Not everyone with a disabling medical condition will qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. Some people are still capable of working a less-demanding and lower-paying job, so they do not qualify. Others will not have the work history necessary to get benefits.
Applicants need to have worked for long enough to have made adequate contributions to the Social Security Administration (SSA) before applying. The SSA tracks employment history and payroll contributions and will review their internal records when evaluating a benefits claim.
How can you determine if you have worked for long enough to qualify for SSDI benefits?
The SSA award you credit for your employment
Every time your employer issues you a paycheck or you send estimated tax payments to federal and state authorities, you make contributions toward Social Security. The SSA will award you one credit for every $1,510 that you earn, with a maximum of four credits per year. Most applicants will need to have 40 credits overall and 20 credits from within the last 10 years to qualify for full SSDI benefits.
However, younger workers who have not had jobs for long enough to accrue 40 credits can potentially get benefits with fewer credits. Those under the age of 31 typically need to show that they have worked for at least half of the time since they turned 21 to qualify for benefits. Workers can verify the number of credits they have by referring to periodic letters sent by the SSA or using their website.
Learning about the specific rules that determine if you will receive SSDI benefits can help you if you think you need them.