Social Security Disability Insurance is a helpful benefit system that allows those with disabilities to seek benefits to help them have an income when they cannot work or are unable to work a substantial amount. Since the Social Security Disability Insurance program is supported by payments made by people who are working, many people falsely believe that they need to be injured on the job to get these benefits.
To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, you don’t have to get hurt on the job. You could suffer a sudden illness unrelated to your work or get into an accident that leaves you with a disability. Whatever the issue is, it doesn’t have to be related to your job.
However, where work does play a role is in qualifying for SSDI. If you have not worked in the past, then you may not be able to qualify for the benefits you’d like to seek.
Your work history matters when seeking SSDI
Besides meeting the definition of disability set by the Social Security Administration, you also have to show that you have worked long enough, and recently enough, to qualify. The SSA records your work credits based on your yearly wages. If you are self-employed, then those will be used to calculate your credits. Each year you work, you can get up to four credits.
In 2021, you could receive one credit for each $1,470 in self-employment income or wages. So, by earning as little as $5,880 on the job, you get all four credits to qualify for that year.
Getting four credits isn’t enough on its own, usually. Most applicants will need at least 40 credits. On top of that, 20 of those credits should have been earned within the last 10 years (including the year you suffered a disabling injury or illness). If you are a younger person, you may need fewer credits.
Work history matters, but you don’t need to be hurt on the job to qualify. If you cannot work like you did in the past, consider filing for disability benefits as soon as possible.