Every person working in the United States typically contributes toward the Social Security program. Employers generally withhold funds to contribute to the program along with other tax obligations, and independent contractors will need to make those payments on their own each quarter.
The average working adult likely thinks of Social Security as a retirement resource. However, a small fraction of working adults will eventually need disability benefits before they are ready to retire. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits help people make ends meet when they can no longer work. However, the SSDI program is notorious for rejecting a lot of applicants.
Many people do not get benefits because they do not meet the standards to qualify for them. What are the requirements that the Social Security Administration (SSA) enforces for disability claims?
A debilitating, long-lasting condition
The medical condition that someone has must meet certain specific standards for the applicant to qualify. Generally speaking, the condition must be so severe that it completely eliminates the option of working. The SSA maintains a list of potentially qualifying conditions, but a diagnosis alone does not entitle someone to benefits. Applicants typically need to submit medical documentation showing the severity of their symptoms. Not only will their condition need to prevent them from any gainful employment, but it will also need to last for at least a year, if not longer, for them to qualify.
A lengthy employment history
For anyone over the age of 31, the SSA requires a lengthy work history to qualify for benefits. They will generally need to have at least 40 credits on record with the SSA. Workers can accrue up to four each year depending on their wages. A recent work history is also necessary, as 20 of those 40 credits must be from within the last 10 years. Younger workers can qualify with fewer credits if their condition is adequately severe.
Those who meet the employment and medical requirements for an SSDI claim may want to consider applying. If the SSA rejects them, they may also want to consider appealing. Seeking legal guidance and learning about the requirements for SSDI benefits can help people better evaluate whether applying is a worthwhile endeavor in their situation.