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SSDI - Born with condition, how will that affect my claim?

Born with condition and need SSDI

Many Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) applicants wonder how the Social Security Administration (SSA) determines they are disabled and qualify for SSDI benefits. A recent claimant asked, “I have had my condition since birth, how will this affect my chances of getting SSDI benefits?”

Are you disabled?

When determining if you are disabled and whether you qualify for SSDI benefits the SSA is most concerned with whether or not your condition is so severe you cannot work. In fact, the first thing the SSA will consider is whether or not you are currently working and performing what they call substantial gainful activity. If you are working and making too much money they don’t care if you were injured yesterday or 20 years ago, they will consider you NOT disabled.

Never worked due to health condition

Many disability applicants who are born with a severe health condition have not been able to work their entire lives. Consider the young child with a severe brain disorder or seizures. They may never have held a job or paid employment taxes. In fact, many of these children may have been receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits when they were young.

If you were getting SSI and your benefits stopped when your turned 18 but you find you are still not able to work, you can apply for SSI benefits as an adult.

Why can’t I get SSDI?

If you were receiving SSI as a child and turned 18 and still cannot work you generally will not qualify for SSDI benefits because SSDI benefits are only offered to disability applicants who have worked, paid taxes, and who have earned sufficient work credits to be considered insured.

So even if you are severely disabled, if you have not worked, SSI benefits are the only disability benefits available to you as a disabled adult (exceptions exist if you were getting SSDI auxiliary benefits because your parent(s) were disabled and your condition started prior to the age of 22).

When Can I get SSDI?

Now, for the sake of argument let’s assume that you were born with some type of condition that was not severe until now. Under this assumption you were able to work, you paid taxes and you are now insured for SSDI benefits. Let’s also assume that recently your condition has become so severe that you are no longer able to work.

Under this scenario you may be able to win SSDI benefits, but you will have to have sufficient medical evidence to prove to the SSA that your condition is severe, will last 12 continuous months and you cannot perform or retrain for new work. This will be especially difficult for claimants under the age of 55 who do not have a condition which is on the SSA Listing of Impairments.

To find out if your condition will automatically be considered disabling, assuming you meet the nonmedical requirements for SSDI, go to and review the SSA Listing of Impairments for more information about what conditions and symptoms the SSA will consider automatically disabling.
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