What Are the Non-Medical Requirements Needed to Earn SSDI?

There are a number of qualifications needed to apply successfully for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. When you apply, the Social Security Administration will look at a variety of factors to see if you qualify, and there are the standard requirements of being able to show medical proof of disability, but there are non-medical requirements as well.

Social Security Disability Insurance Requirements

To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, you must show medical and non-medical needs. There are three basic conditions for being considered eligible for SSDI payments, they are:

  1. You must show a “medically determinable” disability that significantly limits your ability to be gainfully employed. Your medical condition must either be terminal or be expected to last no less than 12 months. You must have earned a sufficient number of standard work credits with the Social Security Administration.
  2. When used to consider the eligibility of Social Security Disability Insurance recipients, gainful employment is defined by the SSA as earning or being able to earn, about $1,300 per month or more. This limit is $2,190 if your disability is blindness.
  3. In addition to the medical requirements of proving a medically determinable disability, and that the disability is expected to last a minimum of 12 months, or result in the death of the recipient, there is a need to show that you are “insured” with the Social Security Administration by having earned enough work credits during the time you were employed.

Non-Medical Requirements

When you are employed, you pay federal Social Security payroll taxes, a portion of which is FICA. Taxes collected under FICA go into the Social Security trust fund and are used to pay Social Security Disability Insurance cast benefits to recipients. Part of the application process for SSDI will be a mandatory review of your employment history to show that you have contributed to the system such that you qualify for benefits.

The work credits required to be eligible vary with the age of the applicant. If the applicant is under 24, they will only need to have worked for about 1.5 years, accumulating a minimum of 6 work credits. Applicants between 24 and 30 will need to show a work history of between 2 and 4.5 years, with a minimum of 8 to 18 work credits. Those between 31 and 42 will need to show 5 years of work and 20 credits to gain eligibility. After 42, you are required to earn a minimum of 2 credits every 2 years. 

Documents sufficient for proving work history include income tax returns, pay stubs, W2 forms, detailed job history, and so on. 

If you fail to meet the required number of work credits for Social Security Disability Insurance, you may still be able to qualify for Supplemental Security Income or SSI. To show a need for SSI you will need to show less than $2,000 in assets, or $3,000 for couples, and limited income.

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