results of relevant diagnostic tests
  • medical evaluations
  • treatment records
  • doctor’s reports
  • records of visits to the doctor or medical provider

Keeping copies of all these records on hand will make the disability application process so much easier. You won’t have to go through hoops and hurdles and chase doctors around just to get copies of these documents.

2. Gather supporting documents.

Depending on your specific situation, you may also have to present other supporting documents to prove to the SSA that you qualify for disability. This includes:

  • written testimonies or letters of support from family, friends, or anyone who knows about your disability
  • education and skills training records
  • work history records

3. Follow your treatment recommendations.

Not following your treatment recommendations is a big red flag for the SSA. It tells them that you are not willing to get better and that you prefer getting disability benefits than working. So if you want to have better chances of getting disability benefits, you should make sure to follow your treatment recommendations.

Summing It Up

There you have it, the telltale signs that could indicate whether or not you are likely to be approved for disability. But keep in mind that even if you meet all 8 criteria, it does not mean that you will automatically be approved.

If your claim is denied, don’t give up. Having a disability lawyer like Victor Malca is very helpful. We can help you understand the rules and laws about getting disability, increasing your chances of getting approved for benefits. If you need more help, don’t hesitate to call us for a free consultation.

VICTOR MALCA – Florida Workers Compensation & Social Security Disability Attorney

Victor Malca P.A. has over 27 years of litigation experience in Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability lawsuits. His experience and continued success when fighting for his clients puts him among the most trusted workers’ compensation attorney’s in Florida. He specializes in representing injured workers on compensation benefit cases and disabled individuals claiming lost social security disability benefits.

Book a free consultation today. Our unwavering advocacy for employee rights and privileges are recognized by our past clients across South Florida.

About The Author

Judy Ponio is a writer and editor for the Victor Malca Law P.A. website and blog. She enjoys helping people in need with questions about social security disability and workers compensation law. She has a passion for helping those in need and the elderly with accurate legal information that can make a positive difference in their lives.