Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can provide you with monthly income when you have a disability that stops you from being able to work and earn income. Unfortunately, actually qualifying for SSDI benefits is tricky because the application denial rates are very high. To maximize your chances of getting disability benefits from the Social Security Administration, it is important to understand eligibility rules. It is also a good idea to work with a disability benefits lawyer who can help you to prove eligibility.
Who is Eligible for SSDI?
- You must have earned a sufficient number of work credits. Requirements change periodically, as the Social Security Administration explains. As of 2017, earning $1,300 in wages or self-employment income would earn you a single credit. Workers are allowed to earn four credits annually. The specific number of credits you must have to be eligible for SSDI depends how old you are at the time of your disability. While you typically need 40 credits and must have earned at least 20 of those credits in the 10 years immediately before becoming disabled, younger workers can become eligible for SSDI with fewer work credits.
- You must not be engaged in substantial gainful activity, which means you must not be working when applying for benefits if your income from work is too high.
- You must have a long-term disabling condition that has lasted or that is expected to last a year or that is expected to be fatal. You'll need to provide proof your disability is a qualifying one.