Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits can be a stressful and frustrating experience. Most people have heard stories about qualified applicants who face massive delays or who never get the benefits that they need. You may worry about the paperwork involved or whether you can adequately explain how your condition affects your life and your work.
If you think you might qualify for SSDI but haven’t started the application process yet, you may want to confirm your eligibility before you start all of that paperwork. What does it take to qualify for SSDI benefits?
You need to have made adequate tax contributions
When you pay income taxes, one of the federal withholdings will be for Social Security. Each contribution increases the total amount you have accrued and can make claims against if you need support in the future.
Only workers who have accrued enough contributions to Social Security have the right to claim either SSDI or Social Security retirement benefits. You may need to login to the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) website to determine whether or not you can qualify for benefits and what the maximum benefit is that you might receive.
You have to have a debilitating medical condition
Disability benefits are meant to help those who are no longer able to work or take care of themselves because of a medical condition. The SSA approves many different kinds of medical conditions for SSDI benefits.
Physical conditions like acquired illnesses qualify, as do congenital or genetic diseases. Mental health disorders and traumatic injuries that are severe enough can also qualify someone for benefits. Generally, the standard requires that a condition affect somebody’s ability to live independently or to continue working a job. If you can work another job, even if it doesn’t pay as much as your current one, you may not qualify.
Additionally, the SSA requires that a qualifying condition must last at least a year, if not the rest of your life, in order for you to receive benefits. If you believe that your condition is severe enough to qualify and you have made adequate contributions during your working life, you may want to think about applying for SSDI benefits. Getting help with that process can help you avoid mistakes and may simplify an otherwise overwhelming application process.