If you are like many working adults, you probably ignored your symptoms at first because you thought they would clear up in a few days. Eventually, you had to see a doctor, who diagnosed you with a very serious medical condition. Perhaps you have multiple sclerosis or some kind of cancer.

The condition and the symptoms it creates are debilitating enough to force you out of your job and leave you struggling to handle the tasks of daily life. Especially if you don’t have private disability benefits, you may need to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits to pay your bills.

How can you determine if your medical condition will potentially qualify for benefits?

There are two standards you need to meet

The Social Security Administration (SSA) evaluates every claim on an individual basis. Although they do provide guidelines, including a list of conditions that are likely to qualify, each applicant must make a case for themselves that convinces SSA professionals that their condition meets the necessary standards.

For the SSA to view your condition as disabling, typically it will need to prevent you from engaging in any sort of gainful employment. If it only limits your career opportunities and would force you into a lower-paying position, your symptoms may not be severe enough to qualify for SSDI benefits.

Additionally, the SSA generally only approves claims for benefits when an applicant has symptoms that will persist for at least 12 months. Only those with medical evidence that their condition will last a year or more and that the condition is severe enough to prevent them from working can qualify. There are a few special rules for unique circumstances, but this is the general standard applied to most applicants.

Medical records are key to a successful claim

Your best hope of obtaining SSDI benefits will typically come from having strong medical documentation supporting your application. The more testing you undergo to explore the impact of your condition on your daily life or employment opportunities, the easier it may be for you to convince the SSA that you qualified for benefits and currently require them.

Learning about the standards for SSDI benefits can help those who currently cannot work due to health concerns.