Will I qualify for disability if I was paid under the table?

Will I Qualify for Disability if I was Paid Under the Table?

Having a job that pays under the table can compromise your eligibility for disability benefits.


To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) you must have sufficient work history to have contributed to the disability fund through payroll taxes. Being paid under the table means there were no payroll taxes, and therefore no SSDI fund contributions made by you or your employer for that particular job. This could potentially make it so you don’t have enough “work credits” to receive SSDI benefits.

If you were only partially paid under the table, you may still run into complications when qualifying for SSDI. Your “average monthly earnings” over the course of your employment history determine how much your SSDI payments will be. Because you must hit a certain dollar amount in earnings to achieve a single “work credit”, receiving partial under the table payment may decrease the amount of your monthly disability checks.

To learn more about work credits, including how they’re calculated, click here.


While SSDI eligibility requires a work history and the accumulation of work credits, the Supplemental Security Income program (SSI) does not. SSI is a financial-need-based disability program. This means that, if you are unable to qualify for SSDI due to your under the table work, you may still be able to qualify for SSI.

Additional Qualifying Factors

For both programs, you must still be able to prove that you have a qualifying medical disability. Both programs also have financial limits on what income you can have at your disposal currently. For SSDI, it’s only your income from work that counts toward the determination of your eligibility. For SSI, on the other hand, your income from all countable sources, as well as your other financial assets determine your eligibility under the program.

To learn more about qualification for SSDI, click here. For SSI eligibility information, click here.

Submitted by: Molly Clarke

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