Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a crucial benefit for working individuals who suffer serious injuries or develop disabling medical conditions. SSDI benefits will help you cover your living expenses when you can no longer work because of your health.
However, only certain people actually qualify for these benefits. Determining whether or not you can potentially qualify for SSDI can help you decide if applying is worth the effort. There are two specific criteria that your circumstances must meet for you to get SSDI benefits.
You must have made adequate contributions to Social Security
How much you pay in taxes, including towards Social Security, depends on your overall income. The more you earn, the more you will generally have to pay. Those deductions from your paycheck add up over time and lead to eligibility for SSDI and Social Security retirement benefits.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) assigns points to individual taxpayers based on their earnings and therefore their contributions to the program. You will need to earn at least 40 credits to qualify for SSDI benefits, and you can only accumulate four credits each year.
Currently, every $1,470 of income earned and taxed will accrue one point for the taxpayer. To make a claim for SSDI, you not only need 40 points overall, but you will also need to have accrued at least 20 of those points in the 10 years leading up to your application.
Your condition should prevent you from working your job and any other job
Sometimes, people associate so strongly with a particular job or career that when they can no longer do that work, they assume they have a permanent, total disability. However, many times skilled workers who can’t continue in the same career they have long enjoyed can still perform other jobs.
You will need a formal diagnosis and medical records supporting your claim that your condition is severe enough to completely prevent you from securing gainful employment. Additionally, the medical condition will need to persist for at least a year or be permanent. The greater the impact of the condition on your ability to work or live on your own, the stronger your claim for benefits.
Understanding when you might qualify for SSDI benefits and help you decide whether applying now would be in your best interest.