Getting Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits requires that you first meet certain criteria. Your condition needs to be serious enough to warrant benefits. Your condition will need to impact your work functions and also your daily life.
The condition doesn’t just need to be serious. It will need to last for long enough for you to qualify. A lifetime condition, a terminal disease or a medical condition that will persist for at least a year will potentially qualify someone for benefits.
You also need to have worked enough in the past to accumulate enough work credits to receive benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) assigns credits based on the amount of work you do and the income you earn.
How many credits do you need to receive benefits, and how long will it take to earn them?
You can earn credits based on the income you report
The SSA routinely revisits and adjusts the system for assigning credits to workers. You can receive one credit for every $1,470 you earn each year. However, the SSA will generally only apply four credits per year to your record.
Typically, workers need at least 40 credits in order to qualify for SSDI benefits. Additionally, 20 of those 40 credits must be from the last 10 years. Still, the program does offer exemptions for younger workers with serious disabilities who have not yet accumulated enough credits.
You can typically check your account with the SSA to determine if you have paid enough into Social Security to receive benefits. Learning more about SSDI benefits can make applying for benefits a little bit easier if you need them.