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Understanding Social Security Disability

Social Security Disability pays benefits to you if you suffer a disability and cannot work. Some members of your family may also benefit from SSDI if you qualify. You must have worked long enough to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance.

Social Security Disability Insurance isn't something that other taxpayers end up subsidizing. It's not the same as some other forms of benefits. You can only qualify for SSDI in certain circumstances, like if you've worked for the last five years and paid enough money into the system. SSDI works a little like a long-term savings account that kicks in if you're disabled and unable to work, but there are some things you should know.

How does the Social Security Administration decide if you've worked long enough to get Social Security Disability Insurance benefits?

The Social Security Administration looks at your yearly work credits to determine if you've worked enough time to obtain Social Security Disability Insurance. The length of time you have to work and number of credits you need changes yearly. In 2018, you earn one credit for every $1,320 you make in wages or earn through self-employment.

You can get up to four credits yearly, so once you earn $5,280, you've earned your yearly credits. Depending on when you become disabled, you may need 40 credits to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. Twenty of those credits have to be earned in the last 10 years of work, including the year leading up to when you became disabled. If you are a younger worker and don't have 40 credits, you may not need as many. It's possible to qualify with fewer depending on the number of years you've been able to be in the workforce.

Qualifying for SSDI isn't usually simple, which is why most people work with attorneys to make their claims. Once qualified, you'll begin to receive benefits to help support you as you recover or live with a disability.

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