Eligibility and Qualifications for Disability in Illinois

The federal government operates two separate disability benefit programs: Social Security Disability and SSI. And the qualifications for disability in Illinois in either program can be broken down into two separate categories.

The first may be called program eligibility. What do we mean by this?

For title II disability benefits, a.k.a. Social Security Disability benefits, a person must be insured for coverage under this program. In other words, they must have a certain number of work credits that have been earned within a specific timeframe. For most adult disability applicants, this will mean having earned about forty work credits, twenty of which should have been earned in the last 10 years.

What are work credits? Work credits are equal to specific earnings amounts. Currently, a worker will receive one work credit per quarter for every one thousand dollars they earn. A worker can receive up to four work credits per year.

For SSI, a.k.a. supplemental security income a.k.a. title 16 benefits, there is no work credits requirement. In fact, SSI disability exists to provide benefits to individuals who are not insured for Social Security Disability. From a program eligiblity standpoint, however, the qualifications for disability, under SSI, are that A. an applicant must not have have current earnings that are in excess of SGA (this requirement exists for Social Security Disability as well), and B. the applicant must not have assets in excess of $2000.00

Qualifications for disability, however, go beyond basic program eligibility, which may be thought of as simply the ability to have a disability application taken.

After an application for disability has been filed, the qualifications for disability focus on medical eligibility. And the following pages provide information on this topic.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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