Adults who find themselves unable to work because of health concerns often panic and worry about how they can support themselves and their families. Thankfully, there are systems in place to help minimize the financial hardship people may endure because of disabling medical conditions.
One of the most important social safety nets in the United States is the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers monthly benefits to those whose circumstances meet these three very specific criteria.
1. Their condition must leave them unable to work
The most basic standard that applies to SSDI benefits is that the applicant needs to have a truly disabling medical condition. Typically, that means that they will have such serious symptoms or functional limitations that they are unable to pursue any gainful employment. Most adults will not qualify for SSDI benefits if they are capable of working so much as a minimum-wage customer service job. Applicants need medical documentation affirming their claims that they are unable to work in any profession.
2. Their condition needs to last a year or longer
Even a medical condition that leaves someone completely dependent on others for care will not qualify if it only lasts six months. Typically, the SSA needs medical documentation that someone will still have health concerns limiting their ability to work in a year or that their condition will likely last for the rest of their life.
3. They need to have a sufficient work history
The final requirement for SSDI benefits is that a worker must have made sufficient contributions to the SSA through prior payroll withholdings. Typically, workers need to have at least 40 credits, 10 of which are from within the last decade. Any full-time employee will typically accrue the maximum amount of credits each year, which is four, and there are special rules in place to help younger individuals who worked but did not accrue enough credits before developing a disabling medical condition.
If someone believes that their situation likely meets the three basic requirements for SSDI benefits, it may be worthwhile for them to pursue a claim. Seeking legal guidance to discuss the SSDI benefits application process can help people determine whether they have strong grounds upon which to pursue a claim.