Determining Your Eligibility for Social Security Disability

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Determining Your Eligibility for Social Security Disability

Every year, thousands of people file for disability benefits in the U.S. in a process that can often take many months and a significant amount of effort. Therefore, it is important to know whether or not you are even eligible to receive SSDI, or Social Security Disability Insurance, benefits before taking the time and effort to send in your SSDI application. Talk to your SSDI attorney, and read the following information, to check your eligibility for SSDI.

What is SSDI?

SSDI, or Social Security Disability Insurance, is a program that offers disability relief funds to those who have accumulated a certain number of work credits by working in the United States for a period of time. SSDI is granted regardless of need, as long as the minimum number of work credits is met.

Do I meet the age and work credit requirements?

How long you have worked, as well as your age, both have an impact upon your eligibility. Working allows you to amass work credits, which are needed to qualify for SSDI benefits. The number of credits needed to qualify for SSDI goes up with age; for example, if you become disabled after age 42, you must have earned one work credit for each year after you turned 21, including the year before becoming disabled. However, if you become disabled from age 31 through 42, a minimum of 20 work credits is required – meaning that if you are 31 years old, you have to have worked every year from the year you turned 21 in order to qualify for SSDI.

Do I meet the disability requirements?

In order to receive disability benefits, you must first prove that you have a disability – so check whether you meet the SSA definition of a disability before you apply. According to the SSA, “The law defines disability as the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.” Therefore, make sure that your injury, illness, or other condition prevents you from working and lasts for (or is expected to last) at least a year before you consider applying for benefits.

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