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What Qualifies for Disability in Illinois

What Qualifies for Disability in Illinois

Living with a disability can significantly impact an individual’s ability to work and maintain a stable income. Fortunately, there are programs in place to support disabled individuals in Illinois. The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) offers disability benefits through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) programs. To qualify for disability benefits in Illinois, individuals must meet specific criteria defined by the Social Security Administration (SSA). In this article, we will explore the qualifications for disability in Illinois and provide answers to frequently asked questions.

Qualifications for Disability in Illinois:

1. Medical Qualifications:
To qualify for disability benefits, an individual must have a medical condition that meets the SSA’s definition of a disability. The condition must be severe enough to prevent the individual from performing substantial gainful activity (SGA), which refers to work that earns a certain income threshold. The SSA maintains a list of impairments, known as the Blue Book, which outlines various medical conditions that may qualify for disability benefits.

2. Duration of Disability:
The medical condition must be expected to last for at least 12 months or result in death. Temporary or short-term disabilities do not qualify for disability benefits. The SSA evaluates the duration of the disability based on medical evidence provided by healthcare professionals.

3. Work History:
To qualify for SSDI benefits, individuals must have a work history and have paid Social Security taxes through payroll deductions. The number of work credits required depends on the individual’s age at the time of disability onset. Younger individuals may require fewer work credits, while older individuals may need more.

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4. Income and Resource Limits:
For SSI benefits, individuals must also meet income and resource limits. The SSA considers both earned and unearned income when determining eligibility. The resource limit for an individual is $2,000, while for a couple, it is $3,000. Certain resources, such as a primary residence and a vehicle, may be excluded from the calculation.

5. Application Process:
To apply for disability benefits in Illinois, individuals can complete an application online through the SSA’s website or visit a local social security office. It is essential to provide detailed medical records and supporting documentation to strengthen the disability claim. The application will be reviewed by the SSA, and a decision will be made based on the evidence presented.


Q1. Can I work while receiving disability benefits in Illinois?
A1. Yes, you can work while receiving disability benefits; however, there are income limits known as substantial gainful activity (SGA) limits. In 2021, the SGA limit is $1,310 per month for non-blind individuals and $2,190 per month for blind individuals.

Q2. Can I receive both SSI and SSDI benefits?
A2. Yes, it is possible to receive both SSI and SSDI benefits if an individual qualifies for both programs. However, the total amount received from both programs cannot exceed a certain limit.

Q3. How long does it take to get approved for disability benefits in Illinois?
A3. The processing time for disability benefits can vary depending on the complexity of the case and the availability of medical evidence. On average, it takes around three to five months to receive a decision. However, some cases may take longer.

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Q4. Can I apply for disability benefits if my condition is not listed in the Blue Book?
A4. Yes, even if your condition is not listed in the Blue Book, you may still qualify for disability benefits if you can demonstrate that your condition meets the criteria for a medically determinable impairment that prevents you from performing substantial gainful activity.

Q5. Can I appeal a denial of disability benefits?
A5. Yes, if your disability claim is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision. The appeals process includes several levels, including reconsideration, a hearing before an administrative law judge, and further appeals if necessary.

In conclusion, qualifying for disability benefits in Illinois requires meeting specific medical, work history, and income criteria defined by the SSA. It is crucial to understand the eligibility requirements and provide comprehensive medical evidence to support your claim. If you have any questions or need assistance, it is advisable to reach out to a disability attorney or consult the Illinois Department of Human Services for guidance.

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