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How long must someone work to qualify for SSDI benefits?

On Behalf of | May 13, 2024 | Uncategorized |

Most working adults never experience a medical condition significant enough to warrant disability benefits. While some people have private disability insurance, all working adults, including independent contractors, make contributions to Social Security.

Those contributions help fund the retirement benefits program and also disability benefit programs. Someone who has previously worked but becomes unable to continue working could apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. Those benefits can help people cover basic household expenses when they are unable to continue working.

Applicants generally need a condition so serious that they cannot return to any form of employment. Their condition needs to last for a year or longer for them to be eligible. They also need to have a significant work history. How long does someone need to work to qualify for SSDI benefits in most cases?

Age influences the work requirements

In theory, workers need to have a relatively expensive history of employment to qualify for SSDI benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) expects an applicant to have 40 credits based on their work history.

Typically, workers can earn up to four credits per year. The SSA awards workers one credit for every $1,730 earned. Even part-time employees can typically accrue the maximum four credits annually. A recent work history is also necessary. Applicants usually need to have a crude at least 20 of their credits within the last 10 years.

However, those who haven’t worked for decades can still potentially qualify for SSDI benefits. There is a sliding scale that applies for younger workers. Those under the age of 31 can potentially qualify with fewer credits. The SSA typically wants to see that someone has maintained gainful employment for half of their adult life or more when reviewing an SSDI benefits application for someone under the age of 31.

It is possible to check the credits accrued by referring to the most recent letter set by the SSA affirming someone’s eligibility or by accessing the SSA website. Applicants generally need both proof of an adequate work history and sufficient medical documentation to affirm that they need SSDI benefits.

Understanding the requirements for SSDI benefits could help applicants evaluate what options for support they have when they are suddenly unable to work. Multiple years of work history are typically necessary for SSDI applicants to qualify.