What you need to know about Social Security disability requirements. Although Social Security is a primary payer of retirement income for millions of people, this program also offers a number of other benefits as well – including a regular income payment for those who are disabled.
While becoming disabled is something that nobody likes to think about, the truth is that the odds of a disabling accident or injury occurring are approximately 1 in 4 between age 20 and the time a person retires. If you become disabled, it could have devastating financial consequences such as the inability to pay bills and / or purchase necessary items such as food and clothing.
Requirements for Getting Social Security Disability Income
In order to qualify for disability benefits from Social Security, you must first meet two “earnings tests.” These include having enough work credits, as well as a “work test” based on your age at the time that you became disabled. (Certain individuals who are blind will only need to meet the earnings test).
As an example, if you were to become disabled prior to age 24, then you would need at least 1 1/2 years of work history during the most recent three-year period that ends with the quarter that your disability started.
If you are between age 24 and 31, then you would be required to have worked at least half the time between the period starting with the quarter in which you turned 21 and ending with the quarter in which you became disabled.
For those who are age 31 or older, Social Security requires that you must have worked during at least five years out of the ten-year period of time that ends in the quarter that your disability began.
For most situations, then, an individual would need to have worked between 1.5 years and 9.5 years, depending on their age when they become disabled.
Years of Work Required to Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits
|If you become disabled at age:||They will typically require:|
|Before 28||1.5 years of work credits|
Source: Social Security Administration.2
The Social Security Administration will determine eligibility based on the following process:
- Determining if you are currently working
- Deciding if your medical condition is considered to be severe
- Deciding whether you are able to perform the duties of your regular occupation, as well as whether you can perform the duties of any other type of work.
Social Security Disability Benefits for a Spouse, Children and Other Family Members
If you are married, your spouse may be able to get Social Security benefits, based on your work record. For example, a spouse could be allowed to receive benefits if they are at least age 62 or older – or if he or she is any age, provided that they are caring for your child who is either disabled or younger than 16.
A child may also be eligible for Social Security disability benefits, provided that he or she is 18 or over and their disability began prior to age 22. In this case, the child’s disability will also need to meet the Social Security disability requirements for adults.
Also, children, adopted children, and step-children who are not married and who are younger than 18 – or age 19 or younger if they are attending high school – may also be able to receive disability benefits from Social Security based on your work record.
How to Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits
In order to apply for your Social Security disability benefits, you may file a claim either at a local Social Security Administration office, or alternatively online at the Social Security Administration’s website.
Social Security requires certain information in order to determine your eligibility. This can include your Social Security number, as well as your birth or baptismal certificate. In addition, the names and contact information of your doctor and other medical professionals will also be needed, as is the type and amount of any medication that is being taken.
It will also be necessary to provide information regarding the type of work that you do, and a copy of your most recent W-2 form. If you are self-employed, then a copy of your most recent federal tax return will be required.
In most cases, it will take between three and five months in order to process a Social Security disability application. However, once benefits have been approved, payment may be retroactive to the start of the disability.social security disability requirement