How Does SSDI Work? A Guide to Social Security Disability

Someone born in 2000 has about a 1 in 4 chance of becoming disabled before they reach their full retirement age of 67. For a worker who becomes disabled during their working years, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a lifeline.

As with Social Security retirement benefits, Social Security disability benefits are available only to workers who have earned work credits and paid payroll taxes. In some cases, spouses and dependent children can collect either type of benefit based on the insured person’s rework.

The SSDI application process is notoriously difficult. People who qualify for benefits must adhere to a number of strict rules, particularly when it comes to working. In this article, we’ll explain how SSDI works and answer some commonly asked questions about ne disability.

Who Qualifies for SSDI Benefits?

Eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance is based on two criteria: whether you have a medical diagnosis that meets Social Security’s definition of a disability and your work history.

Medical Diagnosis

You’ll need to be diagnosed with a physical or mental health condition that will render you unable to work for at least a year or is likely to result in death. Social Security’s Blue Book Includes an extensive list of conditions that meet the minimum threshold for disability.

But having one or more of the listed conditions doesn’t mean you’ll automatically qualify for disability benefits. Likewise, if your condition isn’t listed, you still may qualify if your medical diagnosis meets Social Security’s disability criteria.

Work History

To collect Social Securityincluding disability benefits, you’ll typically need 40 work credits. In 2023, you’ll need $1,640 of earnings in a quarter to earn one work credit. You can’t earn more than four credits in any given year.

Younger workers who have paid Social Security taxes can qualify with fewer credits if they become disabled, though. You’ll…

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