Attorney David J. King


How long must employees work to qualify for SSDI?

On Behalf of | Jun 3, 2024 | Social Security Disability

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits exist to protect working adults from severe medical challenges that affect their careers. Someone who has an injury or illness that prevents them from working can potentially apply for SSDI benefits.

What they receive from the Social Security Administration (SSA) can help them pay their basic living expenses while they forgo traditional income. Not all workers qualify for SSDI benefits when they become unable to work.

The condition they have generally needs to be severe enough to completely prevent employment. Additionally, there must be reason to believe that the condition will persist for a year or longer. Only employees with a substantial long-term work history typically qualify for benefits. How long does someone need to have a job to be eligible for SSDI benefits when they can no longer work?

An applicant’s age makes all the difference

When the SSA looks at a disability benefits application, they take the worker’s age into consideration. Workers over the age of 31 typically need to have accrued 40 credits based on their employment history. At least 20 of those credits should be from within the last 10 years.

Workers receive one credit for every $1,730 in taxable wages or self-employed income earned annually. No matter what someone’s income is, they can only accrue four credits at most each year. Even part-time employees can potentially qualify for SSDI benefits if they have worked consistently for years.

For workers under the age of 31, there are different work history requirements. Those between the ages of 24 and 31 generally need proof that they have worked for half of the time since they turned 21. If the applicant is under the age of 24, they only need six credits accrued in the three years before they acquired their disabling medical condition.

Proof of the severity of a medical condition and of a history of gainful employment can help people secure the benefits they need when they can no longer work. Understanding the work requirements for SSDI benefits can help people decide whether or not they are in a strong position to apply with good chances of success. Those who take the time to learn about SSDI benefits and who seek legal guidance during a claim help may have an easier time navigating this complex system.