If you cannot work for at least 12 months because of a mental or physical disability, you may be able to receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. You must meet both the medical and work history qualifications to be eligible for SSDI.
Review the SSDI requirements to learn whether this program can help you.
The Social Security Administration will look at medical documentation of your illness or injury. You must show that you can no longer do the work you once did and cannot adapt to a new form of employment because of a long-term disability. To learn more about the specific eligibility factors for your disability, you can review the SSA Listing of Impairments.
Most people need about 20 work credits in the past decade and 40 work credits overall to qualify for SSDI. The SSA will review your work history to award up to four credits each year. For example, you earned an SSA work credit for every $1,410 you earned in 2020, which will increase to $1,470 in 2021. If you became disabled before accruing enough work credits, you may be able to qualify with fewer than 40 credits depending on your age. If you earned more than $1,270 a month in 2020, the agency will not consider you disabled.
The SSA can deny your application for either work history or medical reasons. Providing comprehensive documentation of both your disability and your employment history can improve your chances of approval for benefits. You also have the right to appeal an SSDI denial.