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What Are My Chances of Getting Approved For Social Security Disability Benefits?

Troupe Law Office

What Are My Chances of Getting Approved For Social Security Disability Benefits?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions we are asked when interviewing potential clients.  Unfortunately, it is also one of the most difficult questions to answer.

People who are injured or have a medical condition that makes them unable to work for a living are potentially eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. To qualify, first, the individual must have worked under the Social Security System for a requisite period of time.  This is called having sufficient “quarters” to qualify for SSD.  For most people, you must have 40 quarters to qualify.  So, If you have the sufficient quarters, you could be eligible to receive SSD.

The next step is demonstrating that your disabling condition occurred within 5 years of your “date last insured.”  To qualify for SSD, you must show that you became disabled within 5 years of when you last worked under the Social Security System.  For example, if a 30-year old individual has worked non stop since turning 18, he has worked for 12 years and thus has 48 quarters; enough to potentially qualify.  So, if this individual were to stop working, for whatever reason, at age 30, and then become totally disabled from a car accident at age 32, he would satisfy this requirement.  His “date last insured” would be when he stopped working at age 30, and his disability occurred at age 32; well within the 5-year requirement.

If, however, he was to be involved in the car accident at age 40, this would fall outside the 5-year requirement.  Thus, if he were completely and totally unable to work as a result of the accident, his claim would fail because of the 5-year requirement.

Finally, assuming the individual meets the “quarters” requirement, and is able to demonstrate a disabling condition within 5 years of his date last insured, the next, and perhaps most important, question turns on the individual’s medical condition and how it prevents them from gainful employment.

This, unfortunately, involves a highly subjective and personal analysis.  To be perfectly frank, it is quite difficult for even an experienced attorney to be able to estimate someone’s chances at getting approved for SSD.  This is because the multitude of SSD applications are processed and handled by an extremely wide range of individuals, with an even wider range of preferences.  Further, there are simply factors completely out of an attorney’s control depending upon the time they file, the region they’re located, and the Judge that may hear the case.  As such, any experienced Social Security attorney will tell you that it is next to impossible to say, with any degree of certainty, a person’s chances of getting approved.

There are, however, certain factors which are generally good indicators of a person’s chances, and are the ones most often used by Social Security Judges in their decisions.  First, is a person’s age.  Quite simply, the older the better.  The reasoning for this is perhaps because the older a person is, the less likely that person can go out and do some other type of job, within the physical or mental restrictions resultant from their injury or condition.  Thus, it is fair to state that a 58-year old individual with a severe back injury will be more likely to get approved than a 35-year old person with the same condition.

Another factor is a person’s educational background.  The less educated the person is, the more likely they are to get approved.  This is because a person with a higher level of education is, perhaps, more likely to be able to learn a new skill and get a new job.  While this is not necessarily true all of the time, and varies from person to person, as a general guideline, the less educated a person is, the more likely their chances at being found disabled under Social Security.

Finally, a person’s work history is an important factor.  If a person was doing physical, heavy work for 30 years, a shoulder injury that prevents them from lifting more than 10 pounds could render that person totally disabled from gainful employment.  However, the same injury for a person who did sedentary/desk work, may not prevent them from performing the duties of their job.

As you can see, determining someone’s chances of being approved is quite a difficult process.  And, while there are certain factors which may make a person more likely to get approved, even then, there is no guarantee.  But, if you are thinking of applying for Social Security Disability benefits, it is important to have an experienced attorney helping you along the way.  When Is The Right Time To Get A Workers’ Compensation Attorney? At Troupe Law Office, we have over 40 years of experience in this fields. Please visit our web site at https://www.troupelawoffice.com for more information. Or, call us at (978) 531-7401. We offer free consultations for all cases.

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Client Reviews

Adam and Bill helped me achieve wonderful results of my workers compensation and my accidental disability retirement cases. This was a very complex matter which they handled superbly. Highly recommended attorneys for any workers comp or disability related case.

Mike C.

My overall experience with him was excellent. His overall communication was impeccable especially his ability to explain the law to someone not familiar with legal issues. He always had/made time to pick up the phone. No question was ever too small or insignificant.


In 1992 I was severely injured in a work related accident. It was apparent that my recovery would take years and I needed someone on my side to deal with the insurance company. Attorney Troupe made sure that the Insurance company lived up to their obligations and allowed me to focus on my recovery...


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