What Are the Non-Medical Requirements for Social Security Disability Insurance?
In addition to providing evidence of your medical condition, you must also meet several non-medical requirements to be eligible for SSDI benefits:
- You must be “insured” by Social Security. This means that you worked in jobs (or were self-employed) where you paid Social Security taxes, and that work must be both recent and have lasted long enough to meet Social Security’s requirements. Social Security uses a complicated formula to calculate your eligibility, which is based on your age at the time you became disabled.
- The formula calculates “work credits,” which are based on how long you worked and how much you earned. You get credits for each year that you worked if you made more than a minimum amount. For example, if you made more than $5,280 in 2018 in income covered by Social Security, you will earn four credits for the year. How many credits you need depends on your age. Many people need a total of 40 credits, which is usually equivalent to 10 years of work. Of those 40 credits, 20 must have been earned in the 10 years before you became disabled. Younger people may need fewer credits to be eligible for benefits.
- If you are currently working, you cannot be making more than a certain amount of money from your work. In 2018, you could not be making more than $1,180 per month by working. You are, however, allowed to make a higher amount from non-work income, such as from investments.
- Social Security also looks at your age, previous work experience, and education to determine if there are any other jobs that you can do, given your disability. To be eligible for SSDI benefits, Social Security must find that there are no other jobs that you would be able to do