Social Security can provide valuable disability benefits if you qualify, but these benefits — and how you qualify for them — are often misunderstood. Ask an RSSA® for details.

Extra benefits await those with certain disabilities

If you’re disabled and unable to work, you may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI), a Federal program administered by the Social Security Administration. It pays benefits to you and certain members of your family if you are “insured,” meaning that you worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes. Because SSDI is available only under very specific conditions, an Advisor with the RSSA® credential will help you determine your eligibility and the requirements that you need to meet.

What Are the Work History Eligibility Requirements for SSDI?

To meet the work eligibility requirements, you must have worked long enough and recently enough to qualify. Eligibility is based on the number of work credits you have earned. For each quarter of work with income of a certain amount, you earn one work credit. The number of credits you will need to qualify for benefits will depend on your age:

  • Generally, you must have earned 40 work credits with 20 of them having been earned in the last 10 years.
  • If you’re younger than 31 years old, you may qualify for SSDI benefits with fewer work credits.

What are the Disability Requirements for SSDI?

You must also be considered disabled to be eligible for SSDI benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) determines disability by the following criteria:

  • ​You can no longer perform your former job; and
  • You cannot perform other work due to your medical condition; and
  • Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year, or result in your death.

The SSA also maintains a medically-approved Listing of Impairments that may automatically quality you for benefits. The most common include:

  • Musculoskeletal conditions, such as back problems
  • Respiratory illnesses, such as COPD and severe asthma
  • Chronic heart failure
  • Vision and hearing loss
  • Neurological conditions, like multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease
  • Affective disorders, including depression and bipolar disorder
  • Kidney disease
  • Cancer

If you don’t qualify for SSDI benefits, you may still be eligible for Supplement Security Income benefits (SSI). To be approved, you must be disabled and meet strict asset and income rules that an RSSA analyst can explain to you.

The takeaway

The qualification criteria for SSDI are complicated, and the comprehensive explanations are designed for doctors, attorneys, and other Social Security disability professionals. Even if you clearly qualify for SSDI benefits, you may be denied.  That’s why you should turn to a Registered Social Security Analyst® to advocate for you! We’ll help you navigate the stringent application process, assist with your application, and fight for all of the benefits you deserve.

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Need Answers? Request Your Free Consultation

Talk with a Registered Social Security Analyst® — a trained advisor for a free, no-obligation consultation. If you decide to engage the RSSA®, you’ll receive a comprehensive personalized analysis and advice that may provide you with thousands or tens of thousands more in lifetime benefits.