If you or your loved one sustained a severe burn injury, you might qualify for Social Security disability for a burn injury. The benefits, administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA), include a monthly disability benefit check that can go a long way towards helping you with your finances during your recovery.

What are the requirements for Social Security disability benefits?

There are two kinds of Social Security disability benefits: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSDI is for disabled workers with a sufficient work history. SSI is for people with very little income and assets. The requirements you must meet for each differ slightly.

SSDI Work Credit Requirements

For SSDI, you will need to have earned a certain number of work credits. The number of credits you need depends on your age. You can earn a maximum of four credits per year.

  • If you are under 24, you need six credits earned over the three years prior to your injuries.
  • If you are 24 to 31, you need to have worked half the time between the age of 21 and your injury. E.g., if you were injured while you were 25, you will need credits for 2 years of work (8 credits).
  • If you are 31 or older, the number of credits you need varies.


Age Credits needed
31 – 42 20
44 22
46 24
48 26
50 28
52 30
54 32
56 34
58 36
60 38
62+ 40


SSI Income Requirements

For SSI, you must have limited income and the value of your assets must be below a certain threshold. In 2016, the income limit for SSI is $733 per month for individuals and $1,100 per month for couples. Not all income is countable, though. You can read more about SSI and income limits here, or you can contact our burn injury referral advocates.

SSDI & SSI Disability Requirements

In order to qualify for both types of Social Security disability benefits, your burns must be such that you cannot work and your doctor expects your condition to last for a period of at least 12 months, or result in death. You will have to present medical evidence that proves the extensiveness of your burns and their effect on your ability to work.

How does the Social Security Administration evaluate burns?

The SSA maintains a listing of impairments that qualify for disability benefits. Section 8.00 – Skin Disorders covers burn injuries. There are two ways the SSA might evaluate your burn:

  1. If your burns are such that they affect other body systems (e.g., electrical burns might affect your neurological system, chemical burns might affect your renal or respiratory system, and thermal burns might affect your musculoskeletal system), the Administration will evaluate your condition using the listing for the “predominant feature of your impairment.”
  2. If your burns affect the skin only, the SSA will evaluate it using Section 8.08. The lesions have to result in serious limitations and a doctor must expect them to last for a continuous period of at least one year, if they have not already.

How do I file for disability benefits?

You may be able to file for disability benefits online, in-person at an SSA office, or on the phone. You will need to collect various documents and evidence to submit when filing.

A lawyer can help you with your disability claim and help you appeal if the SSA denied your claim. Our lawyer referral specialists can help you find a lawyer to help with your disability claim. Call us at 844-549-8774.