Anyone who gets SSDI benefits must first meet qualifications. Perhaps most importantly, your disability will have to meet the program’s definition of a disability. To receive monthly SSDI cash you must meet the SSA’s definition of a disability, also known as a disabling condition.
This definition includes the below 3 specifics: long-term disability, severe disability and total disability. Read on to learn about the definitions of each one of these categories and what they entail.
- Your disability must be long-term, which means it is medically predicted to last at least a year or eventually lead to your death.
- Your disability must be total in that it makes it physically impossible for you to work. This requirement also means that you cannot make more than $1,470 in monthly income from employment.
- Your disability must be so severe that it renders you unable to work in your previous job or an alternate position.
Aside from meeting this definition, you also must meet two basic earning requirements to determine whether you have worked and paid enough taxes over your lifetime to qualify for SSDI.
- The Recent Work Test determines whether you have previously worked enough to qualify. To determine this, the SSA looks at your age and the number of years you have worked.
- The Duration of Work Test determines how many quarters of a year that you have paid Social Security taxes and worked before becoming disabled. This number corresponds to work credits. Depending on your age, you must have a certain number of work credits to qualify for disability payments.
To calculate how many years you had to work to pass this test, you can subtract 22 from your current age. This will give you the amount of work credits or quarters that you need. You can then divide this number by 4 to find the number of years that would have had to work.
For instance if you are age 42 then the formula to estimate your duration of work requirement would be:
42 – 22 = 20 quarters or work credits
20 / 4 = 5 years
So if you were age 42 when you became disabled, you had to have worked at least 20 quarters or 5 years to qualify for SSDI benefits.
If you have not worked and have a disabling condition then you may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).