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  • Christopher Le

Understanding Social Security Disability Eligibility Requirements

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal program that provides financial assistance to people with disabilities. To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must meet certain eligibility requirements. In this article, we'll explore the eligibility requirements for SSDI and discuss the key factors that determine whether you qualify for benefits.


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  1. Work Credits To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must have earned enough work credits. Work credits are earned based on your earnings from employment or self-employment. You can earn up to four work credits per year, and the number of credits required to qualify for SSDI benefits depends on your age at the time you became disabled. Generally, you need 40 work credits, 20 of which must have been earned in the last 10 years, to qualify for SSDI benefits.

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  1. Medical Eligibility To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must have a medical condition that meets the Social Security Administration's (SSA) definition of disability. This means that your condition must be severe enough to prevent you from working and earning a substantial income for at least 12 months. The SSA has a list of medical conditions that automatically qualify for SSDI benefits, but if your condition is not on the list, you can still apply and the SSA will evaluate your condition to determine if it meets their criteria.

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2. Non-Medical Eligibility In addition to the medical eligibility requirements, you must also meet certain non-medical eligibility requirements to qualify for SSDI benefits. These requirements include:

  • You must be under full retirement age (which is currently 66)

  • You must have worked long enough to earn the required number of work credits

  • You must be a U.S. citizen or a legal resident

  • You must not be currently working or earning more than a certain amount per month (the amount changes each year)

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3. Applying for SSDI Benefits To apply for SSDI benefits, you can either apply online or visit your local Social Security office. You will need to provide detailed information about your medical condition, work history, and other personal information. It's important to provide as much information as possible to support your claim, as the SSDI application process can be lengthy and complex.


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In conclusion, qualifying for SSDI benefits requires meeting certain eligibility requirements, including having earned enough work credits, having a severe medical condition that prevents you from working, and meeting certain non-medical eligibility requirements. If you believe you meet these requirements, you should consider applying for SSDI benefits. The application process can be complex, but with the right information and guidance, you can improve your chances of getting the benefits you need.

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