The Social Security Disability Insurance program provides financial benefits to individuals who are unable to work because of a serious injury or illness. Applying for SSDI benefits can be a lengthy process, though, as most applicants must file an appeal after an initial denial.
Before filing your application for SSDI benefits, you probably want to know whether you are eligible for benefits. Fortunately, the law is clear about who can request them.
Your work history
Because the SSDI program receives funding from payroll taxes, benefits are only available to those who have paid into the fund. Specifically, you must have a sufficient number of work credits to be eligible for SSDI benefits. The number you need to qualify typically depends on your age at the time of your disability, but the threshold is 40 credits for most Americans.
You must have a qualifying disability to be eligible for SSDI benefits. Essentially, this means you must have a medical condition that renders you unable to work. Your condition must also last at least a year. To help applicants, the Social Security Administration publishes listings of impairments that are usually serious enough to interfere with a person’s ability to work.
If you meet the eligibility requirements for SSDI benefits, you can file an application. When you do, it is critical to document your work impairment thoroughly. If you receive a denial, which happens to most first-time applicants, you have the option of asking a judge to consider your request.
You should not have to struggle to support yourself when you cannot work because of an illness or injury. Ultimately, if you are eligible to apply for SSDI benefits, doing so may give you the financial resources you need to survive.