Whether you have experienced a major physical injury or live with a debilitating mental health issue like depression or PTSD, if your condition prevents you from working, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.
However, the Social Security Administration handles each application differently.
If the SSA decides you are eligible for disability benefits, the amount you receive may depend on a variety of factors, including your educational background and work experience, your age and how much you have paid into the social security system through your employer(s).
1. How much have you paid into Social Security?
The SSA uses a “work credit” system to decide whether you qualify for benefits, including disability benefits. Each year that you pay into the Social Security system, even as a part-time worker, you may gain up to four credits per year, depending on your income
2. How old are you?
The number of work credits you need to qualify for SSDI benefits may depend on your age. In general, the younger you are, the fewer credits you need to be eligible. However, you may need to meet a minimum credit requirement to qualify for payments.
3. What is your education and work history?
The SSA will also look at your education and work background. If you have a higher level of education or job skills that could transfer to another type of employment, a case reviewer may decide that you do not qualify for SSDI benefits.
The SSA offers a quick online screening tool to help you decide whether you qualify. If you do decide to apply for benefits, keep in mind that the process may require preparation, persistence and patience.