Having a qualifying disability is a requirement of the Social Security disability program. Your nerve damage must be severe enough to prevent you from working and adjusting to other types of work. It must also last longer than one year; you are not eligible if the disability is considered short-term or partial. Medical conditions on the Social Security Administration's list of qualifying medical conditions involving nerve damage include spinal cord injuries, peripheral neuropathy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, ALS and multiple sclerosis. If your medical condition isn't on the list, you must see a medical provider to certify the condition's severity.
Besides having nerve damage, you also had to pay Social Security taxes and accumulated the required number of work credits to receive disability benefits. As of 2011, you earn a work credit for every $1,120 you make during the year. A maximum of four work credits are earned annually once you make $4,480. The Social Security Administration generally requires 40 work credits; however, you can qualify with less if nerve damage caused you to stop working at a young age. For example, you only need six work credits if you are under 24 years of age.
If you meet the definition of disability and satisfy the other requirements, you are approved for Social Security disability benefits. Your benefit amounts are based on how much you made when you worked. The Social Security Administration calculates your benefit amounts on a yearly basis and notifies you annually via mail with a Social Security statement. As of 2011, the average disability check is $1,063 per month. Although your nerve damage qualifies you for benefits, you still have to satisfy a waiting period of five full months before receiving payments.
If you have taxable income such as work earnings or dividends, your Social Security disability benefits could be subject to taxation if your total annual compensation exceed income limits. For example, as of 2011, 50 percent of your disability benefits are taxed at normal income tax rates if your income tops $25,000 per year or up to 85 percent is tax if it surpassed $34,000. If you are married and your combined household incomes exceed $32,000, 50 percent of your Social Security disability benefits are taxed and up to 85 percent if your incomes surpass $44,000 per year.