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Maryland disability benefits

How to Qualify for Disability Benefits in Maryland

Written by
Jackie Jakab, Disability Attorney
Jackie Jakab
Lead Attorney
Published June 25, 2024
2 min read
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Atticus offers free, high-quality disability advice for Americans who can't work. Our team of Stanford and Harvard-trained lawyers has a combined 15+ years of legal experience and has helped over 50,000 Americans apply for disability benefits.

See if you qualify

Maryland residents who are too sick or too injured to work can access federal disability programs, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Both SSDI and SSI provide health insurance and pay monthly disability benefits, but the programs require you to meet different criteria to qualify. 

According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), more than 130,000 Marylanders qualify for disability benefits. Learn more about how you could qualify for SSDI and SSI in the Free State. 


How to qualify for disability benefits in Maryland

Once you submit your disability application, the SSA uses a five-step evaluation to determine your eligibility. Knowing these steps in advance can help you prepare your application correctly:

  1. Are you working at a substantial gainful activity level? First, the SSA assesses whether you’re engaged in substantial gainful activity (SGA). If you earn more than $1,550 per month, the SSA will consider you capable of SGA and ineligible for disability benefits.

  2. Do you have a severe impairment? Your disability must be severe enough to prevent you from performing basic work activities for at least 12 months.

  3. Does your disability meet the SSA’s definition of disability? The SSA lists qualifying medical conditions in its Blue Book. If your condition does not appear in the Blue Book, you’ll need to provide medical evidence that your disability prevents you from working.

  4. Can you do work you’ve done in the past? The SSA will determine whether you can still perform any of your past work with your current limitations.

  5. Can you do any other types of work? The SSA will consider whether you can adjust to perform other work based on your medical condition, age, education, past work experience, and transferable skills.

We've helped 2,553 people apply for benefits in Maryland.

How to qualify for SSDI

For 2024, the maximum payment amount for SSDI is $3,822 per month. In Maryland, the average monthly SSDI benefit amount is $1,833. To qualify for SSDI, you must meet the requirements in the following areas: 

  • Disability: You’re disabled according to the SSA’s rules.

  • Duration of disability: You expect your disability to last at least one year.

  • Work credits: A certain number of work credits are necessary for you to receive SSDI. You earn work credits by working and paying Social Security taxes. The SSA requires a total of 40 work credits, at least half of which you must have earned in the last 10 years. This generally equates to working at least five of the last 10 years.


How to qualify for SSI

SSI does not require a specific work history. Instead, the SSA bases the monthly benefit amount on your financial need. In Maryland, the average monthly SSI benefit amount is $629. You may qualify for SSI in Maryland if you meet the requirements in the following areas:

  • Medical eligibility: To receive SSI, you must be disabled, blind, or age 65 or older.

  • Asset limits: You must have less than $2,000 in countable resources if you're single. That limit increases to $3,000 for married couples.

  • Income restrictions: Your total monthly income must be below the maximum monthly SSI benefit rate, which is $943 for 2024.


What conditions qualify in Maryland?

Any medical condition can qualify you for Social Security disability benefits as long as it significantly impairs your ability to work and you expect it to last at least a year. The SSA maintains a list of conditions that qualify for disability benefits.


What are the most commonly approved disabilities in Maryland?

According to the latest SSA data, here are some of the most common conditions among recipients in Maryland:

  • Mental health conditions: 34.8%

  • Musculoskeletal disorders: 26.6%

  • Neurological (nervous system) disorders: 10.7%

  • Cardiovascular (circulatory system) disorders: 7.2%

  • Injuries: 3.5%

  • Cancers (neoplasms): 3.3%

  • Genitourinary disorders (kidney disease): 2.5%

  • Respiratory conditions: 2.4%

  • Endocrine disorders: 2.2%

  • Infectious and parasitic diseases: 1.7%

  • Digestive system disorders: 1.4%

  • Congenital anomalies (birth defects): 0.7%

  • Hematological (blood) disorders: 0.5%

  • Skin conditions: 0.2%

  • Other qualifying conditions: 0.2%

The most common mental health disorders among Maryland recipients are: 

  • Depression, bipolar disorder, and related disorders: 14,425 people

  • Intellectual disorders: 12,143 people

  • Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders: 6,862

Read our full guide about which medical conditions qualify for disability benefits.


