Can you qualify for disability if you have been out of work?

On Behalf of | Nov 17, 2023 | Social Security Disability

Social Security Disability benefits come with strict eligibility requirements. When you spend a significant period out of the workforce, whether due to health issues or life circumstances, you might wonder if you have any possibility of qualifying for disability benefits.

There are several factors that apply when considering SSDI eligibility after an extended period out of work.

Understanding the eligibility criteria

The U.S. Social Security Disability Insurance program has strict work credit requirements. In most cases, you need 40 credits, with at least half of those from the last 10 years before you apply for disability. Some exceptions exist for younger workers and specific situations. Work credits accumulate each year based on the income guidelines from the Social Security Administration. Workers can earn up to 4 credits per year based on wages earned or self-employment income. Those who spend significant time out of the workforce may have insufficient work credits for SSDI eligibility.

Considering Supplemental Security Income instead

If you have limited resources and income, Supplemental Security Income offers an alternative. Unlike SSDI, SSI does not have a work history requirement. You can qualify on financial need and disability status instead.

According to statistics published by the Social Security Administration, 66% of applicants received denials in 2019. Understanding the eligibility requirements can help you better prepare for the application process and improve your chances of approval. Remember that eligibility requirements can change, so check the latest work credit requirements and other details before you submit your application. Tailor your application accordingly with as much detail as possible to reduce the risk of denial.