Qualifying for Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits is not as straightforward as it might seem. In order to receive benefits, you first must meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of “disability.”
If you have a severe condition that is totally disabling, preventing you from doing any work, you should qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Additionally, if your disability has already lasted or is expected to last for at least a year, you qualify as disabled. The SSA will not pay for partial or short-term disabilities, only for total disabilities.
Besides meeting Social Security’s strict standards for disabilities, you need to have worked long enough within a certain period of time to qualify for benefits. Social Security “work credits” are based on your total annual income, and you can earn up to four of them each year. The number of work credits that are needed to qualify for SSA disability benefits will depend on your age when you first became disabled. In most cases, you need around 40 credits, 20 of which were earned in the last decade. However, some younger workers can qualify with fewer credits.
If you do not have enough work credits, but you are still totally disabled according to the SSA’s definition, you may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability payments. The SSI is a needs-based program, meaning you will need to meet specific household income and asset restrictions before receiving approval for SSI payments.
For more information about qualifying for SSDI or SSI benefits, please contact our experienced South Carolina Social Security disability attorneys at McWhirter, Bellinger & Associates, P.A. today for a free initial consultation. It doesn’t cost you anything to see if we can help.