Every paycheck that a worker in the United States earns generally has funds withheld from it to cover payroll taxes. In addition to making contributions for income taxes, workers have to contribute to the Social Security program with each check they earn. Most workers expect to claim those contributions years into the future when they are ready to retire.
However, some workers may require financial assistance long before they reach retirement age. The same contributions that fund retirement benefits also help fund the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. SSDI benefits are a key social safety net provided for those who work for a living but whose careers are temporarily or permanently sidelined due to a debilitating medical condition.
When workers who are not yet old enough to retire develop medical conditions that prevent them from working, SSDI benefits can help them pay for their basic cost of living expenses. A worker with serious health concerns potentially obtain SSDI benefits when the following criteria are med.
When one’s medical condition is particularly severe
One of the first and most important qualifications for SSDI benefit eligibility is the severity of someone’s medical condition. For most applicants, it will be necessary to prove that their health concern prevents them from pursuing any gainful employment. They will need documentation of not just a diagnosis but also of the symptoms they experience. The right medical records will help establish that someone cannot work at all because of their disabling medical condition. They will also show that someone will have the condition for at least a year or longer. Having adequate medical documentation that establishes both how severe the condition is and how long the symptoms will last will be invaluable during an SSDI benefits claim.
When one has enough credits
Someone needs to have an extensive work history to qualify for SSDI benefits in most cases. Workers in their 30s or beyond usually need at least 40 credits to qualify. Younger workers may qualify based on a sliding scale.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) will provide information to individuals about their prior contributions and therefore their likely eligibility upon request. Understanding the basic standards for SSDI applicants can help people better evaluate whether or not they may qualify for benefits in the wake of a significant diagnosis.