What Must You Show to Be Eligible for SSDI Benefits?
You’ve been hurt, but not at work, or you’re suffering from an illness that makes it difficult or impossible for you to work. You don’t have any employer-sponsored disability insurance. Even though the paychecks have stopped, the bills are still coming. You’ve heard that you might be able to secure benefits through the Social Security Administration, but you don’t know how you qualify or what you have to do.
Determining Your Eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits
There are two basic requirements to qualify for SSDI payments:
- You must have worked jobs covered by Social Security and had FICA taxes withheld from your paycheck
- You must be unable to work because of a medical condition that falls under the Social Security Administration’s definition of a disability
Is There a Minimum Amount of Time that You Must Have Worked in a Social Security Qualified Job?
Yes. To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must have accrued a certain number of “work credits” under Social Security. To accumulate work credits, you must have a minimum amount of income in a job where FICA taxes were withheld from your pay. You can earn a maximum of four credits per year. The amount necessary to earn a credit changes periodically. In 2023, you must have $1,640 to earn a work credit. Once you have earned $6,560, you will qualify for the full four credits available in a single year.
As a general rule, the number of credits you need to qualify for SSDI benefits depends on your age at the time you apply for disability benefits. You will need to show that you’ve earned a minimum number of credits (the “duration of work” test) and that a certain number of those credits were earned recently (the recent work test).
To meet the requirements of the duration of work test, you need only show that you have earned a certain number of credits. The younger you are at the age of disability, the fewer duration of work credits you’ll need. For example, if you apply for disability at the age of 42, you only have to show that you have a total of 20 work credits. However, if you seek disability at the age of 50, you must have accumulated at least 28 work credits.
If you are under the age of 24, you can qualify for SSDI if you’ve earned six work credits in the previous three years. If you file for disability benefits between the ages of 24 and 31, you must have earned full credits for one half of the time between your 21st birthday and the date you applied for benefits. For example, if you seek benefit at the age of 30, you must have four and a half years of work credits, or 18 credits (4 x 4.5). If you are over the age of 31, you must have 20 credits over the previous 10 years.
What Is a Disability for the Purposes of a Social Security Disability Claim?
The Social Security system has its own definition of disability. You cannot receive disability payments for temporary disability or for partial disability. To qualify, you must show that:’
- You are unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity because of a disability or medical problem
- You are unable to perform the work you previously did and cannot adapt to other work because of a medical ailment
- You have been unable to work for at least one full year, you expect your condition to remain unchanged for at least one year, or you anticipate that your condition will lead to your death
Contact the Experienced SSDI Claims Attorneys at Bailey & Galyen
At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we understand the difference that Social Security disability benefits can make when you are unable to work. We offer a free initial consultation to every client. To schedule an appointment with a proven SSDI claims lawyer, contact us by e-mail or 844-402-2992 call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.