You may apply for Social Security Disability Insurance after an injury or illness makes it difficult for you to complete routine job tasks. As noted on the SSA.gov website, if an impairment leaves you unable to work for at least a year, you may qualify.
To receive benefits, you typically need medical documents to show your condition prevents you from performing a “substantial gainful activity.” You may also need to show that you cannot perform a different job or change careers.
How does my work history affect SSDI benefits?
A portion of the taxes your employer withholds from your paychecks contributes to SSDI funds. You may qualify based on your employment history. For each year you work, you may earn up to a maximum of four credits. Every $1,510 worth of earnings results in one work credit.
The SSA first verifies that you have earned at least 40 work credits. You must have received 20 credits within the past 10 years from when your disability started. If you have not yet compiled 40 credits, your age may allow you to qualify based on a “duration of work” test and a “recent work” test.
How may I receive benefits with fewer work credits?
As noted by the AARP, younger individuals may receive SSDI benefits if they pass a recent work test, which means working for at least one year and six months or having accumulated six work credits.
The SSA uses a formula to determine eligibility for applicants with less than 40 work credits. Applicants at age 30, for example, must have earned at least eight credits or worked two years to qualify for benefits.
Regardless of your age, you could pass the duration test if you have at least 40 work credits. You must, however, have earned some of those credits within years recent of your becoming disabled.