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Can you get Social Security Disability Insurance without working?

On Behalf of | Feb 11, 2022 | SSDI

When you haven’t worked for long and suffer from an injury or illness that leads to disability, then you may not be sure if you can get Social Security Disability benefits. It’s true that not everyone qualifies for Social Security Disability, and you do need to have a work record to get it.

If you have never worked, you won’t be eligible for SSDI, but you may qualify even if you’ve only worked a short time and are young. Here’s what you should know.

You work to earn credits for Social Security Disability

One thing you need to know right away is that you work to earn credits that help you obtain Social Security Disability benefits when you need them. In some cases, like with those with visual disabilities, it may be possible to combine your SSDI credits with credits from parents or a spouse to qualify. For others, there is a necessary work period that you will need to complete before you can get SSDI.

To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance, you need to have a number of credits that is based on your age. If you are:

  • Under 24, you will need six credits within the three years before the disability began
  • 24 to 31, you will need to show you worked half the time between those ages. For example, if you’re 27, then three of the last six years (from 21 on) should have been work years
  • 31 or older, then you need, in general, 20 credits across the last 10 years

If you don’t meet this qualification, you may not be able to seek Social Security Disability. However, exemptions do exist, such as exemptions for those with statutory blindness. This list show exactly how much you need to work to be able to qualify for SSDI.

Qualifying for SSDI is important for those with disabilities

Disabilities can make it hard to work and take care of yourself at the same time. If you’re struggling, it may be time to look into Social Security Disability benefits to see if you can qualify and how much compensation it may provide you with.