If you are too young to retire but have a medical issue too severe to continue working, you might need to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. If you qualify, SSDI can help you cover your basic cost of living expenses after an injury or a diagnosis with a disabling medical condition.
SSDI is not an automatic benefit. You will have to meet all three of the criteria below if you want to qualify.
Your condition must affect your work or independence
You don’t have to have a specific medical condition to qualify. Any medical issue extreme enough to prevent you from working or make you dependent on support for the basic activities of daily life may be serious enough to qualify.
Your condition will need to last for at least a year
There are certain debilitating medical conditions that could affect your ability to work or take care of yourself without qualifying you for SSDI. A serious infection or a broken bone could leave you completely unable to work and dependent on the care of others. However, if you will fully recover in less than a year, the condition won’t meet the standards set by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
You must have earned enough income to qualify for benefits
The SSA looks at your employment and income history benefits for most workers, at least a 10-year work history is necessary. The SSA does have a sliding scale for those who are younger when they are diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition.
If your condition is serious and will last a year and you have worked for long enough to qualify, you may be able to receive SSDI benefits while you cannot work. It’s wise to find out more.