The amount of work necessary to qualify for disability benefits depends on your age. Social Security quantifies your work history in terms of work credits. Usually, you need 20 work credits earned in the last 10 years.
However, younger workers can qualify for disability benefits with fewer work credits. If you become disabled before age 24, you must have earned 6 credits in the three years prior to the onset of your disability. If you become disabled between age 24 and 31, you need credits for half the time between age 21 and the onset of your disability. For example, if you become disabled at age 29, you would need four years of prior work, or 16 credits.
You will also need to have worked recently to qualify for Social Security disability benefits. If you worked in your youth but took off 6 years to raise a family, you will no longer qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Most SSDI recipients need to have worked recently, usually any 5 of the past 10 years.
If you have worked intermittently, but have earned income within the past couple of years, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits.
If you haven't worked enough, there is still hope for your claim. You can apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. These benefits are for people of all ages with a severe financial need.
Do you need help determining if you'll qualify for Social Security benefits? You should contact a Social Security attorney or advocate. He or she can evaluate your claim and help you start the application process. You can also learn more about your eligibility by filling out a free evaluation form today.