Being unable to work can be incredibly stressful. Without gainful employment, what is a person to do to pay for even the most basic of needs such as food and housing? Those who are disabled and unable to work often rely on programs such as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) to make ends meet each month. There are, however, specific program requirements that must be met in order for a person to qualify for these benefits. Let’s do an overview of the SSDI program’s eligibility requirements.
SSDI Eligibility Requirements
One of the main eligibility requirements for SSDI is the fact that the applicant must have a disabling condition. This means that the person is disabled pursuant to the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability. For starters, your disability must be considered to be long-term or permanent. A long-term disability is one that is projected to last 12 months or more. A disabling condition will also prevent you from participating in substantially gainful activity.
Having to quit your job because you are unable to perform it with the limitations of your disability does not necessarily mean that you will be considered disabled for SSDI program purposes. The Social Security Administration may find that, while you may not be able to perform past jobs or your current job, there may be other forms of employment that you would still be able to retain even with your limiting condition. If the SSA deems you able to still retain other types of work in the U.S. economy, it is not likely that you will qualify for SSDI benefits.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a book of qualifying medical listings known as the “Blue Book.” Having your condition listed in the Blue Book will act as support that your condition is severe enough to qualify for SSDI benefits. This book lists those conditions which are potentially disabling, but there are other things that you will need to show to be approved for benefits, such as not being able to retain substantially gainful employment.
In addition to having a disabling condition that prevents you from working, the other main factor in SSDI eligibility is work credits. To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must have earned enough work credits over the course of your employment history. The number of work credits you will need in order to qualify for SSDI benefits will vary based on factors such as your age. For instance:
- Those who are less than 24 years old may qualify for SSDI benefits if 6 work credits have been earned over the 3 year period ending when the disability began.
- Those who are between 24 and 31 may qualify for SSDI benefits if they have credit for working half of the time between age 21 and the time the disability began.
- Those who are older than 31 may qualify for SSDI benefits if they have earned a certain number of work credits and the general rule with this is that the person must have earned a minimum of 20 of the credits during the 10 years immediately preceding the onset of the disability.
Los Angeles Disability Attorney
If you are unable to work due to a disabling condition, Disability Advocates is here for you. We can help you figure out what SSA programs you may be eligible to receive benefits from and help you navigate the application process. Contact us today.