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I want to return to college after being injured at work. If you cannot answer, then please direct me to the information. Can I go to classes and still receive social security disability?

We absolutely want to help with your question. We hope this information guides you, along with others who have family or friends on disability. This information may appear very narrow in scope to our readers. Its relevance increases when you learn that nearly 40% of US college students are over 25-years-old. Most people on SSDI (Social Security Disability Income) have not attained higher levels of education. It seems a good investment in the nation’s workforce to enable you and others to attend college. However, you'll read below our government does not always make good investment decisions.

First, we need to look at how you qualify for SSDI. According to reports, approximately 9-million workers in the US receive disability insurance. Benefits for disabilities are offered to people of all ages, but are subject to certain conditions.

To qualify, recipients must work for a certain number of quarter years, contributing taxes to the SSDI system. The administration has specific medical requirements, in order to be eligible. Your evaluation must come from a doctor or other certified medical specialist, with evidence of work impairment. There is a very strict standard and most applications are denied. Many applicants find themselves compelled to hire a lawyer or disability advocate to apply to SSDI.

In many cases, attendance at college may hinder a disability claim, because it's based on your ability, or inability to work. Physically going to classes and completing coursework equates to carrying out a sit-down office job.

Mental disabilities are another consideration. If your ability to remember material is impaired, then attending college may be harder to justify.

Medical evidence of loss of functionality, ongoing treatment and other factors influence the decision whether you can receive SSDI while attending college. It's a case-by-case process and the criteria and resulting payments are different for each one.

If you're being supported by your parents while attending college, you're not considered an independent adult by the administration. Your parents' financial situation is considered, unless you can prove you're completely independent.

The approval of a disability claim can take as long as 15 months, so it'll be a while before any payments begin. You can attend college while claiming Social Security Disability Insurance, but the application process is frustrating for many applicants.

In addition, your case may be reviewed in the future to determine if your condition has improved. Attending full-time college could reflect on whether you're still considered disabled and eligible for benefits.

The bottom line is that you can attend college while claiming disability benefits, but justifying that claim and keeping it is no easy task.

I choose not to place "DIS", in my ability - Robert M. Hensel

(Martin J. Young is a former correspondent of Asia Times).

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