Non-Medical Disability Requirements

Even if you qualify medically, there are non-medical requirements

by Tim Moore, Disability Representative in North Carolina

Non-Medical Requirements for disability

When people thinking of qualifying for disability, they think of their conditions and their medical records, and perhaps their work history (which is a big part of the equation). But even if you qualify medically, you still have to meet the non-medical requirements. What are they? Basically, it boils down to income and assets (resources).

(Read if you live in North Carolina)


The non-medical requirements for SSD and SSI generally have to do with income in the sense that a claimant cannot have earned income in excess of a limit known as SGA. SGA stands for substantial gainful activity and it basically means that while a person can work and file for (or receive) disability benefits, they cannot earn over a certain limit each month (to see the current limit: SGA).

The SGA earned income limit applies to both Social Security Disability and SSI disability. The social security administration keeps the earnings limit in place with the idea in mind that if a person can work and earn at least the SGA earnings amount, then they are probably not functionally limited enough to be “disabled”.

Assets or Resources

Another non-medical requirement concerns assets (also known as resources). However, the consideration of assets or resources only concerns the SSI disability program. Since SSI is based on an individual being disabled but also being in need, the SSI program limits a person’s countable assets to two thousand dollars. What are countable assets? They include any vehicles you own in addition to your primary vehicle, any real estate you own other than the house you live in, the cash value – surrender value of insurance policies, and liquid assets such as money in savings accounts.

Individuals who file for SSI and are found to be medically disabled (i.e. have been given an approval by a disability examiner, or an approval by an administrative law judge at a disability hearing) are given what is known as an “end line review”. This review is done to make sure that the claimant, even though they have satisfied the medical requirements and criteria for receiving disability, still qualify for SSI disability benefits under the non-medical criteria (such as not having too much in assets or earned income).

Are you covered for Social Security Disability?

Finally, a non-medical requirement that affects applicants for SSD (Social Security Disability), but does not affect applicants for SSI is insured status. Unlike SSI, to receive SSD a person must have earned enough work credits to be considered insured for disability benefits.

Whether or not a person is insured and able to receive SSD (assuming that they are also pass the medical requirements for disability) is determined at the start of the disability claim process since the social security office where a person applies will need to know which program the individual’s claim should be taken in.

Additional information:

What are the Assets that count for SSI Disability?