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Can I Get Social Security Disability if I Haven’t Worked for 10 Years?

SSD for people who haven't worked in 10 years

Making a living can be challenging. Getting by with a disability is even more difficult. This is the issue that SSDI is designed to solve, but Social Security disability insurance does not provide benefits for everyone. If you are trying to figure out if you qualify for SSDI benefits even though you don’t have a recent work history, keep reading to find out what your options are.

What is SSDI?

Social Security disability insurance is a program that people in qualifying jobs pay into when they earn income. That’s why it’s called “insurance”— in theory, it puts away small amounts of money that you can access if you need it in the future. To qualify for SSDI if you become disabled, you must have substantial recent work history.

Under SSDI, employees earn credits for the income they bring in each year. Each year, employees can earn up to four credits. The amount you must earn for a credit changes annually, so it’s important to know what the limits are. For most people, you must have 40 work credits to qualify for SSDI. At least 20 of those credits must have been in the 10 years prior to your disability. To put it more simply, you must have worked five of the 10 years prior to your disability. Younger workers have less stringent requirements.

If you do not have any work history within the previous ten years, you likely do not qualify for SSDI coverage.

When SSDI Coverage Ends

There is one key exception to this general rule, and it centers on when SSDI coverage ends. Disabled individuals who can demonstrate that their disability occurred before the date when their SSDI ran out may still be able to receive SSDI benefits.

There are other circumstances that may allow you to get SSDI coverage. People who are legally blind may qualify for disability benefits if their blindness prevent them from working. Disabled widows or widowers may be able to have their deceased spouse’s benefits paid out to them. Disabled adults who were disabled prior to the age of 22 may be able to receive benefits paid out by their parent’s Social Security earnings.

Qualifying for SSI

While you may not qualify for SSDI if you do not have recent work history, you may still be able to get benefits through Supplemental Security Income. To get Supplemental Security Income, an individual must be 65 or older, blind, or disabled. You must also have limited income, limited resources, and not receive any other cash benefits or payments.

In their definition of disability, the SSI program states that an individual must have severe functional limitations that are expected to end in death or that have lasted at least 12 months. The term “limited resources” refers to bank accounts and other financial accounts, life insurance, land, vehicles, and other private property. Basically, anything that can be sold and then used to acquire food or shelter may count against your qualifications. An individual is allowed to have up to $2,000 of resources and a married couple may have up to $3,000.

There are numerous exceptions and requirements involved in assessing whether or not someone qualifies for Supplemental Security Income. This can make it extremely difficult for individuals to navigate the process alone and determine whether or not they qualify.

It’s not uncommon to have your application for SSI or SSDI denied the first time you apply. This does not necessarily mean that you don’t qualify. Many people have to appeal the initial decision before they actually get the benefits they are entitled to.

Navigating this process with an attorney can save you time and help you begin receiving benefits as soon as possible. The program is set up to help people like you, but the way the system is set up, it is very hard for individuals to figure out their rights on their own. Instead of giving up after a denial, find a trusted attorney who can help you appeal and get the ball rolling.

Contact The Dansby Law Firm for Help With Your SSI Case

The process of securing your Social Security disability benefits can be stressful and confusing, but we are here to clarify and guide you through it. To discuss your case now, call us at 334-834-7001 or get in touch online.

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