Do you qualify for SSDI benefits?

As mentioned, qualifying for SSDI benefits isn’t means-tested, like SSI benefits, but instead based on your earnings history. To qualify you need a certain amount of work credits at the age you apply. Remember: working full-time for a year earns you 4 work credits.

  • Below age 24: Young disabled people need to have six credits earned within three years before the onset of disability.
  • From ages 24 to 31: In this age bracket, you must have earned half the credits you could have received by working full-time between age 21 and your age when becoming disabled. For example, if the disability happens when you are 29, you’ll need 16 credits (32/2).
  • Age 31-42: 20 credits earned in the past 10 years before disability.
  • Age 43-61: Your work credits must meet the sum of the years between age 21 and the year prior to the beginning of the disability. For example, if you are 54, you will need 32 credits (53-21=32)
  • Age 62-Retirement Age: 40 credits are required. After a person reaches retirement age, disability benefits become standard social security benefits.