If you are no longer able to work due to a disabling physical injury, long-term illness or mental health issue, you may be able to receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits to help you and your family cope financially.
Your eligibility for SSDI payments and the amount you may expect to receive will depend on a variety of factors, including your age, educational and work background and how much you have already paid into the Social Security system through your employer(s).
1. Your tax payments toward Social Security
To receive SSDI benefits, you must have already accumulated a certain number of “work credits” through the Social Security Administration. You may gain up to four credits each year depending on your income. Even if you are a part-time worker, you may be eligible for benefits if you have earned enough credits through employment.
2. Your age and work history
The minimum number of credits required to be eligible for SSDI benefits may also depend on how old you are. For instance, if you become disabled between ages 31 and 42, you may need to show that you have earned at least 20 credits. At age 62 or over, the SSA may require a minimum of 40 work credits.
3. Your ability to find alternative work
The SSA will also look closely at your work skills and educational background. A reviewer may not approve your claim if he or she believes that your condition, your age and your abilities do not prohibit you from finding an alternative form of gainful employment.