Do I need a lawyer to apply for disability in Maryland?

You are not required to enlist the help of a lawyer to apply for disability benefits. However, you're three times more likely to win benefits if you do. Regardless of your state, working with a disability lawyer significantly increases the odds of winning your case. Working with a lawyer is good for several reasons, including:

  • A lawyer will handle the paperwork for you. Your disability application must be error-free. A lawyer can help you fill out all the paperwork correctly and avoid making any clerical mistakes. 

  • A lawyer will communicate with the SSA on your behalf. Given their credentials, disability lawyers can access information that most people can’t. For example, a Social Security disability lawyer can access the SSA's Electronic Records Express (ERE), the system that holds all the files related to your case. If your lawyer notices any discrepancies, they can follow up with the SSA.

  • A lawyer will help with the appeals process. It's common to be denied the first time you apply for disability benefits. Most candidates have to appeal, which involves submitting more paperwork by a specific date and appearing before a court. Lawyers are familiar with this process and can represent you effectively.

Find a top disability lawyer in Maryland.

Get help with your disability application

If you’re applying for disability benefits in Maryland, Atticus can help. After you take our two-minute quiz, a member of our team will get in touch to offer personalized advice about your disability claim. They can also connect you with a lawyer if you’d like. 

There are no upfront costs to working with Atticus. You only pay your lawyer if they win your case for benefits, and the one-time lawyer fee is capped at 25% of your first benefits check.

Frequently asked questions about benefits in Maryland

How do I qualify for disability in Maryland?

To qualify for disability you need to have a condition that prevents you from working for at least a year. You’ll also need to meet certain work history requirements (for SSDI) or be within certain income limits (for SSI). For more on these requirements, read our full write up here.

What conditions qualify for disability in Maryland?

Any condition that will prevent you from working for a year or more can qualify for disability benefits. Some of the most common conditions include musculoskeletal disorders, mental disorders, nervous system diseases, and circulatory system diseases. See our full list of conditions that qualify here.

How long does it take to get approved for disability in Maryland?

It takes an average of 6.1 months to get an initial disability decision in Maryland. Most people who apply are initially rejected, and need to appeal this decision. If you appeal and go to a hearing, the process takes around two years on average. Read more: How Long It Takes to Get Approved for Disability Benefits

How much does disability pay in Maryland?

The average SSDI payment in Maryland is $1,413.31 per month. The average SSI payment is $651.63 per month. What you’ll earn is dependent on your income, or the amount you’ve historically paid into the Social Security program. Read more on what amount you can expect.

How should I prepare my disability application in Maryland?

Answer the application questions truthfully, consistently, and succinctly. You should also ensure that you gather and submit all your medical records with your application. The SSA paperwork can be complicated, so our legal team has written a full guide to the application here.

Does Maryland have a state disability program?

No, Maryland doesn't have a state disability program. Only five states (California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island) have a state program. Residents of Maryland can apply for federal disability programs (SSDI and SSI). Read more about SSDI and SSI here.


Related resources for disability applicants in Maryland

Maryland Disability Benefits: How to Qualify, Apply, and Get Approved

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By Jackie Jakab

Disability lawyers in Maryland

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See what you qualify for

How long has your condition made it hard to work?

Jackie Jakab, Disability Attorney

Jackie Jakab

Lead Attorney

Jackie Jakab is Atticus’s Legal Director. She’s a licensed attorney, a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, and has counseled thousands of people seeking disability benefits.
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