Applications for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can be long and stressful. On average, only 36 percent of SSDI claims are approved. The live hearing waitlist is as long as 1.1 million people long and you may need to wait years before being approved. This means that the smallest mistakes could set you back significantly. When a judge is hearing your case, they will consider a few important factors. Even though medical evidence is important, it isn’t all you need to consider. Judges also consider the time frame within which you may be unable to work.

You are responsible for proving that your condition is permanent or long-term. You also need to prove the side effects that you may be getting from your medication. Judges will make a decision based on the weight of your information. Here are a few factors that can influence your application.

Legal Help

Working with a lawyer will increase your chances of getting the benefits you deserve. Even though the process of issuing out benefits is fair, studies show that applicants who work with lawyers have higher approval rates than those who don’t. According to the team at LaPorte Law, choosing a good lawyer could make you 2.7 times more likely to get SSDI benefits than proceeding alone. There are a few reasons why lawyers increase your chances of success.

They understand the eligibility requirements and may work with you to understand existing regulations. The right lawyers know what judges want to see, and the appropriate medical evidence to gather. They will prepare you for your hearing and give you tips to answer questions.

Your Age

Your SSDI benefits are not always guaranteed because you have an existing condition that makes it impossible to work. Your age matters as well. If there is a real chance that you could get back to work once your condition is treated, you are unlikely to get the long-term benefits. Age is an important factor in the decision-making process. Judges are likely to be lenient if you are aged 50 or over. Younger people have lower chances of getting the benefits.

Your Background and Work History

Judges will consider your work history background before determining your eligibility for SSDI benefits. It is important because it determines how long you had worked before being disabled. In most cases, the longer you had worked, the more your benefits will be. If you had been working for a long time before getting disabled, judges understand that you had put more into your Social Security account. You are unlikely to get benefits if you have a poor work history background.

Your Previous Earnings

A judge will consider the amount you used to receive while you paid Social Security. You cannot qualify for Social Security if you didn’t earn a minimum of 40 credits in ten years of work. Your monthly benefits will vary depending on your lifetime earnings. Judges will consider 35 of your highest earning years as documented. If you had low earnings, your SSDI benefits may be low as well. Higher earnings are often associated with high monthly benefits.

Employment Income

There are circumstances where you may continue receiving SSDI benefits even as you work. However, you cannot receive the benefits if your work is above what may be considered ‘substantial.’  Your benefits will stop when you gain meaningful employment or earn substantial income.

If you plan on going back to full-term employment in the future, you must let SSA know about it ahead of time. They will give you some leeway. Your benefits may keep changing depending on your work attempts. If your work is below what may be considered substantial, your benefits may decrease but they won’t stop.

Personal Financial Situation


The primary eligibility factors for SSDI benefits are your ability to work and earn meaningful employment. However, your personal finances are important as well. Even though your finances are not as important as your income and assets, a judge will consider them when determining your eligibility. The benefits are need-based so changes in your finances will reflect in your benefits.

While it is not possible to get rid of everything that may hinder your SSDI application, you can improve your chances of success. Working with an experienced and professional disability lawyer is one of your best options. Applicants that work with professional legal teams are more likely to succeed than those who work alone. If you cannot get a lawyer, consider getting legal help from disability advocates. Important factors that judges may consider include your financial situation, previous earnings, age, employment income, and work history background.