Social Security disability benefits can help you get the money you need when you are disabled and unable to work. Accidents, injuries and medical conditions that prevent you from earning a living wage could place a large financial burden on you and your family. To help ease this burden, the federal government offers disability insurance that can help you pay the bills.
To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance, you must meet the Social Security Administration’s disability requirements. You could also get SSDI if you or qualified family members have worked and paid enough Social Security taxes. Continue reading to learn more about this federal program and how to get benefits.
Social Security Disability benefits help millions of Americans stay afloat when they are unable to earn an income. The Social Security Administration (SSA) oversees SSDI, which is one of the largest government programs that provide benefits to those with disabilities.
To receive SSDI benefits, you must meet the requirements of the program. The SSA determines the program’s eligibility criteria. You may be considered disabled per the SSA’s definition of the term if you meet all of the following conditions:
- You are unable to perform the work you once did.
- Due to your condition, you cannot adapt to another industry or career type.
- Your condition has or is expected to last for at least one year or result in your death.
Individuals who are temporarily disabled or injured do not qualify for the program. Likewise, SSDI benefits are not available to those who have a partial disability, which is one that does not completely prevent the individual from earning an income. Short-term disability may be available from other government programs like workers’ compensation.
Aside from meeting the requirements, Social Security Disability benefits are only provided to those who have earned enough work credits from prior employment. American workers receive one credit for every $1,640 earned (current as of 2023). You can earn a maximum of four credits per year.
To qualify for SSDI, you must have at least 40 work credits, which is equivalent to roughly 10 years of work. You do not need to accumulate work credits chronologically. In other words, you could have credits from various time periods. However, at least 20 of those credits must have been earned in the 10 years immediately prior to becoming disabled.
Certain applicants may be accepted into the Social Security Disability Insurance program without 40 work credits. For example, if you are younger than 24 years of age and meet the SSA’s disability requirements, you could qualify for benefits by earning six credits in the prior three years before your condition started.
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