Social Security Disability Benefits – How do I qualify?

When you work and pay FICA taxes, those taxes contribute to insurance coverage for Old Age Retirement, Survivors and Disability benefits.  In particular, Social Security Disability provides benefits to disabled or blind persons who are “insured” by workers’ contributions to the Social Security trust fund. These contributions are based on your earnings (or those of your spouse or parents) as required by the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). Title II of the Social Security Act authorizes SSDI benefits. Your dependents may also be eligible for benefits from your earnings record.  If you have questions related to coverage for Social Security Disability benefits it is important to consult with an experienced attorney.

To be covered and eligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits, an individual generally must have worked and earned at least $4500 for five of the last ten years prior to disability.  This would require that the earnings be claimed as either W2 or 1099 earnings and taxes were paid on the earnings.  This earnings requirement is very general, and if you have unusual circumstances it is best to seek advice from an attorney who is knowledgeable in Social Security disability issues.  The length of your work history in combination with the amount that you earned over that work history will determine both the amount of your monthly benefit as well as the length of time into the future that your "insured status" or eligibility for benefits will last.

Most adults with a significant work history qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.  However, children and individuals who do not have an extensive work history can look to the Supplemental Security Income benefit program for cash assistance if they are unable to work.  An experienced Social Security disability attorney is a valuable asset in understanding the types of benefits that will be available to you and your family.


Additional Resources

Social Security Disability and SSI claims based on learning Disabilities

Income Limits for Supplemental Security Income Elegibility


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