A: Social Security Administration (SSA) regulations require that a successful applicant for disability benefits must be completely disabled. (However, persons over the age of 50 often qualify even if they are able to do some other work). This is unlike some other programs and insurance policies that assist partially disabled persons. The disability must be a physical or mental impairment that is expected to last at least one year (or has already lasted one year) or will result in the applicant’s death. This does not mean, however, that the applicant has to be permanently disabled.