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17. Evidence Required to Establish Right to Benefits

Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at

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There are 16 Comments

what if you have had a traumatic head injury foralong time and suffered for along time had no medical insurance . and just found you have all the symptoms of brain injury after 20 years of loss of memory pain like multiple sclerosis whole body aches alot time.

The definition of disability under Social Security is different than other programs. Social Security pays only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability or for short-term disability.

"Disability" under Social Security is based on your inability to work. We consider you disabled under Social Security rules if:

  • You cannot do work that you did before;
  • We decide that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and
  • Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.

Here's more information to see if you may qualify for disability :

What if we are going through a divorce and he had a large portion of his income withdrawn into social security?

I'm not sure what you mean by "income withdrawn into Social Security". However, you may qualify for SS benefits based on his work record.

  • If your divorced spouse dies, you can receive benefits as a widow/widower if the marriage lasted 10 years or longer and you are age 60 or older (or age 50 if you are disabled.)

  • If you are divorced after at least 10 years of marriage, you can collect retirement benefits on your former spouse's Social Security record if you are at least age 62 and if your former spouse is entitled to or receiving benefits.

I was a housewife for 24yrs and never worked. I have been having health problems for 7yrs (not even sure if they would qualify for disability) My husband is divorcing me and I have no income. Can a person who never worked get disability. I think I have like 24 credits for when I was in my twenties. Do they only go by credits or is there another formula. He was my sole support. This is a general question on if a person can apply for Disability if never worked. I understand that it then goes by your disability if it qualifies.

Based on information provided, it may be difficult to qualify for disability benefits.

The number of work credits you need to qualify for disability benefits depends on your age when you become disabled. Generally, you need 40 credits, 20 of which were earned in the last 10 years.

Note you may qualify for Social Security retirement benefits based on your (former) spouse's work record. However, if you remarry, you will likely lose benefits based on your (former) spouse's record.

You may wish to obtain a copy of your Social Security work record to see your records and potential benefits.

If you are getting benefits based on your own work, contact Social Security, and they will check to see if you can get more money as a widow or widower. If so, you will receive a combination of benefits that equals the higher amount. You will need to complete an application to switch to survivors benefits, and they will need to see your spouse's death certificate.


This depends on the type of benefits you're receiving. There are quite strict earnings (wage) limits if you're receiving Social Security disability or SSI benefits.

I'll assume you're talking about Social Security retirement or survivor benefits. In this case, only earnings before the month you reach full retirement age (FRA) count towards your annual limit. If you work the entire year, the SSA will use this formula to determine how much your benefit must be reduced:

  • If you are under FRA when you start getting your Social Security payments, $1 in benefits will be deducted for each $2 you earn above the annual limit. For 2012 that limit is $14,640; in 2011 the limit was $14,160.
  • In the year you reach FRA, $1 in benefits will be deducted for each $3 you earn above the annual limit up to the month of FRA. For 2012, the limit is $38,880; in 2011, the limit was $37,680.
  • Starting with the month you reach FRA you will receive your benefits with no limit on your earnings.

I have been working and drawing Soc Sec for one year while being covered by Insurance through my employer, now would like to start up medicare part A & B What do I need to have to get this process started. I would like it in place by 12/15, is this possible?

Unsure where to go to find out fathers payments into SS and where he was employed for his work. Deceased in 1970, just found out that his death may have been radiation caused. However, must have his employment records to file for claim. Mother also deceased, as are all his other family.

Any suggestions? thanks

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